2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Lindsey-Paige McCloy)
by Steven Spoerl
Having just run Loren DiBlasi’s beautiful piece on Patio and the impact Lindsey-Paige (LP) McCloy’s influence had on her life, it only felt right to follow that piece with one from LP herself. I was fortunate enough to meet Lindsey-Paige over the summer and came to regard her as a kindred spirit close to immediately after our introductions. The calm confidence that frequently permeates Patio’s music is personified by the guitarist/vocalist and it’s difficult to feel anything less than completely at ease (or even fairly comforted) in her presence. Below, she tackles moments she experienced that were connected to Dan Bejar, Ought, Phyllis Ophelia, and Krill, and the feelings those moments dredged up. Dive in below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Patio throughout 2016.
I don’t really ever write things that aren’t related to “tech for cities,” so it’s taken me a whole hell of a long time to even START writing this down and to think about how to bound this year (when did it even start? Does anyone remember? Please advise.) because it’s been a long one. Big and small, stretchy, recursive somehow. I keep trying to isolate one musical memory but i’d have to put it in so much context (like, my story of my love of Krill is years long and others have told theirs so much better) that it would be so boring and long, so i’m just going to cop out and use Steven’s (very loose) frame here and talk about four randomly selected bits of bravery — if i can take the liberty of broadly defining that term — that made me feel a thing!
Dan Bejar sits down while he’s singing. He just gets up there with a glass of water and he wanders around in between a ten piece band and a sold-out Webster Hall and then sometimes he sits down. It might make you feel like he doesn’t care and that he’s phoning it in, that he’d rather be anywhere in the world more than here, a couple blocks south of Union Square on a Sunday night. In fact, it does make you feel this way – the legendary wordplay’s crystal clear and the melodies bloom out like oil from under a leaky car but the performance is still flat (feeling weird saying this, who am i to make this call? Whatever, just reporting what i was thinking at the time, it’s important for the rest of the story, bear with me).
I was a little surprised, given the general vibe, that he came out for an encore, but he did, and then he just destroyed EVERYTHING. The band pulled out some horn-heavy numbers and Bejar started going for high notes in an unusual way. There was this one crescendo — I don’t even remember which song they were playing, I was so engrossed — where I think maybe my whole life flashed before my eyes and it seemed as though Bejar had grown to at least twice his usual size. It also seemed like everyone in the whole room was snapped up together into some kind of everything-vortex that he was nonchalantly, expertly marshaling toward some kind of new frontier… or something. I didn’t get a chance to figure out where we were going because everything dissipated really quickly and then we all left down some slow staircase, but I did know that I’d misjudged the whole thing and that Dan Bejar is definitely a wizard master from another dimension.
Ought was billed to play at the same time as Wilco at Pitchfork and i was VERY UPSET. My brother and i treat festivals like a marathon – we get there early, we don’t ever sit down, and we eat only when its absolutely necessary. We hydrate on a rigid schedule (no alcohol! could derail focus), we see as many things as possible, and we collapse at 10pm so we can do it all again the next day. We did not foresee an evil scheduler conspiring against us, placing my two favorite bands playing the festival — Ought, who I had seen and was dying to see again, and Wilco, who I had never seen live and who I love from the depths of my dad-rock heart (aesthetic – cool dad c. 2006) — against each other in the first night headline slot.
Loren, Colin, and I rode, as David heroically drove, all the dang way to Pitchfork, where we met up with my brother. I was going to have to choose between the old and new and I was heartbroken! We took a leap and split the group in two, elder statesmen going to Wilco and the youth pushing up for Ought. We assumed Ought would play for less time than Wilco, and we camped out on the front right (for Ought). This decision was perhaps our most brilliant call. Right before they were to release Sun Coming Down, which was probably my favorite album this year, they closed the blue stage with a completely on-fire, in-control set of new and old material. They bravely conducted a sea of flailing and bouncing teens in the miserable heat and showed absolutely everyone up, including Wilco, whose set I did manage to catch as they launched into the hits after they finished playing Star Wars in full. Thanks for that, Ought.
Phyllis Ophelia is both one of my oldest friends and the best songwriter I know. She writes close and catchy songs about emptiness and risk and love and interpersonal activities. My favorite song of hers is called “Saint Hangover” and you really need to listen to it if you’re just a tiny bit hung over at work, trying to finish writing this piece… maybe that’s just me, OK, still, listen. I was lucky enough to see her play again recently at the Sidewalk Café. My favorite part of her performance was watching her pull back a bit, become fully aware of the explicit nature of some of her new material and of the presence of an audience hanging on these words, double down, gamely joke about “being embarrassed” on a mic break in a way that somehow cemented total mastery of the situation and of the central subject matter. Thanks, Phyllis, for going there and for showing us that it’s OK for us to sing about our bodies and others’ bodies and how they fit together and what we want from them, if we want to, and for doing it so dang beautifully.
Krill got out of the game and it seemed like a signal to close a chapter of some kind (this is what I told Gabe, though I don’t think I closed any chapter despite having one fewer wisdom tooth now than I did when I started listening to Krill, maybe that counts for something). Thanks to a friend I managed a ticket to their last show, though thanks to dinner I missed Big Ups and half of the Frankie Cosmos set. Got there just in time to squeeze into a spot in the back near the bathroom and the courtyard door, right in everyone’s way, where improbably, and conveniently, my friends were also standing. Jonah was there too. Though through some good friends I’ve met 2/3’s of krill, I’d still not met Jonah. He’s not the kind of guy you feel like you know through his lyrics or through having seen him perform in many of the months of 2015 (probably 2015 was just my Year of Krill, really). You feel like you can begin to bound the enigma but then “Torturer” comes out as a single and you have to start all over again, etc.
So, Jonah was by himself with a hoodie up next to the wall, and toward the end of the Frankie Cosmos set he turned toward the wall for some sort of private communion with something, maybe — he was probably just tired and psyching himself up for the third NYC farewell show that week — but it felt both like I was intruding on something really private (it also feels like I’m violating that privacy by writing about this here… sorry, Krill) and that maybe he needed a hug. I’m not a hugger, though, so I just sent vibes from my mind, of support and thanks because I really am grateful to Krill for having been Krill. It can’t have been easy to be Krill and speak to, or for, those of us who thought a lot about our effects on others and on ourselves, who worried about how to feel every day, and who felt everything from complete control to utter aimlessness and disgust over the course of a 24 hour period, who cry to “Purity of Heart” (Loren), or drive the Dakota’s to “Alam No Hris” (Stephen and Gabe), or who were the reason for this whole madness in the first place (Bon), or who really think Aaron’s guitar tone is the best of anyone’s (me, vocally). I will miss krill, but I’m glad I got to be there for it and I am very grateful to krill for having been.
In summary: everyone who makes music is the best, I love bands I love friends cool great 2015 thanks good ok!