I have a list of blog posts waiting to be written, and this is not one of them. But I had to post this for posterity.
Tonight I went to one of the coolest shows I’ve ever experienced, and it’s all thanks to this crazy town in which I live. One of my friends heard that Jars of Clay were going to do a free show at a vegan restaurant in a cute little part of town called Berry Hill. So a few of us headed over there for dinner, not sure what to expect. A free Jars of Clay concert? Was there a catch?
I’ve never really listened to Jars of Clay, partly because I didn’t really listen to any Christian music after I went through my Michael W Smith/Amy Grant phase. I began listening to it again in grad school, but Jars of Clay’s stuff wasn’t really on my radar. I know who they are, of course, but I couldn’t name a single song they sang.
But yet the concert tonight was awesome. We got our dinner and hung out for awhile (I got the sampler platter, which had a little of everything under the sun — from quinoa to really good purple potato salad to kale to baba ghanoush — and a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale) and the place slowly filled up — but it seemed to be filled with mostly the band’s family and friends. The guys sat at the table next to us with their families and everyone was just kind of chilling. Manda saw another Christian artist there, but he wasn’t there to open or anything — he was just hanging out with his friends. It was so Nashville and I loved it.
Their guitarist, Stephen, went up to introduce them when it was time to start, and everyone gathered around. They played for about an hour and a half, taking requests and playing things from their entire twenty year career. For my friends who have listened to them for years and years, it was like going back into a time machine, different songs bringing back memories from high school and college. It was so laid back and wonderful — the guys making faces at people in the crowd, their kids walking around, their neighbors coming in to say hello.
I didn’t recognize anything they played, but it didn’t matter– they put on a great show. It was enough to make me buy not one of their CDs but two. I know, no one buys CDs anymore. But I was so impressed with these guys (and their awesome family and friends) that I wanted to support them. And if you want to support artists, you buy CDs, not iTunes.
It was a beautiful evening – clear and 72 degrees – and the sun set as they played. Then the noise ordinance kicked in and they had to stop before the cops came.
Truly a great Nashville night.
Here’s a dark video for you. And I stopped recording in the middle of the song because I wanted to move around and tap my feet and such. I can’t really stand still when I hear live music.
Then my friends took a picture with the band, true groupie-style.
Update: I meant to say last night — I was really impressed by the talent of these guys, too. I love acoustic sets because it’s easier for me to appreciate the musicianship (did I just make up a new word?) of each member. Their lead guitarist was really good and fun to watch. I think I always dismissed Jars of Clay as being a corny Christian band. Full disclosure, I used to dismiss all Christian music as kind of cheezy. And a lot of Christians bands are — we’ll just add “Jesus” to some lyrics and everyone will listen to our music because we’re Christian.
But I really liked their music, mostly their later stuff, and I’m looking forward to their new release in August.