I couldn't have been more nervous for show No. 189 (Spiritualized). It wasn't a date. Actually, I was by myself. It was the fact that I hadn't been to -- or rather stepped inside -- the 9:30 club since No. 184 (Empire of the Sun.) No. 185 (AlunaGeorge) wouldn't come until two days later. The evening was spent picking up a friend from the airport. The day was filled with tears. I knew that the next show, and the show after that, and every musical experience I had in this city of ours, and likely elsewhere, would be different. I knew that after I parked where I always would, and rounded the corner onto V Street, I wouldn't be looking for the same person. Well, I would be looking. He wouldn't be there.
Josh Burdette was my friend. And no matter what social media may be able to confirm, and my hope that it was so, I don't know if the inverse was true. For my trite worries regarding music, love, and sports, Josh was my therapist. Perhaps most importantly, before show No. 160 (Black Clouds) he helped me pick a location on the floor of the club (I tend to be affixed to the balcony) to assure I was appropriately aurally assaulted by the symphonic brilliance of the local trio. When he saw me eagerly headed towards the rail at No. 8 (Ke$ha) he gave me that grin. I shrugged. We both knew I had to see everything I could. 23 percent of the 200 have been spent at 815 V Street. And then there was Nos. 144 and 145 (Phish). When, true to our tradition, I would e-mail and thank him for patrolling the grounds of Merriweather Post Pavilion, as the fans of the band I love so dear tested his infinite patience.
But I received some good advice right before No. 187 (Laura Marling) -- to pivot from sadness and focus as much as possible on all the wonderful people are still here. No matter how much I knew that I wanted to thank them and remember him, it's taken me this long to put pen to paper. So, here I am -- writing with admiration, respect, and too much self-importance. To those who treat me as a friend when they're hard at work, I quickly look back at the first 200 and look to the next with incalculable levels of appreciation.
It wasn't until the 11th of January that No. 1 (Niki & The Dove) came into my life. My second encounter with these Swedes was more a sense of relief. It is entirely unclear to me how I survived the first week and a half of the year. Little did I know that it would be their countrymen, No. 70 (Goat), who would deliver one of my favorite shows of the year. Nos. 10 and 11 were my first two Miranda Lambert experiences of the year, and whereas one can never have too many of these, No. 161 was the third. No really. You know the fifteen-hundred stories you've read about this being a golden age for women in country? They're all true.
The highlights of the first third of the year come in at No. 12 (Chelsea Wolfe), although I would not fully be engulfed by her perfectly dark and grandiose majesty until No. 192. I attended No. 18 (Rufus Wainwright) in respectful proxy for someone who, had she still lived in town, would have been there and loved it and developed potentially undying crushes on No. 20 (HAIM). I stood in respectful terror as H.R. watched music mere feet away from me at No. 28 (DC Funk-Punk Throwback Jam) and flailed around with reckless abandon to the aggressively wordy No. 36 (Single Mothers). The earliest contender for show of the year came in at No. 42 (Nick Cave).
Spring had sprung, which meant the painfully sweet honesty of No. 55 (Frightened Rabbit) and the carefree, if not careless, attitude of No. 62 (FIDLAR). No. 64 (The Presidents of the United States of America) brought my back to simpler times, bigger venues, and WHFS. I was sick, but stubborn enough to attend No. 72 (The Snails). I remain unclear as to whether I imagined some of that show in some cough-fueled delirium. The beauty of No. 76 (Daughter) had my jaw on a black and white checkered floor, while No. 83 (Marnie Stern) was nothing short of awesome. Nos. 90 and 94 (The David Mayfield Parade and Laura Mvula) began to draw the temperately warm climate to a close with appreciative and encouraging sweetness.
There was much sweat and singing along to Nos. 105 and 106 (The Front Bottoms and the Mountain Goats), while No. 113 (Marijuana Deathsquads) demanded dancing. No. 114 (Pharmakon) could ask for anything she wanted, and I'd slightly fearfully oblige, while those at No. 118 (St. Vincent & David Byrne) could expect the same of me, but for different reasons. As the mercury rose, so did the volume at No. 135 , 151, and 177 (Deafheaven, Trash Talk, A389 Summer Extinction). My favorite band in the world played No. 149 (Pearl Jam) within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field -- a show which included a two-hour weather delay, Ernie Banks, and a 2 AM curfew. While an aforementioned group, also carved into my music Mount Rushmore are scattered about Nos. 137-139, 144, 145, 150, 152, 187, and 188. (Phish)
The only husband wife team occupy Nos. 153 and 162 (Jay Z and Beyonce); they with the most guitars and divisive name were No. 182 (Diarrhea Planet); and a musical hero was fronting No. 188 (The Julie Ruin). Then there was celebrating The Black Cat with Nos. 195 and 196 (Black Cat 20th Anniversary). David Yow, unfortunately, did not keep everything in his pants, but did remarkably keep himself on the stage for his set with Girls Against Boys.
Before No. 200 (Youth Lagoon) the will call line had swerved into the sidewalk. I looked over to the front of the 9:30 club. I missed Josh. I think that might just happen at the next 200 shows too.
My concert planning neurosis can be found here. Maybe I'll see you there.