This past weekend (a bit less than a year ago) we had a very busy weekend.
We went to a wonderful show for a band we'd known well since high school, a sorta jazzy, brit-pop ensemble known for their upbeat melodies mixed with dark and twisted lyrical styling and subject matter (and a rather distinct male lead): The Beautiful South.
Later we saw a Y'All-ternative pop band with beautifully voiced chanteuse and an eclectic backup band named . . . The Beautiful South.
To their immense credit, as the show opened the two factions of fans were very clearly delineated. Long before the end we moved as one crowd. The energy was incredible. It was far and away the best show I've seen in a very long time.
It did occur to me that when she sang about the sun shining "across the San Francisco Bay" in my new favorite of their new songs that it was probably meant as someplace far away and slightly exotic when the song was written. And here they were playing the Fillmore.
And, to be fair, we had some warning that this might happen. After we bought the tickets a few months before, Chiara said, "You know, we haven't heard anything they've done lately." So she fired up iTunes and after a few samples to be sure we weren't just hitting the anomalies, we both had the same reaction: "What the hell is THAT?!" The music bore absolutely no resemblance to the band we knew.
I must confess that I entered the hall that night with quite a bit of trepidation and a fair bit of dread. It is doubly to their credit that they were able to pierce that mood and make me so thoroughly enjoy the show.
Edit: And, ok, American country music grew out of Irish folk singing, so there's a better chance that the firey red-haired chanteuse wasn't actually singing country in those 30s snippets we heard on iTunes. It was still one hell of scare.