"Don’t Look Back." But I Did. Then I Posted Something About It.

Entry for Friday, 1/21/11

Subjects: Inspiration, Music &  Social Media

My Passion: In my spare time (when I have it these days) I enjoy listening to music and attending local concerts and rock shows. Some might even say I’m a bit of a concert fanatic – and I wouldn’t argue with them. Nothing compares to the energy and excitement of a live music performance. A lot of the shows I go to tend to be held at small venues, and more often than not, I usually meet a member of the band after the show. It’s actually become a running joke among my friends and family. I doubt any of my encounters even excite them anymore

Cyberfans: Technology has made keeping track of your favorite artist/band much easier.  Most bands  and singer/songwriters have a page on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter, in addition to their own website.  I sign up for mailing lists and fan clubs in person at shows and online in order to get tour updates, special promotions, and other exclusive information (like ticket pre-sale passwords and discounts on “merch”). One of my favorite new bands is She & Him, a collaborative effort of Zooey Deschanel (actress and singer-songwriter) and M. Ward (guitarist and singer-songwriter). They have a Facebook page and at the beginning of last year I “Liked” them and posted several wall messages requesting they play near the DC area. Eventually there tour information became available and to my absolute astonishment (and it would be far-fetched if this were a coincidence), they were booked to play the 9:30 Club on my 30th birthday – a Wednesday – July 7th. Needless to stay, I was elated and immediately purchased tickets.  

July 7th, the Night of the Show: It had finally arrived and I headed to Washington, DC with my friends Amy and Laura. In my haste, I accidentally forgot my glasses (I’m nearsighted), which could have been a crisis had I not the gumption to plant myself front row center. Short people be damned! It was my 30th birthday and I needed to see! I had both of their albums fully memorized and was genuinely excited about their performance. Maybe Zooey is just shy or was having a bad night (heck, she had turned 30 early in the year and could have just been tired) – I’m not sure – but her performance was very stiff and contrived, with little to no interaction with the audience. M. Ward and the other band members were eager to engage the sold out crowd. It was fantastic seeing them live, I just wished there had been a little more life and emotion behind the music and lyrics. After the show, I got a copy of one of the setlists and went around back to the tour buses to patiently wait.  Long story short, Zooey came and went, with not even a wave to the line of fans which had formed outside her tour bus. I’m not going to lie, I was upset….so upset that I promptly removed the “Like” from Facebook and took their albums out of rotation on my iPod classic and computer.

Fast forward six months – they release the new video for their song “Don’t Look Back,” the third track of their second album “Volume Two.” I received a link via email to visit their site and see the new music video (because we all know you’re not going to find them on MTV nowadays!). Here it is below:

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

After watching the video several times, I logged onto Facebook and “Liked” them again and posted the following message to their page on 1/21/11 (and have since gotten a couple of responses from fans):

Ah the wonders of the Interweb! This kind of online exchange between fans was unheard of back when I started attending shows in 1994. There were, however, online Listservs and chat rooms if you had  access to dial-up. It’s great to see how far we’ve come.

Music Video as an Artform: Here is another video for “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here,” the second track off their first album “Volume One.” *The video is property of She & Him and Merge Records.*

Album Covers as an Artform: In addition to their refreshingly nostalgic and endearing videos is the band’s cover art. Maggie Fost of Merge Records designed She & Him’s first album cover for “Volume One.”

She & Him recruited the artistic genius Kate Harmer of Croak & Hum to design and illustrate their second album cover, aptly titled “Volume Two.”

Website as an Artform: Ms. Harmer also collaborated with designer and programmer Marcos Ojeda on the redesign of the band’s hip, stylish, and innovative website: http://www.sheandhim.com/