i was a girl in birmingham
2005-03-21, 6:45 p.m.
"Take off your overcoat, you're staying for the weekend." - From "King of the Rodeo" by Kings of Leon
Birmingham, Alabama is a very confusing city. I went there with my friend Julia this weekend to see The Kings of Leon. Aha, shake. I thought our hotel would be two blocks (walking distance!) from the venue. But, apparently there's a North Side and a South Side and there are numbered streets on either side and 21st and 5th on the hotel side and 21st and 5th on the venue side were entirely different 21sts and 5ths. Oh, and when crossing to the south side of town, we went over this one-way bridge. And didn't see any other bridges. Going, like, the other way. Back towards our hotel and our stuff. If I wasn't so worried about being late for the show I would have been more alarmed. And should have been. I have no idea how we got back but it took a long time. Just to be clear so you don't think I'm a complete idiot, the numbered streets did not work on a grid with ascending and descending numbers. It was very strange.
Once we made it, the venue, Workplay Theater, was a fantastic space. Fantastic in the sense of "like in a fantasy." It was spacious and new and designed really well, but still cool.
And I loved the show.
Cute things that Caleb did:
(1) He did one little Axl Rose wiggle move. Just the once.
(2) He's famous for not talking much to the audience - but he's trying to do more talking these days, I guess - and he said something or other where he used the f-word, and then looked up and winced and said "Oh, sorry." And then looked towards the back of the venue and said, "Sorry, Aunt Sue!"
(3) Twice during song breaks when the crowd was yellin' encouragement, he would be looking at his guitar and then he'd just chime in and say "woo-hoo!" too. Just to himself.
(4) He startled me when he slapped down his microphone stand and when he busted all of his guitar strings. Rock-n-roll.
(5) He must've been teaching his cousin Matthew, the guitarist, a new arrangement of a couple songs because he kept going up to him and saying things - and one time he even stomped his foot and yelled out the chords "A" and then "C."
(6) In "Slow Night, So Long" there's a lyric that normally goes "I'll take you home, back to Oklahoma" and he changed it to "back to Alabama." Hee.
Speaking of Alabama, on the drive down I discovered there's a Southern accent I haven't heard much before. Northern Alabama hillbilly. We stopped at a McDonald's in Athens, Alabama. Now, I spend plenty of time in the rural south so it's not like I'm some kinda Yankee or citygirl, but it all seemed so weirdly foreign. Especially with the boys wearing the straw cowboy hats at night at a McDonald's. I told Julia I felt like we were starring in some kinda documentary reality show and we should hold the door for our cameramen. I kept wondering - how close are we to Sand Mountain?
Also, we spotted a sign for a town called Warrior, Alabama. We decided we loved that name and we wanted to move there. Also, after that we ended up singing "Warrior" by Scandal a lot. "Shooting at the walls of heartache bang, bang! I am the warrior!" Do you remember the Eighties?
I'll tell you when I abruptly stopped singing, though. Later, when we got out of the car and were walking towards the venue, when I realized I was a block away from the band's bus windows and I was singing one of their songs. Loudly. Badly.
That's not true. That's not where the singing ended for the weekend. 'Cause we were in Birmingham. Granted, the Alabama one not the UK one. So there some singing of Sex Pistols' "Bodies" - you know, "She was a girl from Birmingham..."