After working a bit on some abstracts, I went to campus to stuff mailboxes with announcements for the Autumn happy hour schedule. I designed them using Stata, which I found at least mildly hilarious on multiple levels. While I was there, I went to our School's big fall kick off event. In a brilliant break from tradition they decided (were advised by students) to ditch the four hour lecture hall format in favor of a social-type event where the department chairs (or their proxies) were forced (or encouraged?) to wear funny hats with color-coded feathers attached. Of course, I really only talked to people I already knew.
Since I was nearby, I went to the IMA to swim before going home. Later, I met up with some friends at the Elysian to welcome Jeff back from India. That is, pumpkin ale for the second time in a week. Not bad. Eventually, the totally normal conversation about things like the high points of subcontinental massage parlors turned to heated discussions about the best ways to use various statistical software for data management, signaling that it was an appropriate time to bring an end to the evening.
Saturday was the KEXP benefit at Neumo's. [flickr] Right before I left, my windows were pelted with hail and lightning crackled in the distance. This isn't particularly relevant, but it was weird.
Anyway. This KEXP thing was something of a marathon. Albeit a marathon with frites, beer, and loud music, but a bit of an endurance challenge nonetheless. It all started with Math and Physics Club, who are basically the American Belle & Sebastian [For reference, the Scottish version is Camera Obscura, the Australian version is Architecture in Helsinki]. Then John Vanderslice played a solo acoustic set that started with a song about a runaway rabbit and ended with people on stage leading a clap-along to "Time Travel is Lonely." Next, Athlete and their ten thousand guitars took the stage to try to build support for white belts and sweater vests as fashion statements using the power of Brit-rock. By the time Clap Your Hands Say Yeah took the stage, the crowd reached its maximum density. Despite the parade of intensely enthusiastic and personal-space-unaware, I really enjoyed them as much as I would have expected from my summer obsession with their album. They played at least two new songs, one of which seemed to be all about worshiping the Dark Lord Satan, and several from the album sung in a slightly reedier less understandable vocal style. After they played, the crowd dissipated and the National played a pretty drunken set. Even on NyQuill and liquor, they were entertaining. I still can't think of a three word descriptor of their style. Pitchfork says "sharp American rock" and Seattlest called them "a mellower Walkmen". Both seem wrong, somehow. But wait . . . there's more. The show closed with m83. Perhaps my expectations had been lowered by bad pre-reviews, but I actually thought they were pretty good live. They really have about four styles of rocking songs and they cycled through them in a loud and fun way that completely destroyed my left eardrum for the next two days.
Sunday: nothing happened except for reading, typing. And I think there was something about a Law and Order: Criminal Intent marathon sometime this weekend.