Throwing Muses are playing and I love this

“Early 2014” was when the Throwing Muses tour was to happen. I couldn’t wait for the Boston and NYC shows to be announced, I wanted people to know, I wanted to be in the excitement. I checked the Sinclair and Bowery websites often, then we decided to announce the shows on the website. Seeing everyone excitedly tweeting and posting to Facebook about these shows made me so happy. That’s my favorite. I love the excitement. I love knowing that there’s this whole group of you out there that love this band as much as I do. I love it when people love this band enough to travel sometimes across the country or from another one, just like I do and have done. I love that you all exist because you all help this band exist. But that’s another gushy post for another gushy day.

When the shows were finally posted on the venue websites, I looked at them a few times. Yeah, I’ve known they were playing these places on these dates for a while. But I needed to *see* it. I wanted to see it. A tangible, yet digital, confirmation of this. And I realized I felt exactly the same way as I did back in the late 80s when I’d page through the local newspapers looking for gigs. Remember doing that? Looking at all the regular venues in search of your favorite band’s name. When I’d see “Throwing Muses” listed there where it hadn’t been the week prior, my heart would jump. I probably gasped, too. I love to gasp. I wanna be excited. I wanna be your slave. Ignorance is happiness unless you get paid.

Sorry, that happens.


Well, I found I feel the same way about seeing “Throwing Muses” listed on a website gig list as I did seeing it in print form way back when. I found myself just looking at it, like a fangirl dork, staring at that name, “T.h.r.o.w.i.n.g. M.u.s.e.s.” 03/07. 03/08. Throwing Muses were playing! Throwing Muses are really playing! That same excitement again. That feeling in your gut that you were gonna see your favorite band. It wasn’t just because I was young as I was back then, because I’m not anymore, this is almost 27 years later. This is because I love this band so much and there’s nothing better than seeing them play live, seeing the music come out, hearing it, watching it, feeling it. Nothing, nothing can ever beat live music. 

Plus the fact that Tanya is opening? I honestly don’t have words, beyond being more than pleasantly surprised. I don’t ever even think about upcoming shows because I like to go into it fresh, with no expectations of songs which might be played or not. I don’t even listen to the music leading up to it, because I want no preconceptions of what the recorded songs sound like. I want to be in the moment of the show, absorb it all as it happens, bask in it and love it for what it is at that moment. But… Tanya. There is a special magic with Kristin and Tanya on the stage together and…. yeah… I don’t even know what to say. Just, it’s… perfect.


There’s a special sort of happy that goes along with seeing your favorite band listed on a gig calendar. Something to live for. Something to look forward to. I’m embracing it, feeling it, loving it, just how I love this band. I appreciate every single thing they have ever done in all these years. Every note played. Every lyric sang. Every bit of time spent in the studio recording or erasing or just laughing, because all that is in the music. Their personality, their breath, their life. None of that is lost on me. These people are real and their music is real. I guarantee I love it as much as they’d want someone to love it, if not more. And I can’t wait to be in that room of love.


Paradoxical Undressing, Vol. 3

This was my 3rd time seeing Kristin’s full Paradoxical Undressing performance. Last night I decided that I need to make every best effort to see it, regardless of where she may be performing. The experience is getting better each time. It was a tough drive home on a lonely, dark highway, but so very worth having to drink shitty rest stop coffee. Especially worth the gorgeous and huge waning gibbous moon, glowing first orange, then yellow and sometimes partially obscured by scattered clouds. And most especially worth the hugest meteor I’ve ever seen drop from the sky. So very beautiful, so musical is a sky like that, so stunning a night.

I had been looking forward to seeing Paradoxical for months. It’s been a rough year so far and I couldn’t wait to “feel”. Feel the energy of the songs. The emotion. The combination of the live performance, the sounds, the projections. I’m already sensitive to people’s energies and the way this show is done intensifies all that for me. I couldn’t wait to purge a little, and I figured I would.

My reactions to both other Paradoxical Undressing performances were different, so who really knew how I’d react this time. I tried to listen to some of the more emotional songs on the drive up, maybe to desensitize myself a bit. I’ve been so fragile lately, and with yesterday being the 8-year anniversary of my father’s untimely death, I really didn’t want to sob audibly. Desensitizing didn’t really work, but I was quiet.

The room was very dark, which was fantastic. I found myself wishing they made black tissues, so I could discreetly wipe the tears from my face. The white frigging *glows*. The darkness helped my focus, and I think it helped throw me deep into this performance. I have very vivid images in my head for so many of these songs. Some are static, some are movies. They’re full of color and imagery and so very gorgeous. I found myself falling into them, in an almost out-of-body experience. I’m in the song, I’m participating in the song. I’m walking down that dusty highway and I’m sitting on that beach. I’m looking at that deep-south crumbling shack. I’m in a cloudy and wet Ireland. You’ll hear Kristin play some chords from Appalachian folk inter-dispersed in her readings. You’ll notice chords from Uncle June and Aunt Kiyoti. She doesn’t have to play those entire songs for me to jump into those, too. Such a wonderful thing, when the songs invite me in like that. I’m honored for that privilege.

Songs don’t always show me pictures. Sometimes they are just feelings without concrete or tangible structure. During those, I sometimes found myself being sucked into the gorgeous projections. Molly Cliff-Hilts, who painted the art used during this performance, paints to Kristin’s music. Her art really does *look* like the songs. They’re not necessarily what I see, but they’re not supposed to be. But I get it. It makes sense.

