Thursday, January 29, 2009

DeVotchKa, and The Car (OR The Ethan Williams, Hannah Hillam and Erika Eddington Experience Featuring The Salt Lake Trip)


Yesterday, I drove to Salt Lake to see DeVotchKa play a concert at In The Venue. A band called Crooked Fingers opened for them. Crooked Fingers were really good. We all thought they were Irish because not only did the guy look like Glen Hansard, that other broken hearted Irish singin- songwriting kinda guy. But the man talked with an Irish accent. So naturally, we jumped to the conclusion that he was Irish. He wasn't. He's from North Carolina and lives in Seattle and Denver. Embarrassing. But he really does look like Glen Hansard though, Right? Granted, Eric Bachmann (from crooked fingers, Mr. Faux Irish) has about fifteen extra pounds and one fewer Oscars, but still, you can see my confusion.Eric Bachmann, Faux Irish.

Glen Hansard, Real Irish.

Again, Fake Irish
And Real Irish

Anyway, Confusion to say the Least. But, I really liked Crooked Fingers. I also liked Devotchka Quite a bit.

We (Erika, Hannah and myself) left from Provo with Erika's mom's car at 5:30. we were going to stop and get something to eat in Salt Lake, but when we were on the freeway, 30 minutes on the road, We realized we didn't have the tickets, so we turned back and got them. Luckily enough, we still had plenty of time to make it to the concert because we had the foresight to allot ourself time to eat. Well, needless to say, we didn't eat. we went straight to the concert because the time that we were going to spend eating was spent getting tickets from back in Provo instead. But we were all okay with that. After a bit of backtracking and driving around in search of the address, we arrived, healthy and hopeful.

As I entered the In The Venue, there were only about fifty people there, granted it was only seven forty, but still, I was surprised. So the three of us weaseled our way to the very very front of the space and never left.(CLICK on the picture, it makes it bigger and readable)

The time seven forty is significant because usually the band is said to play at eight. but of course that means at eight thirty. and this was no exception. Crooked Fingers got on at 8:30, introduced themselves briefly in an Irish accent and played about seven or eight songs. There was someone next to us who was singing along with them. Apparently, he didn't come to see DeVotchKa, but Crooked Fingers. good for him. he was so happy and jumpy aroundy. anyway. In the band there was a very ugly woman playing the bass. I thought that the ugliest woman in the music business was Jenny Conlee of the band the Decemberists, who happens to look just like Josh Brown, from several Local Bands.... but this girl was also very ugly. Here are their pictures.
Ugly but extremely talented Jenny Conlee of the Decemberists
Equally (and Identically) Ugly Josh Brown, of Several Local Provo, UT Bands. it really is scary how simmilar Josh Brown and Jenny Conlee look. I might even put up more pictures to prove the point... later. Right now I'm just happy I found a picture of Josh Brown in a dress.
And the Crooked Fingers Bassist, Miranda Brown. Wow, what a group of lookers.

anyway, as we were waiting for DeVotchKa to come on stage, a group of sweaty kids shoved their way up to me and started yelling a lot and talking really loud. they were anxious to see the band and also mildy-moderately drunk. The main yell-er of this group was this high school aged boy. He had a greasy indie-mullet, which is a mullet that comes to a point, apparently. His voice was so grating and high pitched it really could have broken something if there hadn't been so much other ambient noise around. This boy would yell everything. and make words much longer than they had to be so he could end up yelling in his grating voice for longer. He and his drunk friends thought this was the funniest thing they had ever seen and laughed and shook their heads alot. This, needless to say, encouraged the drunk boy. and so for the forty five minutes until DeVotchKa came on, they did this, and he yelled in the bar none most annoying voice I had ever heard.(There actually is, coincidentally, a picture of one of the drunk boys behind me in a picture Erika took of me, so i'll put it up right here. he looks a lot like Eli Bendowski...)

During the course of this, they began to encroach on our space, so I made a box out of my back and shoulders and grabbed a hold of the railing, one hand on either side of erika, so they wouldn't bump into her, and to make sure they didn't push her away and make us lose our space, (which i'm sure they were trying to do. there was no one in front of us.) and I didn't let go the rest of the night.

So the whole night people were pushing up against us, but I held strong. Later, another crowd of drunk friends pushed their way to the front. They started arguing with the annoying kid behind us. and eventually the annoying kid got separated from his friends. To which the leader of the new drunk group (and her shaggy haired boyfriend) told them not to worry about, and that they can make it one night away from their friends. I was happy because I thought someone would finally make this annoying boy shut up. Nope. After a while, they actually all started playing together and yelling together and pushing together. Their favorite hobby was to either 1) grab strangers and rub their hands over their arms and backs , or B) swaying and rubbing into people and full body dancing on strangers. Well, in most cased, due to my proximity to them, I was the stranger at the butt of all their drunken fun. But I held strong to the railing and kept Erika from being danced on and pushed out of the way. I was constantly being pushed against and grabbed and rubbed and trying to be pushed and moved out of the way. And because I didn't smile and laugh at their games, they attempted, very poorly, to make fun of me.

at about 9:20, 40 minutes after Crooked Fingers stopped playing, and 40 minutes after the most annoying group of people EVER started to push and bump-n-grind and yell on me, DeVotchKa finally came on. They had a Sousaphone (Marching Band Tuba) with blue Christmas lights stung around it and an accordian player. Later in the show, they also had an acrobat come on for a song and dance on a curtain. it was cool. Here are some pictures.

