Wednesday, June 21, 2006

feeling the spirit

Dayjobs suck.

Hardly a controversial stance, I realize, but I felt it needed to be said. I'm not just speaking metaphorically, no, they really and actually do in fact suck. They suck out your energy, your spirit, your desire to put down the remote/beer/cat and create something. Or at least mine does.

There's probably a few people out there within the sound of my little megaphone who have dayjobs that are actually what you would be doing anyway, regardless of pay. In fact, for the sake of the future of our society, I'd like to pretend most of you are so lucky. But based on the thumbnail sketch I've worked up among my friends, damn near no one enjoys their job. "Politely tolerates" is probably a better description. This is something we donate 8-10 hours of our lives doing, and a high percentage of us would so much rather be doing something else, but we've grown to appreciate the paycheck, the security of a 401K humming around in the background, and the comfort of knowing that if you trip over a curb and shatter your clavicle that the health care provided by your ever-loving employer will mend you back to health.

So you try and make do with your job, make your peace with it. You compromise. Maybe when you get home you just want to relax and forget the last few hours, like me. Watch a few images flicker on the blue box in your living room and giggle at the funny, funny things. Then you go to bed when you're tired and before you go to sleep you make a silent promise that tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow you'll stop kicking and maybe find the joy in your job, or, even better, you'll come home and work on Your Own Thing, something that's better than what you use to fill your refrigerator and that one day, hopefully, you'll be doing full time instead.

Maybe you make good on that promise, or maybe you have a bad day, a long day, and you just want to rest when you get home. Shut down. Watch the funny, funny things. And the circle goes round and round.

I think this explains the popularity of "American Idol."

So, it's times like these where I need a boost, particularly when it's been a few weeks since I've been able to sit in front of a keyboard and watch anything meaningful spill from my fingertips. Maybe it's the flourescent lights I sit under, maybe it's the basic brain atrophy instilled by said day job.

Today's boost is brought to you by Akron/Family.

"Raising the Sparks," by Akron/Family with M. Gira

Psychedelic rock as tent revival. For those of you put off by the overused rubric "psychedelic," don't be. In fact, come with me and above all come along with them and take in this celebration.

The curtain rises with this devilish guitar intro, sounding like some late 60s band trying to channel 'evil' in the days before Led Zeppelin copyrighted it. But then the bass and guitar swirl around eachother into this churning, trance-like melody and, harmonizing, Akron/Family release some nonsense about a man with sparks in his chest. Then, somewhere around the minute and a half mark, all hell breaks loose and the ritual begins. It's nothing complicated, just some melodic chanting built on repeating "yeah" over and over and faster and faster until just when you think it's only building a bridge to another part of the song it gets louder, more assertive and takes over. You can just imagine a gathering in the center of a forest with shirtless, bearded men circling a campfire as sparks fly upward. One is beating on a drum, another is beating on a wooden block while others are writing poetry, drawing shapes into the earth. Conjuring.

A minute later and the strangely spiritual nature of the proceedings takes hold, with the instruments dropping away until only gospel handclaps and exultations to "Raise the sparks!" remain, voices intermingling and joyeous noises and shouts that could be speaking in tongues all the way until the churning guitar lead comes back again and takes us home. Spent, but recharged.

Raise the sparks. They're still inside us, no matter what.

Buy Akron/Family's split with M.Gira here


At 3:26 PM, Blogger briana said...

Amen, brother.


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