The songs are energies. Kristin puts her life pictures into the songs to bring them to life. We’re supposed to put our own life pictures on those songs, too. I think of them as this core entity, full of swirling energies, emotions, senses, feelings. What we see in them is just a skin that lays atop that and that’s supposed to be different for everyone. It should never matter what the song is *about*, as written, but rather what it means to *you*. Everyone’s skin looks and feels different, but the energies beneath are always the same. Reach inside and feel that. Learn to recognize it. It’s wonderful.

But sometimes I found myself crying over the song’s lyrical content. Coupled with the book excerpts it’s sometimes hard not to. Sometimes I found myself crying over what the song means to me. Sometimes I cried due to my grief. Sometimes it was just because the song was the most beautiful thing I could imagine hearing at that moment. A chord’s ring. A vocal inflection. A combination of both.

Kristin makes fun of herself for singing different notes over the ones she’s playing but what she does is perfect. I’ve never heard anything as consistently beautiful as the music she makes, or the sounds she sings. Paradoxical brings that all together, the music, the words, the visuals. It’s also funny as shit. I laugh, I cry, I love. I ended up getting way more out of this show than I had expected. Its left me in such a lovely place. Wish you were here, too.

two very different shows

Friday night was Paradoxical Undressing. Saturday night Kristin Hersh played in Woods Hole, MA. Two very different shows. Two completely different vibes. They yielded two different reactions in me. Both equally amazing.

I had seen Paradoxical Undressing back in April in LA at The Getty Center. It was amazing and I loved it and found it very moving. Going into this one, I knew what to expect. But I had no idea how I’d react. In LA I made it to 37 Hours before crying (toward the end of the show), then sat in my seat, reflecting and crying, as the audience filed out. I wondered how my previous experience would shape or affect this one, I really had no idea what it’d be like.

I certainly didn’t expect to cry during every. single. song. All of them. Even the songs that didn’t make me cry as they started, I falsely thought I was good. Nope. I found halfway through the show that I was ramming my foot down into the floor, I guess trying to ground myself or push the emotion out through my leg. Luckily for everyone around me, I’m a quiet crier.

I drove home after that show in stunned silence, not wanting to let go of that experience. It’s truly incredible, and I’m not just saying that because I am biased. The art of Molly Cliff-Hilts is projected on the screen during the show. Molly paints to Kristin’s music and it’s amazing how those paintings *are* the songs. It’s the combination of the art art and seeing Kristin play the music that makes it so moving. The spotlight on Kristin while she reads is dimmed so as she plays the only light is from the projected images. It surrounds your senses and it’s incredibly beautiful.

Saturday night’s show in Woods Hole was completely different. Instead of crying I beamed with happiness all night. The Woods Hole Community Hall is this great classic Cape-style old building. It smelled of old wood (awesome) and was the perfect size for this special show. It had such a nice vibe to it, which also may be due in part by the energies in that room. We were right up front and the sound was perfect, too.

organized this show and opened for Kristin. Drew’s great, he’s a wonderful guitarist and singer, do check out that link and listen to his music. He set the perfect mood to lead into Kristin’s performance.

Kristin’s set was more like a solo show than it was her scripted Paradoxical show. She did some readings from the book and told some stories, but her set was mostly music. I had gone into this show without any expectations or preconceptions, as I normally try to do. This makes every song she plays a pleasant surprise (except maybe when I see sound check). I had known she had played songs from Sunny Border Blue at her recent Dublin show, but since I don’t think about that stuff before the show, I was pretty damn happy and surprised when she played Your Dirty Answer, White Suckers and Summer Salt from my favorite of her solo records.

Summer Salt is one of my favorite songs, I’m sure, as it always stands out for me. It’s such a FUN song. I was pretty damn psyched that she followed it up with Speed and Sleep, which may very well be my most favorite Throwing Muses song (although I’m not quite ready to make that statement, so don’t hold me to it). Add in Krait (I *will* state that this is my favorite of Kristin’s solo songs – it is the most perfect song for these ears) and it was like this set was made for me.

The only time I nearly cried was during the encore when Kristin played White Bikini Sand. A couple of lovely folks had recorded Throwing Muses performing this in the UK for me, because I couldn’t be there. I had seen part of it at sound check in Athens, GA and I loved *how* they were playing it. I played those recordings endlessly for a good week. I won’t tell you how much, that’d be embarrassing. Anyway, this nearly made up for missing the band play it overseas. What an incredible, incredible song. I’m so happy.

So where the Friday night show left me moved to the point of tears, this Saturday show had me beaming with joy and happiness about this music that I love more than pretty much anything. Two different shows, two different reactions, both equally incredible. I’ll say that forever. I love that equation. I love that one song can make me cry one night and the next it’s got me grinning like a dork. How amazing this music is. I’m so lucky to have it in my world. You are, too.

RatGirladoxical Undressing

To say I’m stunned after seeing Kristin Hersh’s Rat Girl performance at The Getty last night would be an understatement, to say the least. It was incredibly moving. It will stay with me forever. No longer will I read the book the same way, no longer will I hear those songs the same way either. This is not a bad thing, but it runs deep.

I’ve seen Kristin do readings before, I’ve seen her play the songs which go along with those too. But this? This was far different. The way she read the passages from Rat Girl made me feel like it was 18-year-old Kristin telling the story. It became much, much more real. I felt like I was there watching Kristin speak with Betty, seeing her stick a cigarette in her shoe on the beach. Coupled with the colorful beauty of Molly Cliff-Hilt’s artwork projected behind, it was pretty intense.

I sit here in stunned silence, I’ve never been quite so moved.