Leftovers for lunch. Light dinner (some sort of semi-fancy veggie pizza) at the Mars Bar across the street from the Concourse Exhibition Center. Went to see Belle and Sebastian and the New Pornographers there with some people from work (or, to be precise, ex-people from work and ex-people from work's family and friends.) Both bands were really good. I was unsure about the venue when I heard about the show. I've only been there for book fairs, and I know APE is there every year now (now that they've moved up from San Jose.) Overall, I still think it's not a great venue (maybe a C+). It's like a warehouse -- large and canvernous. But the sound was good and the sightlines were decent. And, as I said before, both bands rocked.
It's been a long time since I've seen Belle and Sebastian. I think the last time was at the Warfield in 2000 or so? After Arab Strap but before Fold Your Hands. They played that song (The Boy with the Arab Strap) tonight, by the way. Anyhow I'm just amazed at how engaging and personable Stuart is. He made it feel like a very tight, intimate show, in spite of the 2,000+ (that's a guess) crowd. Great set, too. A nice mix of old and new songs. I wanted to cry out facetiously "It's not the same without Isobel!", but of course it really is.
Sort of like the New Pornographers. Neither Neko nor Dan were there, but in the end, Carl Newman is the New Pornographers. He holds it together. Just like in the end, Mark E. Smith is the Fall. Robert Smith is the Cure. There definitely wasn't the same sort of playfulness and banter as when Neko is on stange with him. The drummer and woman keyboardist (i.e. faux-Neko Case) gamely tried to fill in and give Carl a hard time, but it didn't really work. This is going to sound blashemous, I'm sure, but in some ways fake-Neko sounded better than real-Neko. It might have just been the sound at the venue, but I thought fake-Neko sounded cripser and better articulated.
I'm off Safari now and back onto Firefox. I'm not sure why, but Safaru suddenly got really slow. The disk (virtual memory?) would start spinning up every time I went to a new page. My uptime on the laptop is over 30 days now, so maybe there's something crufty going on.
Nicole, Matt and Shilpa drove back from the show and I biked. I really wanted to see if I could beat them back home, so I biked about as fast as I safely could. I got lucky and hit a lot of lights and empty intersections, and I still lost. Maybe I just need to run at a higher gear. Pull a few more gear-inches. Or maybe the problem is 'as fast as I safely could.' Need to lose that fear? Just ride 'as fast as I could.'?
It felt really good to ride my heart out.
Speaking of Arab Straps, the plan is to see them this Saturday at the Cafe du Nord with Jeff and ???. Yay!