Cass McCombs and The Winter Wonderland

Last Friday night I went to the Cass McCombs concert in Denver. I got in my little car and I trekked out into the snowstorm, slowly making my way to Hi-Dive after the venue’s website announced the band made it safely into Denver and the show was on.

The snowflakes danced around the street lights, making Denver a real life snowglobe and a winter wonderland. It was equal parts beautiful and dangerous. The roads were snow-packed, the fools in giant SUVs believing their car’s 4×4 deemed them invincible. Yet, all you really noticed were the flakes piling on top of each other, creating the illusion of a never-ending, pillowy ribbon across each block.

They say rain is the tears from heaven. I don’t know what they say snow is but I think there’s a surreal quality about snow that makes me think about dreamscapes. In such a way that it serves a background to some wondrous dreams and thoughts.

The snow would serve as a fitting backdrop for the concert.

Snow Denver

A picture from that night that I posted to Twitter

The show started with Frank Fairfield, handpicked by Fleet Foxes to open at one point, and his throwback to music more fitting for the 19th century gilded age rather than this one. His performance focused mainly on fiddlin’ created a rousing response from the gathering audience.

After his footstomp-inducing performance as the first act, the crowd cooled off and the music mellowed out with the headliner, Cass McCombs.

By about the fourth song into the set, Angel Blood, I was lost in my mind. Different thoughts and memories surfaced, different happier times.

I don’t know if I would call myself grumpy but there was definitely an aura of discontent that I put off (not the faux hipster indifference, legitimate angst about the last two weeks). I don’t hide my emotions real well, even to strangers, so people graciously let me brood alone.

And that was a stark juxtaposition; me, standing there with a demeanor that shouted ‘do not approach me or bother me’ listening to some of the most thoughtful lyrics that I’ve heard in awhile.

I didn’t want to brood but I certainly didn’t want to dance or smile. And for this night, Cass McCombs fit my mood. The music was like the snow outside, serving as a gentle pillow for my little sphere of the anxiety to fall down around me. It disrobed bits of my unhappiness, at least for a little while. By the end, Cass McCombs’s music made me ponder a smile, knowing I wasn’t alone, even among strangers.

Then I walked the eight blocks back to my car, which I parked a ways away, the bumper a little out in the street but away from the snow drifts the car wouldn’t be able to get out off without a push from a friendly passerby. And I went home before my thoughts and the innocuous snowflakes of the winter wonderland swallowed me up.

I attempted to park my little car in the unplowed snow piled on the side of the street by my house. But I never truly parallel parked it and the bumper stuck out into the road again. Like my thoughts, I left it there, to figure out in the morning.

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