Back in the fall of 2000, two friends practically begged me to accompany them to the Sunshine Theater for what they claimed would be an excellent Modest Mouse show. At that moment, I may as well have been a hobo because I had approximately $12 cash to my name. Somehow, though, I ended up Downtown.
That show turned out to be one of those nights where, despite all odds, good fortune befalls you again and again. First, my friend ran into a friend who worked at the Sunshine, and got us in for free ($14 saved). After that, I ran into a string of people who bought me drink after drink (all of my $12 saved) as this band called The Black Heart Procession played mortuary-esque music I’d never experienced before.
I was mesmerized by their use of a saw as an instrument, totally confounded by their Theremin, impressed by the swing-like interplay between horns and percussion, and I wondered why, with no props to speak of, the stage looked like a creepy theater set. I thought, this could be the band David Lynch hires to play his parties and score his films! I was drunk on my own fascination ... and the whiskey shots I was being handed.
With my meager sum of cash, I purchased an LP; a three-song ’97 release (the same year the band formed in San Diego) called Fish the Holes on Frozen Lakes. When I woke up the next morning (or afternoon, as it were) and examined my souvenir, I found that one side contained nearly half an hour of the truly excellent darkness I’d heard the night before, and the other side a detailed etching of two old men. It’s still my most prized piece of vinyl.
The moral of this story is that sometimes we must risk lameness and go out, because we never know what we might find. And buy The Black Heart Procession’s vinyl, because, again, you never know what you might find.
P.S. You’d do well to listen to “A Heart Like Mine” from Three prior to the performance. But their new album, The Spell, is also pretty wicked.
The Black Heart Procession plays Saturday, July 22, at the Launchpad (21-and-over). Cost is $10.