Friday, June 22, 2007

Eff Cancer Prologue -- by J.O.B.

I have to be honest - I had practically no idea who Superchunk is. My wife informed me about a month ago that a friend's friend named Sean Silver had passed from a form of cancer called chordoma in his early 30's, and there was to be an "Eff Cancer" benefit headlined by Superchunk in his honor. Well, I'm always up for a show, and a show for a good cause will nearly always gain my attendance, so I was in. I'd heard the Superchunk name, but knew little of their brand of music, or that of the opening acts - The Mountain Goats and The Ponys. I was actually excited to go simply to hear what, to me, was going to be new music. Much of today's attempt at "new music" is simply bad rehashing of previous one-trick pony acts that weren't able recreate the magic past a couple of flashy singles.

In an attempt to not sour myself towards anything I might hear, I made sure not to try and find any of these act's music before the show. I wanted the experience to be pure. Superchunk was Sean Silver's favorite band and as such, I wanted to essentially be birthed to the "Superchunk sound" in the live-and-in-person realm, and not on the computer at my desk. As the story was told by his sister Liz, a little over 10 weeks ago Sean was given the news that there were no other treatments that would prolong the inevitable. Instead of breaking down or shutting off, Sean hoped that he could hear is favorite band play live one more time. Superchunk had been together in some iteration or another since about 1990, but since 2000 basically plays a collection of "reunion" shows every two years. There next reunion wasn't supposed to be until 2008 - not enough time for Sean to see them again. E-mails were sent and a mere 10 weeks later, although Sean didn't make it to see his favorite band, they took the stage at the near-filled to capacity Metro in Chicago, a place known for breaking bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and others.

As I stood there watching this band explode into a guitar heavy, garage/punk performance, I thought to myself how amazing it was that something of this level was put together in such a short time. As I looked around the room at the various people filling the main floor, ranging in age from 21 to 50+, all rocking and frolicking about in Sean's honor, I wondered: Who will play at their benefit? Do any of them love "their" music enough, have family that cares enough, to put something like this together? Do I?

We never think about it. At least most of us don't. We like a band or an artist and more times than not, they stop playing live before we do. Often times we lament for them to still be performing, not the other way around. The groups we love, the artists we adore, we often show up for their last concert but never expect them to show up for ours. Was Superchunk good? Does it really matter? I'd never seen them play live before, but they appeared to be playing for Sean. They were crisp and full of effort, and although the style wasn't necessarily what I put on Sirius when I got in the car to go home, I found myself like everyone there, bobbing and weaving to their sound all the same. Or maybe it was just Sean giving us a little nudge, making sure we enjoyed it as much as he did.

1 comment:

Brown Buddy said...

Well said...and thought provoking as well (though AWM will probably call it "gay")

I actually had a conversation with a coworker recently, of what song I would want played at my funeral. Put on the spot, I thought "Transatlanticism" by Death Cab for Cutie, only because its slow and sad, and would make everyone cry (or maybe "Casts No Shadow" by Oasis, for similar reasons). But since I wouldn't want anyone to really be crying, I need to come up with something better. (since there will almost certainly be a DJ at my funeral...mark it down on my will)