Sunday, 13 May 2007

First up was Air at First Avenue. My friend Eric suggested this one. It fell on a Wednesday, which is date night for he and his wife Christy, plus it was their anniversary. Neither one had been to First Ave. since they moved here a little over a year ago. I acquired the tickets and worked with Christy to pick a spot for dinner.

We decided on Figlio in Uptown to grab dinner before the show. It wasn’t quite a last-minute decision, but pretty close. We both got busy the few days leading up to the show and didn’t start arranging things until the day before. I sent her a decent sized list of suggestions including general price range, cuisine, mini-reviews on the places I had been, and URLs where available.

Figlio is one of my favorite local restaurants. The food is always first-rate, the prices are reasonable, and the service is always superb. I did my usual Tortellini while Eric and Christy shared a huge porterhouse. We’re talking 28oz here, which is more than enough for two. It was Red Velvet cake for desert, which is just wonderful. I was a bit afraid to order it because the last time I had it came on some contraption that put it about a foot off the table. No Rube Goldberg device this time, so it’s apparently safe to order again.

After dinner it was off to the club. We got there about 5 minutes after the doors opened, which was plenty of time for them to take in the atmosphere and still find a spot near the stage. I gave Eric and Christy a bit of First Avenue history (Greyhound bus depot, Uncle Sam’s, the temporary bankruptcy closure) and we settled in for a great evening.

The opening act was a woman named Kate Havnevik. Imagine Imogen Heap, Dido, and Bjork (but without the yelping) all rolled into one Norwegian woman backed by a three piece band consisting of drums, bass, and keyboard (accordion most of the time.) She was simply delightful and I had to pick up her CD immediately after she was finished.

While grabbing Kate’s CD, I checked out merch for Air. They had T-shirts and nothing else; no CDs, not even the new one, let alone any of their back-catalog. The record label didn’t want them to sell discs out on tour — very strange if you ask me. I actually bought two of Kate’s CDs. One for myself, and another for Eric and Christy — which I got Kate to sign “Happy Anniversary to Eric and Christy” along with the autograph. They were thrilled and I told them to show that off to the two older daughters just to show how hip their parents actually are.

As far as Air themselves, I was a bit disappointed in the show. I knew what to expect musically. Really the band is just two guys from France with a bunch of keyboard gear, samplers, and sequencers. They had a regular band with them, but their stage presence wasn’t much. The spoke very little and didn’t move around much. I know it’s kind of hard to do much behind a bunch of keyboards, but I don’t know — couldn’t there have been something?

Still, it was a great show, the music was good and it was a fun night out. I don’t regret going in the least, but I’m not sure I’ll bother the next time around.

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