Last night, VFLOAB made our way over to the Black Cat in DC to catch Mason Jennings. Now, let me set this up for you a little bit.
Prior to last night we’ve seen Mason four times: twice in DC, once in Madison, and once in Chicago. He puts on a good, not great, but good show. We like his music… a little folk/rock/alt country mix… lot of love songs, probably too many, but he gets the job done. We like him because there are some songs that we can identify with, “Crown”, “Ulysses”, “Train Leaving Gray”, and “Big Sur” come to mind. Others we flat out enjoy (quickly “Nothing”, “Confidant”, and “1997”). So we were excited when we saw a few months ago that Mason was coming to DC for a show on February 26th.
Having seen Mason in 2003 and 2004 in DC, we figured it would be an easy ticket. There were no more than 200 or 250 people at either show, and seeing that the Black Cat can hold 600, we saw no reason to get tickets before hand. And it’s more fun to hand the guy at the door fifteen bucks than have them find your name on the will call list… see isn’t it easier just to give him $15?
But as we approached the Cat for the 8:30 show, we saw a line longer than what we experienced for Annie a few months ago… and after three minutes in line, some employee of the Cat told us the show was sold out. Shocked, I quickly called my friend who lived down the street and asked her how well she knew people at the Cat (since she is a regular). Like a dumb dog, I continued to wait in line despite it being 20 degrees outside with a bunch of wantabe hip Dave Matthews Band fans (more on them later). The friend met me, tried to work her magic, but no dice. Having traveled halfway across the DC metro area, I figured we might as well get a drink.
So there I sat at the Red Room bar slowly nursing a Newcastle, talking about how I now hate Mason Jennings fans, old girlfriends, and other variously boring topics looking like someone had flushed my goldfish down the toilet in drunken ‘enlightenment’ the night before. Sure I was a little tired, definitely in a state of shock, and ticked off that I didn’t get tickets… but I probably looked like the biggest loser ever. I was so pathetic and sad, that at 9:30 someone comes up to us and says, “Were you looking for tickets, because my friends can’t come…?” and handed us to tickets. And just like that, we was in.
Now there are three reasons why this was great:
1) I was now going to see Mason Jennings
2) It was free
3) Once again faith in humanity had been restored. (Not that I had actually lost it, but it’s fun to say that… nice people rock and thank you whoever game us the tickets. I owe you.)
The show was just okay. It was a solo show and while Mason didn’t stink up the joint, most of the songs didn’t go any where. He’s much better with his ‘band’. We got the low down on why the show sold out, the Cat decided only to sell about 500 tickets to create a buzz… which is fine but where did these 250 Mason Jennings fans come from? Was he on the OC? Pitchfork didn’t give him a great review, I know that… so seriously where did they come from? Did he open for Dave Matthews and I’m not aware? The place was packed with frat boys and their cute and hot girlfriends. And they knew about half the songs. The crowd wasn’t that annoying… but we knew that most of the people at the show were recent bandwagon jumpers. Mason was lucky to get 200 two years ago, getting 500 on a Sunday night seems like a bit of a stretch in the natural progression kind of way.
And the real bummer is that the ‘real’ Mason fans (aka the ones that have listened to him for at least four or five years) didn’t get to go because we all figured that there would only be 300 of us. But that’s the way things roll… Mason is better off in his pockets and while we ‘long time’ Mason fans now have to put up with the annoying frat boy/Phish/Dave Matthews/my dad is rich/”Hey man… can I get a lighter” types it’s the price one pays sometimes when you follow a band/guy slowly make his way in the industry. (And for the record, we aren’t long time, been with Mason from the start fans. We’ve been around the block with Mason for the last five years, but in no way where we there back in the late 90s when he was catching breaks, so don’t cry for us too much).
All in all, it was a good night… we got to pretend we were one of the five hippest non-bartenders at the Black Cat. We saw Mason Jennings do a great cover of Oasis’ “Be Here Now”. And we got to see him for the price of two beers and a cab ride home.
And of course, we recommend you check him out… even if you are a frat boy and think Dave Matthews is the deepest lyricist since Bob Dylan.
Congrats to Sweden in their victory over Finland for the gold medal in ice hockey at the Olympics. We missed the game, but the hockey we did see over the week and a half tournament was great. And if anyone knows where I could get this t-shirt without the rings, let me know… Andersonville maybe or do I really have to go all the way to Stockholm? Anyway, congrats to the Swedes.