Visiting my favorite Charlottesville spots before heading out of town for new adventures.
Day 4/7: Thank You for the Music
When I decided to come to Charlottesville for graduate school, one of my main reservations about this place was the music scene. Between San Fran and Detroit, I had been treated to amazing live music and indie rock bands – once I stopped listening to crap and discovered Interpol, Muse, and many other emerging bands thanks to a college friend. I figured between D.C. and Richmond, there would be plenty of music, if not in Charlottesville. Within a month of moving here, the Rolling Stones came to play at UVA. Clearly, I had assumed wrong.
I did not see The Rolling Stones that fine summer night of 2005, but I have seen many other amazing gigs here. From the now defunct Satellite Ballroom and Star Hill on West Main, to the very awesome Jefferson Theater and Southern Cafe & Musical Hall, and of course the Charlottesville Pavilion and John Paul Jones arena (who just announced Sigur Ros – I mean, where are we!?!), music venues abound around here. If I told you that here in Charlottesville, Virginia, quaint cozy college town of 50,000, I have seen U2, Muse, Arcade Fire, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Decemberists, LCD Soundsystem, Lady Gaga, TV On The Radio, Death Cab for Cutie, and many others, would you believe me? You should.
Arcade Fire came to town 2 years ago. The show was outdoors at the Pavilion. It was 100F with 90% humidity. The air grew hotter as we all waited and eventually a furious thunderstorm broke out, a concert it its own right. After the rain stopped and the humidity rose to 300% and we were all severely dehydrated and well on our way to be delirious, the band came out and rocked out. One of the best live shows I’ve ever seen, no doubt fueled by the pounds of sweat we collectively shed under that tent.
Now since I’m moving to Music City, chances are I’ll be just fine – after I learn to tolerate, I mean, appreciate country music. I already have tickets to see Muse and The National later this summer. But I’m going to miss the Cville music scene, where you can buy a ticket at the door for The Vaccines the night of the gig and stand 3 feet away from Tunde Adebimpe.
But perhaps what I will miss the most is the constant stream of random music on the Downtown Mall. The dudes and dudettes who aren’t afraid of putting it all out there and strum their guitars. The high schoolers who give recitals for free just because. The family who jams together barefoot. The man who often stands at the corner of 2nd street and plays his harmonica. It’s been a real treat living in a community that loves music so much.
So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty (ABBA)