Butterglory, Neutral Milk Hotel, Karl Hendricks Trio

posted: January 29, 2012 13:01 ; from: 22 July 1996

This is the one that blew it wide open for me.

Maybe I've said that before.  I went to this show the summer between 11th and 12th grade, excited to see Butterglory.  My friend Amy had dubbed me Are You Building a Temple in Heaven? and it's twee-ish indierock harmonies rocked my world.  Karl Hendricks Trio were about all I knew of "local music" at the time - I had seen them at Lollapalooza '93 and knew they had been signed to Merge records.

Neutral Milk Hotel, who played first, I knew nothing about.

And of course, we all know what happened.  Boy sees band, band rocks boy, boy is never quite the same.  NMH erupted with complete and total joy, with the fuzzy 60s pop influences I loved at age 16, but also the flair for the experimental, the eclectic - singing saw, trumpet (played by Scott Spillane who climbed on top of the PA at times); the manic drummer. Songs that just seemed so rich and inviting - and this was music being played as a way of life, a calling.

I wrote a much more gushing and absurd recollection a decade ago on my 'farewell' page, when I shut down my Elephant 6 site, which thankfully archive.org still has a copy of, if you can deal with the font/margins.

I don't remember much though - Karl's set I don't even know if I watched cause I think I was outside being excited.  I met my friend Christie that night (where are you now?).  I remember being flabbergasted by the 'I love you Jesus Christ' line but not being bothered by it, even though religion in music was total anathema to me.  I remember B. Chad outside asking me if they were serious.  I remember Butterglory were good but I was already losing interest (though that song 'Rivers' was amazing and I distinctly remember the drummer banging away on the floor tom).  I don't remember if they played 'Alexander Bends' which they were (justifiably) known for.

I remember my mom picking me up and my friends (Brian and Nick and Dawn I think were with me) and just being so incredibly excited about this band.  I remember buying On Avery Island a few days later at Randy's Alternative Music on the South Side.  I remember getting the Apples in Stereo's Fun Trick Noisemaker and soon after the Olivias entered my life.  I don't remember at what point I made an Elephant 6 website, but this music became the centre of my word for the next few years.

Of all the posters I found in my parents' basement, I was most happy to find this one mostly intact.  This feels like a real beginning for me, even 15 years later; it's part of the holy trinity of formative live music experiences (along with the Mountain Goats at Laga and Chisel at the Beehive).