Song 14: "Cast a shadow" 

I count myself lucky to have seen Beat Happening, an arty trio of raw self-expression, in concert. I was still in high school making frequent trips to Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID to skateboard and experience my first live music. When I wasn't skateboarding, I was very likely watching a band practice in a basement. I was hooked, admiring real humans interacting amidst noise, sweat, and melody. At the time, lyrics weren't as important to me as they are now. I really just loved the sounds.

Butch's Den was a small little multi-purpose area in the basement of the Compton Union Building at Washington State University. I got to see likely a dozen bands play there before I was even out of high school. One exceptional bill featured Fastbacks with Beat Happening, supported locally by one of the best bands I may have ever seen, Ignatius. 

Even Calvin Johnson, the lead singer of Beat Happening, was impressed. He stepped on stage and uttered, "Ignatius." His deep booming voice stretched this one word into at least five syllables. Then, he stared at the crowd, contorted his body, and let it rip. The band was simple: guitarist, drummer, and singer--all three of them changing up instruments. My take away from this performance was that you don't have to master anything to make art happen. Just be expressive.

I don't know that I've seen a better show.

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