full circle

by pieces of moments

Life doesn’t always offer second chances. But, every once in a while it does offer the missing link to coming full circle.

Tonight as the snow fell and the year was leisurely ripping off the last few pages, a night 15 years in the making came to life in front of a few hundred lucky people as a band that kicked off an era and then dissolved came back together to take the stage at a venue named in their honor. The venue: Slowdown. The band: Slowdown Virginia.

There was something so triumphant, so “we did it!” in the spirit of the band and audience alike. After all, Slowdown Virginia, short-lived as it was, formed the basis of a little record label (dubbed initially as Lumberjack Records) that would blossom into an indie empire called Saddle Creek Records and its numerous bands: Bright Eyes, Azure Ray, Art In Manila, Sorry About Dresden, as well as many others including The Good Life and Cursive. The latter two, if you know your indie band history, were born out of the scattered musicians of Slowdown Virginia. They were the starter to midwest indie rock’s daily bread that went on to nourish an entire nation…all without a major record label in sight. Heirloom.

Tonight it was homecoming. Friends and family pouring back to the home state for the holidays, friends and family pouring into Slowdown to revel in the sounds that inspired a generation of peers to pick up their instruments and make some statements. Toward the last portion of the show Tim Kasher pronounced, “this is the best rock show you’ve ever seen!” …and it was true. Sure, there was a distinctly 90’s sound going on, but the excellence of their songwriting and musicianship continued to shine in the perfect blend of melancholic, restless, lyrics and equally shifting and drifting moods and time signatures. Good things never go out of style, and fine things get better with age.

So we danced and raised our hands. We gloried in our collective reminiscence of teenage dreams. We stood with our feet on the ground of the house that indie rock built (Slowdown is housed in the Saddle Creek Records compound). We all raised our fists and our voices along with the band during their cover song encore as we sang, “There ain’t no way we’ll lose it/this is our life/this is our song.”

Pictures to follow.