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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Postal Service Concert at the Greek Theatre


The Postal Service is one of those bands that takes me back to the heady days of dancing to their indie electronic Ben Gibbard-driven melancholy-esque music in the hoarded alone hours in my dorm room at college. So, when ten years later they announced a concert for their tenth anniversary re-release of their only album Give Up, I almost poo'd myself from the whirlwind of early twenty-something nostalgia.

I'm an avid concert goer. My very first concert was an extra ticket my parents gave me for Eric Clapton. After that I've seen big bands and small bands in everything from mega-giant stadiums to dive bar beer-stained showrooms. I actually prefer the later. I've seen Jack's Mannequin (inadvertently saw them twice), Death Cab for Cutie (hello again, Ben Gibbard), Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Editors, Interpol, She Wants Revenge, Roger Waters, Dave Matthews Band (twice...okay, so I used to love them, and the high-schooler inside of me keeps trying to love them again but to no avail), The Killers (also twice), and Muse.

So when I say that I jumped at the chance to see The Postal Service at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, I'm not putting it lightly. Yet, there was some small part of me, perhaps the older, more jaded part of me that wondered if it wouldn't be a) a waste of money, and b) a little silly to go see a electronic duo with a singer and a computer. As the date got significantly closer, I began to wonder if I wouldn't be disappointed, kinda' in the way you are when you re-read a book you loved as a kid only to realize it wasn't as mind-blowingly awesome as you recall.

But finally upon arriving at the gates, there was that tingle of excitement. The dreams of my twenties were now here. Ten years later.

Okay, so one of the opening "bands" was so strange, I laughed for like fifteen minutes straight. Big Freedia (apparently pronounced Freeda) is a transgendered rapper of "bounce" music. If you've never heard of "twerking," Google it. Basically I watched three women "twerk," i.e. move their ass cheeks in ways that seemed to defy the laws of nature, gravity, and possibly even Newton's Third Law of Motion. I was bored after like ten minutes of this because a) I'm not a straight male and b) I'm not a frat boy. With anthems like "Ass Everywhere," I was hard pressed to pay attention, thinking my inescapable thoughts like "I hope those girls don't hurt themselves, because that looks painful. Oh, I think I've memorized the lyrics already: Ass everywhere, ass everywhere. Ass over there, ass over there. Yup. Got it."

Buzz on the interwebs from fans of The Postal Service think this is Gibbard's way of not so subtly tweaking (or twerking?) the hipster fan's nose, so at least it made them look away from the glowing screens of their iPhones in shock rather than the permanent non-dancing apathy displayed by ze hipster. But we got to see Gibbard and Co. come out on stage during Freedia's act to shake their little white boy and girl butts. Much hilarity to be had.

Ah, but at last. The Postal Service. Or as they were introduced by Big Freedia "The Muthafuckin' Postal Service!"
 
Seeing as they only came out with one album, it wasn't like they neglected to play all of my favorite songs. Why? Because they were all my favorites. But with a guitar strung around his shoulders, Gibbard moved with energy to the songs he and Tamborello had created a decade ago. He even picked up drumsticks and played the drums and sang, a feat that made my little drummer heart explode. The LED light show behind them was actually a little mesmerizing, especially when they played "Natural Anthem" with the stage lights in red and down low.

I think at times all of the performers, while putting fantastic energy into the show, had a lot of fun hamming it up without being condescending or completely self-effacing. Jenny Lewis, the backup vocalist and backup guitarist, would make a great flourish whenever she tapped out a beat for the electric drum pad. Because fuckin' eh, man. Drum pad.

All in all, it was a great venue, a great show, and a fantastic way to relive those ten years ago. I remember riding in a car with a dying alternator, no heat in winter, and "Such Great Heights" for the first time blaring on my nearly destroyed speakers.


Thanks, Postal Service for not letting me Give Up on you.

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