Degrees of Kool Aid

Now that I’m an old guy, concerts are a big commitment. The fact that I went to two this week is a Herculean achievement.  I saw Arlo McKinley Sunday night at the Old Town School of Folk Music.  I saw the Band of Heathens on Wednesday at Lincoln Hall.

There’s another act on my radar, Wilder Woods.  He’ll be at Lincoln Hall this upcoming Tuesday.  I have a conflict and I’m still pretty tired 24 hours post Heathens. Like I said I’m old, so I’ve been hemming and hawing about making Tuesday work.

I hadn’t heard of Wilder Woods until a couple weeks ago when his latest album got my attention on the new release schedule.  I gave it a listen and there are some solid songs on there and he’s got good energy. 

Wilder did a livestream from Nashville Thursday night.  That allowed me to help determine how to resolve my hemming and hawing.

I’m going to be okay not making it to his show.  Don’t get me wrong, Wilder still has good songs.  He still has good energy.  He is a good performer.  It seemed to me that to maximize a live experience with Wilder, you have to fully drink the Kool Aid.  He’s unapologetically himself.  He’s a tad dramatic about who he is.  And I don’t think I’m really his market.  I’m not youthfully raising my fist in the air being all in.  I’m an old guy, like I said.

God bless, Wilder.  I will continue to listen and look forward to future releases, but I’m not at the Kool Aid drinking point, so the level of hassle I will overcome to support him live isn’t infinite.

That got me thinking about the Band of Heathens and Arlo McKinley.  I have drunk Arlo’s Kool Aid.  His songs resonate with me on a level I haven’t felt in maybe decades.  The second I saw he had a show at the Old Town School, I bought tickets knowing whatever the logistics were, I would make it work.  It was sheer grace that his show was old man friendly.  He played an intimate soundstage room, started at 7PM.  There was no opening act.  He was done by 8:45.  I was home at a very reasonable hour.  I wasn’t even tired on Monday!

Arlo McKinley 4/16/23

Somewhere between Wilder and Arlo are The Band of Heathens.  I was a huge fan of them back in the early 2010’s.  I saw them five or six times between 2008 and 2011.  They had great songs.  Then Colin Brooks left the band.  I became skeptical as he was integral and my favorite songs a lot of the time came from him.  I don’t want to say I spit out the Kool Aid, but it had passed threw my system and I wasn’t ordering another round.

I kept tabs on BOH over the years.  There was some good stuff, but nothing drew me to go out my way anymore, until the new album came out, “Simple Things”.  I decided to give it a fair shake, listened, and it is fantastic.  It is their best album.  There are no duds.  Ed and Gordy have outdone what they ever did with Colin in the mix.  

The Band of Heathens 04/19/23

I sipped some fresh Kool Aid to the extent that I got myself to Lincoln Hall.  I was rewarded with them playing the entire new album sans one tune. I got a couple gems from the Colin era.  There was only one song I had never heard.  For ten years at a distance, that wasn’t too bad. 

BOH didn’t start until 9pm.  I didn’t get a seat like with Arlo.  It was not old man friendly.  It definitely impacted my hassle level of what it would take to get me to Wilder Woods. 

The good news really is that there is a lot of good music being created in this day and age which translates to a lot of good concert opportunities.  It is a luxury of riches that I can pick and choose from all the good stuff and curate the best for myself.

Now I look ahead to if I make it to the Brian Dunne show May 7th.  Hmmmm?


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