Saturday, January 10, 2009

Matt Cliff: "YOU CAN DANCE!"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

These were the words he shouted in the middle of one of the first guitar solos last night. This was the rallying cry that would be raised again and again.

Sadly I can't---dance, that is.

But if I could, Matt, I promise I would've absolutely danced the pants off of everybody else. Instead, last night I was the awkward guy standing in the middle with everybody and nobody, smoking, then sitting in the dead center of the room, right on the floor, smoking (even more awkwardly). But even so I still salute the fact that you gave all of us awkward indie music-goers the go-ahead, the freedom, the--I dare say--carte blanche, to dance. It might not sound all that important, but it is.

A little background info: I went to see Matt Cliff and Friends play at the Aardvark last night. They were supposed to play the 11:00 slot, but they arrived to find out they were headlining at midnight, which is lucky, because I only got there around 11:59. Man am I glad I didn't miss them.

Whenever you go to any show, the knee-jerk reaction of "I gotta look cool, gotta look cool; I can't look lame for these perfect strangers!!!" inevitably kicks in, but the intensity of this feeling/behavior depends upon many different factors: how many friends accompany you, how well you know the venue, how well you know the band, etc., etc. Luckily, I'd been to the Aardvark multiple times, and I'd seen Matt Cliff play once before and gotten to chat with him a few times. However, this time I had to go alone 'cause I had invited too few friends too late. Thus the need to be "super-uber-mega--ultra-COOL(-and-NOT-LAME!)" was in full gear at the start. But Matt Cliff and Friends, though they certainly rock the house, still exude a care-free low-key mellowness that is blessedly infectious.

So, once they started playing such old favorites as "Shine On Through" and "Captain", some of us danced, more of us sang along, still more tapped their feet and swayed...and yes, a sad few still stood stiffly, drinking their beer and staring awkwardly. But at least there were some who danced, despite the old rule that "Indie Don't Dance."

Therefore, although I didn't 'bust a move', I'm happy to say how quickly I came out of my shell and just enjoyed the music, doing the best I could with clapping, rocking back and forth, and tap-tap-tapping with my foot. So, to repeat: "You CAN dance! You Can! You can DANCE!" But if you don't, if you just sing along, or mouth the words, or sway side-to-side, or tap your feet, or clap your hands, or even just stand there, there had still better be a dumb grin of appreciation on your face, and a few "Whoot!"'s and "Yeah!"'s better escape your lips. 'Cause Matt Cliff and Friends are here for you!


Dustin said...

Glad to hear you got folks dancing, Matt. I knew you had it in you. I like your style, and i like this Tyler fellow, too. Good work Matt, we'll have to catch some Fuzzy's again soon.

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