Taste the war paint on my tongue/as it’s dripping with my sweat/place my gaze in the futures path/seeing things that ain’t come yet
Many years ago, a different me was in a car driving down a highway I had travelled many hundreds of time to a destination I was intimate with, and from a base which was called home. I guess it was 2001-2? I was thinking, listening to My Morning Jacket (review of Circuital), on the car’s cd player that I must talk to farangi about this band. Must. This was the best of jam-band and this guy had a voice that I couldn’t quite believe. Plus, they were from Kentucky – a place that is well, legend to me.
watchin’ a stretch of road, miles of light explode/driftin’ off a thing i’d never done before
Plus, they seemed not only to be amazing musicians but also had a deft way with lyrics. I liked them.
Every one else in the car hated them.
Years passed and they released more records, which I purchased. Listened to them. They toured within reach of me. But I never saw them. Once, I remember trying to make a plan with farangi to watch them, but who knows. We didn’t.
A few nights ago, I saw them in Berlin. In a very intimate little venue in Kreuzberg. I saw Jim James channel his inner qawwal and dance as if the haal was on him. When they started “Outta my system” I was bouncing from the ceiling. Standing within arm’s reach of the band, the sheer weight of polished rocking inexorably lifted all weights on me.
Have you ever lost yourself at a rock concert?
But, here is the well thing. At one point Jim James puts a towel over his head and sings through “Gideon” and “Mahgeetah” and I am transposed immediately to the haal-singers in sufi circles in Lahore, where the act of veiling is precisely to note that the voice coming out is supernatural. James’ voice is supernatural.
Oh, and after, the roadie tossed me the set-list. Guess a salt-and-peppered-bearded-brown guy bouncing all night elicits sympathies.