The Frames – North By Northwest; Philadelphia, PA (2003-10-11)
Two down, five to go. We continue the celebration of my life as a concertgoer (also known as “Seven Days In Evan…’s Live Music Archive”) with a trip down my memory lane way back to the year 2003. 2003 AD. Eh? EH!? Oh, wait, yesterday’s concert was from 2003 also. Whoops.
As a fresh-faced 20 year old, a junior in college, I was writing a lot for my college newspapers. There was the fancy-pants Muhlenberg Weekly, probably one of the worst goddamned student papers ever created. I don’t think a single article of mine was printed as it was submitted. Phrases, sentences, ideas were often changed, and the litany of grammar and spelling “corrections” (most people would call them errors) made me sound like a mongoloid. No wonder I never got laid while I was writing for the weekly. There was also the cool, hip online magazine called the Muhlenberg Advocate. They edited me less and let me write what I wanted, but they had no clout. I couldn’t get into shows for free or interview the crappy singer-songwriters that passed through campus. The Weekly helped me get in touch with plenty of cool people at record labels, and my favorite press link was always Chad Nelson at Touch & Go. That guy did more for me during my junior/senior years of college and my post-collegiate writing career than anyone before or since. He got me into the Frames / Calexico show at NXNW (North By Northwest), a restaurant in Philadelphia, which turned out to be probably the best pairing of any concert I saw during my tenure as a college music writer.
All I knew of the Frames before seeing them live for the first time was that guitarist Rob Bochnik used to work at Electrical Audio as a staff engineer. This made for an amazing Chris Farley Show-ish moment when I cornered him in the restaurant and said, “Rob, right? You used to work at Electrical Audio?” To which he responded, “Yeah. That’s right!” And what did I say in return? I said, “Wow, that’s really cool.” And that was our entire conversation. A+ Evan. Your interview skills haven’t changed a bit over the last seven years.
The Frames blew me away. They were in between albums, For The Birds came out in 2001 and Burn The Maps was to be released in 2004. Their set contained songs from both albums as well as one cut from Dance The Devil and one song (“Races”) whose origins I don’t know. The highlight for me was “What Happens When The Heart Just Stops,” which on this night featured Calexico trumpeter Jacob Valenzuela. At one point a pair of drunk assholes spilled a drink on me, and this little girl (though she was older than me) named Alison made a comment and we started talking. It wasn’t until I was halfway back to school after the show that I realized she was hitting on me. Ah, stupid youth.
Calexico (whose set I also have a copy of, but won’t post because I got a CDMA take-down notice from Touch & Go the last time I tried to post some Calexico for you) were simply brilliant. These two bands were truly a perfect pairing, and I’m glad I got to see them both. I took no photographs of the Frames, but here’s a shot from Calexico’s set:
NXNW; Philadelphia, PA
October 11th, 2003
MediaFire DL Link
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