The guy on the left, David Berman, that is; not the cheese-head on the right. That's just the guy whose web site I stole this picture from.
Anyway, I finally got to see Silver Jews last night in Ann Arbor at the Blind Pig. It was sweltering and crowded in there (it turns out that they still let you smoke in AA--fascinating) but the place was held together by a palpable, reverent vibe for the event we were all waiting around to kick off. This tour was a big deal for all of us. It's funny, Berman records a lot of anthemic-type rocking tunes, but I think most people sort of appreciate him on a personal "he speaks to me" kind of level and are not actually shouting out the lyrics to "Rebel Jew" in unison with hordes of friends. If they are, I wish I'd get invited to some of those parties where it's happening. Anyway, my point is that it is a special kind of feeling when all these people enjoy a song writer guy as a kind of personal icon but then get to appreciate him in the context of a mass love-in like this was. I can't remember the last time I was at a show and just smiled like I did last night. I just smiled at the wonderfulness of Berman having his act together enough to do this tour and for us to be there and to actually have Sarah and Wes there too made it even nicer.
Berman himself was pretty guileless and endearing, too. His glasses kept sliding off his face and he had to squint at the lyrics on his music stand every couple of lines to remind himself what song he was singing, but never mind that, this band was pretty amazingly tight. I don't even know what else to say. Right now, I can't think of more than one or two other shows that were equally enjoyable and I think they were both Yo La Tengo shows.