She also plays the Sousaphone.

The Blue-lit Sousaphone
The Gymnast, high above the ground... looking like a butterfly

right here, she's about 25-30 feet off the ground
And here, she is actually in the middle of a 10 foot free-fall.
a guest trumpet player who looked a lot like Ethan VanDer Ryn.

Anyhow, that was good. and it ended. But as it turns out, Hannah had hit her head a couple of days before hand, and just realized she probably had a concussion. her head hurt, she was dizzy, and nauseous. And the smoke and heat wasn't helping. Neither was the fact that we hadn't eaten since before three that afternoon. So we left during the encore songs and went out to the car, Erika's Mom's car, two blocks away.

It was unlocked... but nothing was stolen. So we hopped inside, already making plans on where to go to eat, and what we were going to get. I turned it on... and nothing happened. I tried again: nothing. No lights, the engine wasn't even turning over. I said "uh-oh" and then hopped the H on out of there. Erika was slightly distraught on account of this being her mom's car. I popped the trunk and got out the jumper cables. I then proceeded to walk out into the road and wave a car over to pull in to help us. Luckily, and nicely, the first car I waved pulled in. He was a nice, stout, mid thirty year old man with long hair. we tried a couple of times to jump it, it didn't work. he suggested we try to put the black cable on to a ground. We tried that, it didn't work. so we let him go after he helped us for ten minutes or so.

I called my dad. Erika Simultaneously called her mom. I had to use Hannah's telephone because mine was dead. Hannah's phone was to die soon as well. Erika's phone had one bar of power left. I got off the phone with my dad. He said sometimes one needs to let the battery charge for a few minutes, the car with power just running it's engine with the jumper cables attached to the 'dead' battery. And Erika's mom said that sometimes cars need to have oil in them in order to start. I recalled that on the way up a "you need oil" sign popped on up. so that seemed like a logical reason. But with a significant lack of oil (none) i stopped another car. The man was reluctant, and said he had no bumper cables. i told him we did. So he was nice enough to help us out. He sat and revved up his engine. we sat there "charging the battery" for about seven minutes. then we tried to start it, nothing happened. so he too suggested putting the black wire to a "ground" so we did and revved the engine for a few more minutes, at which point he told us he needed to leave. I thanked him and said that if it would ever work, it would have worked by now. So we tried it and ... It didn't work. We were stuck

Long Story Short (too late) we called my dad. he agreed to drive up to Salt Lake, 45 minutes away, at 11:30 at night to help us out. In the mean time, freezing-their-butts-off Erika and Hannah, needed someplace warm to be, and someplace to eat. So we made the communal decision to walk someplace warm and eat. we asked a man outside of In The Venue where the closest eatery was. He told us some directions, and pointed easte-west when talking about north-south directions, and visa versa, i think he was confused. so that didn't help terribly much. We talked on the way about how we had all had feelings to charge our phones (Hannah's and mine were both dead, with Erika's jsut hanging on) and to buy oil on the way up and Erika had actually thought of bringing blankets. all of the feelings we dismissed. stupidly. Eventually, we ended up at a Marriot Hotel. there was a Wendy's next door, but all except the drive through was closed. so no food yet. but there was warm. we waited inside about 20 minutes, then my dad called. He was here. So i left with him to fix the car while the girls stayed in the hotel till we were done.

Another long story short: it's 12:30 now. We put 2 quarts of oil in the car, and we can't get the car to jump no matter how long we charge it for. We can't even get the dashboard lights to light up more than a flicker. And even then, it's only two or three of the lights. So in a last ditch attempt, through inspiration, my dad decides to try OUR jumper cables. the minute we attach them the car jumps to life. all the dashboard lights light right up and the car purrs to life immediately.
(Erika's cables were pathetic, almost dollar-store versions of the manly, buff cables we have. so it should go without saying that the cables held the problem. oh well. Erika's mom said they'd buy new ones.) So, I take Erika's mom's car and my dad agrees to follow behind us, but, what else could really happen right?

I pick up Hannah and Erika from the Marriot. Hannah, who is getting weird, and sick, and delirious and quite hungry, what with a concussion is shivering and singing strange olde-english tunes. We decide to go to a Village in if we can find one in SLC, if not we'd just hit the Denny's in Provo on the way back... HA!

We don't find one in SLC. so we begin to drive home, Hopeful of what the near future will bring. namely, a full belly and warm feet. But oh how wrong we were:

-1:15 a.m.-
Point of the Mountain, UT. the car stops responding to the accelerator. I pull over. My dad is right behind me. We communicate in the cold for a few minutes, eventually, we decide to try it again. I make it about 10 ish more miles, then it happens again.

