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05 November 2006

endless mike and the beagle club at goodbye blue monday

"do you know what this is?"

mike was holding a plastic dinosaur that he had found lying around somewhere inside goodbye blue monday. the whole place is littered with old stuff. all of it is for sale, reportedly. none of it has price tags though. i smiled and shook his hand.

"it's a dinosaur," i said.

"yeah, but what kind?"

avoiding the question because i couldn't remember, i launched into a story about my childhood. "you know, when i was a kid i was convinced i wanted to be a paleontologist and when i told my first grade teacher that she had to ask me what it was."

"the exact same thing happened to me," he said. "at first i felt smart but then we did a dinosaur unit and the teacher kept singling me out, asking 'is that right, mike?' after everything she said. it made me feel like a freak so finally i just said 'i don't like dinosaurs anymore.' but do you want me to tell you what it is? or will it drive you crazy that you couldn't remember?"

"it's on the tip of my tongue. but yeah, go ahead."

"pachycephalosaurus." that's not what was on the tip of my tongue. "when me and matt were kids we were in the drug store with our grandma and we wanted to buy a book because we thought it was godzilla but really it was about dinosaurs and that ended up being the book we used to learn to read. and i guess we just kinda kept going and going and soon enough it was paleontology text books from the library."

mike is this easy to talk to. like an old friend the minute he's a friend at all. and it's partly this willingness to reveal what's underneath in such detail (even when it's just dinosaur enthusiasm) that makes him the gifted songwriter that he is. i'm talking, of course, about mike miller, from endless mike and the beagle club (matt, his brother, is also in the band).

we spent most of the time before the show started reading books we found on the shelf near our table (male sexuality, 101 questions and answers about welding, etc.) and stacking cans of $2 pbr.

a guy named drew opened the show with an acoustic guitar. he was pretty good, but he didn't have any cds with him or anything.

endless mike and the beagle club

and then, spilling off the stage like they often do, the beagle club took over. i've tried before to put the energy this band has into words and i've always failed. maybe energy isn't even the right word. it's more of a feeling. some members never stop dancing. and some hardly ever leave their position, sitting on the corner of the stage and playing whatever handheld percussion the song calls for. but there's a unity in the group, such that every role, from biggest to smallest, is equally dedicated to creating this experience. endless mike and the beagle club delight in blurring the line between rock concert and performance art. anyone who has ever sat around and dreamed of being in a band has dreamed of being in a band like this one. i can't think of any band i've ever seen that's more authentic.

and the songs are just so good. god damn are they good.

the husky tenor, a record i've been waiting for with baited breath, is finally done and i got my hands on it friday night. in lieu of liner notes, the package contains a six page hand-written letter from mike. a sort of stream of consciousness about what the band means to him and about free will and decision making and it closes with an invitation to discuss it all further with mike's email address and, if you're a fan of pen and paper, his mailing address.

the husky tenor

i, for one, intend on writing him. and you, well you should find a way to see this band in concert. and you should order this record, which i believe will eventually be available here. and you should never ever tell me that rock and roll is dead because i will tell you exactly where it is alive and well.

here's a picture of sean holding a cat. a cat that apparently lives at goodbye blue monday. there are lots more pictures of the show up at flickr.

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