Friday, July 29, 2005

The Illinoisemakers

I know, I know. Two posts about Sufjan Stevens in the same month is a bit much. I just needed to say a few words about the show last night at the Lo-Fi Cafe. For starters, that place is sweltering! It's a wonder that the performers didn't melt right off the stage. Indeed, there were many pit rings. To anyone I was standing next to: I apologize for the B.O.

I throughly enjoyed the performance. The sound wasn't that great but I'm not sure if it was due to the acoustics, the sauna, or the musicians themselves. The band wasn't terribly tight either, but they made up for it with a terrific display of musicality. He opened with "The 50 States" and it was the first time I've heard the song in its entirety. Beautiful. It should become new standard 5th grade curriculum, in place of that cheesy song the young ones learn nowadays to memorize the states. Sufjan comes off as a bit shy. He didn't remember all the words to his songs, and had lots of notes up there. I don't blame him at all.

Highlights: The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades..., The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders..., The Man of Metropolis..., Jacksonville, Come on! Feel the Illinoise!..., and John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (I saw a tear stream down Sufjan's cheek during this one).

How many concerts have you been to where the performers dress in cheerleading outfits, pump pom poms, and entact original cheers dedicated to vague midwestern towns? None, you say? I hadn't either. It was strange, but hey, I'm sure the people of Peoria deserve a Ra!-Ra!-Ra! as much as any college basketball team.

After the show I spoke to Sufjan breifly about the album, the creative process, Saul Bellow, Denison Witmer, and the press. He was nice.

"The 50 States"

"John Wayne Gacy, Jr."

Sufjan leads the Illinoisemakers in a cheer

Kirk, Me, Sufjan

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