Saturday, November 22, 2008

They've got it all, but they ain't got emotion

A few weeks ago my brother and I were talking about how 2008 has been the best year for new music. After discussing new releases and concerts by Weezer, Neil Diamond, Sigur Ros and more, Matt and I decided that the only thing 2008 was missing was something new from Jeremy Enigk. As fate would have it, a week or two later I got a text from a friend telling me a short tour would be bringing him through SLC the weekend before Thanksgiving. Well, one show just wasn't enough because when I checked his tour schedule I discovered another show scheduled the night before in Pocatello, Idaho, of all places. Attending only one wasn't an option.

Now, Jeremy Enigk isn't your typical singer-songwriter. In the 1990s, Jeremy sang for a band called Sunny Day Real Estate, the Nirvana of the indie/emo genre. (Strangely, SDRE is tied many ways to Nirvana; they too were from Seattle and SDRE's drummer and bassist were founding members of Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters.) I don't think it's a stretch to say that Sunny Day Real Estate influenced, directly or indirectly, around 60-70% of the post-1994 indie/hipster-neo-folk/alternative music you listen to.

I invited all my friends who I thought would be interested in seeing him, but sadly and understandably no one could come to the Pocatello show with me. No big deal. He didn't bring a band with him, it was just him and a friend who backed him up on guitar. The set was interesting. He played four songs from his first album, which I don't get into as much, but it was cool to hear him play those old songs and it's cool that he still plays them. He played three songs from World Waits, his second album, two of which were piano songs rearranged for guitar; "Canons" sounded especially awesome with the new arrangement.

Jeremy in Pocatello

After about ten songs, his guitarist left the stage and I thought the show was over. But at this point the show was just reaching its climax (that's what she said). I never had a chance to see Sunny Day Real Estate live, but what ensued was the next best thing I could hope for. Jeremy began strumming a familiar chord progression, though it wasn't easily distinguished because it was missing the accompanying lead guitar. But when he started singing I immediately recognized the tune: "In Circles", a SDRE jam from their first album. The next song was much easier to recognize, since it's one of my all-time favorite SDRE songs: "Guitar and Video Games". With a smile on my face and chills down my spine I sang along unabashedly as Jeremy belted out, "Never again my dear / should we come dancing here / we'll play guitar and video games".

With Jeremy and Caden

The SLC show was more or less the same but with three times as many people and equal proportions of cigarette smoke and beer. I had mixed feelings about the SLC show being packed; it's awesome that Jeremy is getting the support he deserves but I'd rather not have to endure his set being elbowed by drunk girls that smell bad. I guess that's what happens when the venue is a bar.

Jeremy in SLC

I talked to Jeremy in SLC about his new songs. He's planning on releasing a new album in February. This video is my favorite of the new songs he played. It's choppy in the middle but it was the best I could find as far as sound quality goes. It's called "Same Side Imaginary".


  1. Myke, I like the picture of you with Jeremy and Caden. You look like old school chums (I guess Nancy Drew is rubbing off on me).

  2. i'm very jealous. seeing any SDRE song played by Jeremy would probably be on par with seeing Paul McCartney play Beatles songs live a couple years ago for me.

    I remember the first SDRE song I ever heard was "In Circles" when I was probably in 8th grade. Listening to the Diary album on my discman while walking home from Stapley Jr High. And then a truck drove by with a trailer full of yard maintenance equipment, and the trailer somehow unhitched and rolled wildly to the other side of the street and hit a girl on a bike and she was seriously injured. I've always connected that memory to that song, cause it was on when it happened.

  3. Oh Myke,
    You are A) so tight with Jeremy and SDRE! and B) did you really make that Office reference? ...oooh, Myke.

  4. Trevor your comment was as emo as SDRE. Seriously.

    Myke, I don't even know what to say. Did he do the screaming in-between the chorus lines? That's the hardest.

  5. Indeed he did Jeff. It was awesome.