I’m with the Band!
I love the nightlife. I like to boogie.
Okay, not really. But if I did, I figured I’d be out of luck in Fredericksburg. I mean, we don’t get a lot of action around here. This isn’t New York City, after all; we roll up our streets at 10pm. But it used to be eight, so there’s progress for ya.
Wasn’t I just reminiscing and mooning over the lost simplicity of my little old home town? Wasn’t I just waxing nostalgic for the way it was? Some people are just never satisfied.
Sure we have ten times more restaurants and shopping centers than we did when I was a kid. But I perceive our growth as sprawl: getting ever wider, without moving up. Despite all the development, it’s still so…mundane. Where’s the vibrancy? Where’s the fun? *sigh* This town is so boring.
What’s that? No. Um… No. Well…
So I’ve only visited one of the umpteen historical buildings slash museums. I just got that multi-pass a couple of weeks ago and there’s no expiration date, so… No. No, I’ve never done the Candelight tour at Christmas. It’s just so expensive…okay, no, I’ve never gone to any of the free First Friday art events. But I don’t know anyone who’d want to go with me. Nope, I’ve never sat in a lawn chair and watched a movie projected all giant-like on the side of a building. Antiquing? I did that so five years ago. Tour the Civil War Battlefields? Not really my thing. Take an inner tube down the river, join a theater group, paint some pottery, see a play, take a walk, go dunk your head in the Rappahannock….
Al-right. So maybe this town isn’t that boring. Maybe it’s just me. (I anxiously await your comments below, in which you repeatedly insist that I am sooo not boring but decidedly fascinating and also would I please be your Facebook friend.) Anyway, if you read this post, then you already know that I am trying to get to know my hometown a little better. And to my surprise, Friday before last my nephew inadvertently helped me out with that.
So what on earth does this have to do with the band? Well, my nephew’s in the band. How cool
am I is that? I missed their last concert because, being old, I was unaware that invitations are now only issued as Facebook status updates. My mother, being older still, is well aware of this new protocol (like everything else, it skips a generation), so that’s how I found out about this one. And I was super excited to get to see them play.
Let me ask you this: if you’re a part of the audience, but you know someone in the band, is it acceptable to tell other people you’re ‘with the band’? If no one stops you from saying “I’m with the band”, is that like getting permission?
You may have noticed already that there are books in these pictures. I noticed that right away too.
When Logan described the location, he said they were set up in a back room and there was a bookstore up front. So I really didn’t know what to expect. Turns out they were in a place called Read All Over – they had booked a booking in a book store (I had to say it, will you forgive me?). Read All Over sells used books in what feels like a re-purposed house, complete with a kitchen sink next to the stage. It’s lined up with all the other businesses in all the other used to be houses that populate William Street. It was perfect.
Perfectly downtown. Perfectly small town urban. Perfectly Fredericksburg.
And I had a perfectly wonderful time.
To begin with, I saw a side of Fredericksburg that I hadn’t experienced before, and that is Downtown on Friday Night. Where have I been? At home, I guess. I’ve seen the relative crowds of locals and tourists in the daytime, shopping and eating and touristing. But I had no idea that our downtown drew such a crowd of people in the evening. They were everywhere. The outdoor tables, empty every time I’ve driven past by day, were at full capacity. If there was a chair outside of a store, then there was a butt sitting in it. Families and couples and groups of friends walked the sidewalks and met in their little groups here and there. It was a bustling crowd. It was summertime in the city. It was…exciting.
My senses were buzzing and I couldn’t decide where I thought I could be. With all the lights and the crowds, it kind of felt like a bigger city; I could have been in Georgetown or Richmond. There were young people reminding me that this is indeed a college town (and has been since 1908). Perhaps because I grew up here, I have long been somewhat oblivious to “the college” – it was just there, it felt fully contained on its campus. And though I’ve been to concerts and plays and even an opera there, I have not considered the impact that UMW must have on Fredericksburg’s culture. And even as these thoughts were going through my head, I was taking in the historic buildings all around me, the old bricks and the past.
Maybe there’s just something about night-time in a city, in the summer. It could be the way the still warm breezes wrap around you like a silk cocoon. Or it could be the way artificial light has of softening the curves and angles, how the shadows blend and fade away in that light. But I think it’s the lights themselves, how they outline a place somehow. And all the lights in all the buildings shine out and remind you just how big the city is and how many people are out there in it. These are the lights of possibility. It’s just…romantic…on a grand scale. They make you want to be more than you are – to bust out of your skin and be bigger somehow. They make you want to move to a highrise or start your own business or become an opera singer or a baseball player or something like that. They make you want to do something. They make you want to dream big.
Which brings us right back to the band, and I’m so excited about the band. I had really forgotten how great it is to sit and listen to live music! It jumps in your blood and makes you want to dance. Or at least sing along at the top of your lungs. I was sorely tempted during their Beatles set (which were the only songs I knew – did I mention that I’m old?), but I didn’t. You can thank me later, if you watch the video.
The House Of Burgess
This is Mr. Burgess. Hence the name of the band ;).
What’s exciting to me is…well all of it. They wanted to start a band. And so they did. How cool is that? I’m fairly well in awe of anyone who can play a musical instrument (Ben played at least 3 different instruments that night), much less the time it takes learn and practice enough music to put together a few sets. Well done, I applaud you. Again.
And thanks for reminding me that this is in no way a boring little burg. You just never know what you might find in the back of a used book store, at night, in the summer, in the city.
♦ ♦ ♦
So, a note on the video: this was a last minute thing, so I feel that I need to apologize for the quality. I took a bit of video with my camera and my mom took a bit with hers. That’s the reason for the different angles, which is good, and the weird changes in sound quality, which is not good. I just had enough video between the two cameras to hobble together a kind of incomplete synopsis of the show. I did what I could to keep the volume relatively level, but you’ll hear obvious changes relating to the different cameras, where we were standing, noise level of the crowd, etc. But I hope you can still enjoy it!
The House of Burgess
- this used to be my town (steadilyskippingstones.wordpress.com)