I had the good fortune of attending the Sufjan Stevens concert last night in Atlanta. Scott had an extra ticket, so he and Dave and Matt and I rode down in the swank new minivan (which I would/will be totally jealous of if/when we had/have more than 2 kids [sorry about that]).
I’ve heard a lot about how cool Sufjan is, but I’ve had a hard time getting into his stuff. I have immediate respect for any indie/folk/rock-type artist who plays some banjo, and I really do like his bootleg Christmas albums that have been going around (and which will apparently go legit soon) but a lot of the stuff on his studio albums are a little too cool for me.
I did enjoy the show however, and I even learned how to pronounce his enigmatic name: “SOOF-yahn” (how uncultured of me to have been saying “SUFF-jan”). I dont quite grasp his lyrics yet, but I’m impressed at his orchestration (he had over a dozen folks up there, with lots of strings and horns) as well as his gift for a melody (even if he chooses not to use it in a traditional way). I remain annoyed at the intentionally choppy and often repetitive delivery of lyrics, but that’s not that big of a deal.
when I get into a band/artist, I really get into the lyrics. not knowing really any of them beforehand in this case, I found myself straining to understand and comprehend what he was trying to communicate, but I didnt have much success. I found myself longing for the easy-to-understand yet still powerful lyrical style of Ben Folds (who’s weakness is his cynicism, but anyway…)
but at the same time I’m also taking in the music and studying every move of the musicians (which is not easy to do given the crowded stage) because I like to pick up what I can for later use if possible (like a mental note to learn to play piano sometime, since nearly everyone who wasnt on strings or horns took a turn at one point or another). and yet I’m also trying to take in the experience as a whole to enjoy it beyond all the studying. I guess all these aspects put together is a big reason why I like making music so much.
so it was a good experience. many thanks to Scott for inviting me. Matt took a bunch of pictures so hopefully we’ll be able to see those soon.