Posts Tagged ‘caroling’

The Music Tapes come caroling!

December 12, 2008

We received a magical visitation on Sunday night here in the Old North End, when the Music Tapes came caroling!

The Music Tapes!

The Music Tapes!

The Music Tapes, aka Elephant Six and and Neutral Milk Hotel member Julian Koster, came up with a brilliant idea for a tour this fall — a caroling tour, of living rooms around the U.S.!  You email in advance, and he shows up at your house, plays and sings a few carols, and then he’s on his merry way.  He’s been on the road since early November!  On Sunday night, we received word that he’d be arriving in Burlington, at the nearby abode of our good friends Joey Pizza Slice and Miss Marbles.  It had suddenly become the first day of winter, and it was crazy cold and the roads were slick.  We assembled in the living room, nervous that the guys were caught in the snow and ice someplace.  Until we heard a knock at the door, and in they came — Christmas sweater and all!

Joey Pizza Slice is a Music Tapes superfan, and it was fun to see him get all flustered and excited and earnest.  For me, as a currently-very-burned-out-DIY-show-booker, having someone just come to your house and play in your living room, with no money changing hands or promotional worries, seemed like the BEST TOUR IDEA.  (Disclaimer: at least for people like Julian Koster.  It’s wonderful to see musicians being able to perform in the way they want to.  I don’t have a problem with musicians making money, obviously).

We made some chit-chat while Julian’s saw and banjo warmed up from the car.  Mostly I talked with Julian’s Canadian photographer friend about the wildness and beauty of the martime provinces (very beautiful!).  It turned out later that Joey Pizza Slice was crazily resentful of me keeping him from full Music Tapes musical connection chit-chat access.

And then the show began!  Julian picked up his tiny bow, and serenaded us with some Christmas carols played on his musical saw, badger.  I didn’t take any photos or video, but here’s another youtube video from his caroling tour in Atlanta:

Here he does O Tannenbaum AND Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Each song was prefaced by a bullshit fantasy story about how the song came into being, and closed with a tender and demure bow by the saw.

He also played a few self-composed carols, which is a genre I am fond of, in fact.  After about six songs, they had to be on their way — other houses in Burlington to visit!  I had to go to bed, but almost everyone else tagged along to the next visit.

Brilliant and beautiful!  Best of all, he played my favorite carol last — The First Noel — and yes, he did the way-up-high super-formal ending.

Go ahead and buy his album, The Singing Saw at Christmastide, here!

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