-1:45 a.m.-
10 ish miles after Point of the Mountain, UT. the car stops responding to the accelerator...again. I pull over. Erika calls her mom and explains the situation. My dad is concerned that we will ruin her car if we keep trying. she says to keep trying for right now but if it still doesn't work, push it as far onto the edge as we can. So, with a few attempts to start the car, one finally works and we take off again.

-2:00 a.m.-
we are about two and a half miles away form the 1600 North Orem exit. and the car starts sputtering, then banging then if made a big puffy of smoke out the back and then I pulled over. Hannah is in the back seat curled up in the fetal position with ablanket covering her, still singing her Olde-Englishian ditties. The concensus between everyone is this is probably a fluke and we are probably pretty close to some exit or another, so we'll try one more time. i mean it 2:00 in the morning for heavens sake. so we try one more time

-2:05 a.m.-
It bumps and patters and sputter again and stops reacting to the accelerator. this time, we agree not to drive it. we are right past a sign that says 1/2mile till 1600 north exit. We are about to push it to the side of the road whan my dad remembers he has a tow strap in the back of his car. so he gets it and he and i (mostly him though...) attacht the two cars together via this tow rope. then we get on our phones and call eachother in order to talk ourselves through this procedure. so we begin to drive, him towing, and both talking on the phone to one another. Hannah needing food, Erika needing food, myself needing food, my dad needing sleep, we manage to drag ourselves and this car...

-2:11 a.m.-
...another 1/4 mile before the rope breaks. well, not breaks, thank goodness, just comes untied. so we pull over again. Hannah, deleriously asks for food. my dad taking it in stride knowing that she has a concussion and offering her coke, and stuff like that. He also ties the rope back on the car and we manage to pull it up the final hill and coast it into a parking lot right off the exit!

-2:25 a.m.-
Erika takes the drivers seat after we have found a spot to park in and cleared that spot out. My dad and I push as erika steers the car into the parking space. hooray. Then we all pile in my dads Nissan Sentra, and head to food. Hannah is hungry, tired, nauseas, delirious, and has a migrane, plus some other stuff too that i can't exactly remember, she needs to eat more than any of us. that's not to say we weren't all hungry, i mean, we hadn't eaten since three that afternoon,a dn had had kind of a rough night. So, we drive to IHOP, because it is much closer than the Denny's in orem.
God Bless America. and IHOP, for being open so kindly 24/7.

-2:45 a.m.-
We all arrived at IHOP,and we waited momentarily to be seated. we all got in and got comfortable and ordered waters. then i left to take my dad home and then to return to IHOP for the rest of the folks.

I arrive home with my dad, who stumbles to the door in his sweat pants and says good night. Thanks dad. Thank you dad, I really, truly appreciate that.

-3:20 a.m.-
I arrive back at IHOP to find a water waiting for me and a Hannah who is slightly more with it after having had some water. Long story short, our food arrives and I have honestly, truley, never seen anyone eat so much food so fast. And i'm a college-age male. It was probably the most appreciated food this side of the Atlantic since 193?. plus, I didn't know IHOP could make food that delicious. Erika ordered for me while i was away. it was a chicken sandwich. the waitress geve it to us then left. She came back to check on us the first time, to ask "is everything tasting alright?" but when she did, I merely looked up at her, with the last bit of my burger/sandwich being shoved in between my teeth and she just laughed and walked away. saying as she left "well i guess so."

-4:00 a.m.-
we arrive at a much renewed and revigorated hannah's house, having decided that if she wakes up feeling sick and concussed tomorrow, she should go see a doctor. (we had been prodding her all night to see one, she refused.) She also realized she didn't have her keys and her door was locked. but decided to just wake ehr roomate up and make her let her in.

-4:15 a.m.-
I drop Erika off, and tell her mother "i'm sorry" and write down the address of where the car is.

-4:25 a.m.- I arrive home just as my mom is waking up. She askes a vague question like "how was your night?" ... she had no idea.

It turns out my dad left after she was asleep and got home just before she woke up. so I told her I'd be writing a blog about it and was too tired to explain it tonight. And so now, here I am, writing a blog about it.

That is the story. Thanks for bearing with it all the way through. I tried to keep it interesting through the use of pictures and a link to see who Ethan Van Der Ryn is, but it's hard to keep this exciting.

Thanks for reading.


Erika said...

Wow...Josh Brown. There isn't anyone uglier in this world. I really appreciate you boxing me in. I had no idea all of that was going on. I knew some of it but not all of it. Thank you! You're wonderful!

Steverino said...

This story has all the elements of greatness: hardware, puffs of smoke, drunks with mullets, and IHOP.

Hannah said...

Worst night ever. But also best.

Brionne said...

Ethan, your family is the greatest. :) I'm glad you and friends all made it home safe and sound....lots of sound, from the sound of it. If you ever get stranded farther up north, I hope you'll give me a call. Take care of yourself down there!