Tonight I unearthed my scanner, its power cord, and a compatible USB cable (all of them in separate, still-un-unpacked boxes and bags), and I scanned my Final Fantasy embroidery at the highest resolution I could. I had begun cross-stitching these six sprites from the original Nintendo game shortly after I'd seen Final Fantasy open for an epic Arcade Fire show. Final Fantasy is Owen Pallett, whose music consists of "violin and looping pedal and thin, stupid vocals," according to his web site. He holds the title of World's Most Popular Gay Postmodern Harpsichord Nerd, according to the Times (henceforth, "WMPGPHN"). This evening, he headlined a show of his own, not especially far from the apartment I just moved into, and I had no excuse not to bring him my sampler, which had been folded up in a paper bag since I'd finished it some time ago.
When I walked into TT's at 9:30, Why Twist The Hair was playing keyboards and drums and singing in their best Thom Yorke falsetto to a crowd that mostly seemed to consist of their friends. They have a lot more friends than most opening bands do, and [REDACTED] [We had no idea "BU girls" was such a loaded term] The audience thinned out somewhat for Dylan In The Movies, who played well, in a polished late-90s modern rock way. For Alex Lukashevsky and his acoustic guitar, we formed a perfect half-circle. Under all his delicate songs, we could hear the muffled rumble of another show, from the Middle East, downstairs from us. He treated us to a spirited rendition of "La donna è mobile".
As the crowd increased in number, fervor, and indieness, Final Fantasy arranged his collection of pedals on the floor of the stage, took his violin from its case and his feet from their shoes, and approached the microphone. "One two, check check, trust trust, trust fund." And then, an unprecedented twenty minutes ahead of schedule: "Shall we begin?"
I've seen lone musicians with delay pedals open for Slint, Kayo Dot, the Dresden Dolls, the Magnetic Fields (in a modest student ballroom at Smith College, for eight dollars, with enough space on the floor for us to sit down and share a pint of ice cream from Bart's while we waited), and the aforementioned Arcade Fire, among other bands. (Final Fantasy's use of loops is different than the others': the WMPGPHN does not pile up a haphazard wall of sound, nor does he need an invisible drum machine. The loops are meticulously timed, layered precisely, and completely necessary. The process of constructing a song in this way seems precarious and easy to fuck up, which may be why it's so much fun to watch.) With the current tour, Final Fantasy defies the laws of physics by not being the opening act.
Owen Pallett is gangly and Canadian. Between fiddling and singing and plucking songs from Has A Good Home and his new album, He Poos Clouds, he told us a lot about his reading habits.
"I was reading Harper's on the way down." Somebody yelled "Fuck Walmart!" or something to that effect, in reference to the current issue. "It was like reading The Killing Fields on the way to Cambodia."
"I read a lot of Lovecraft on the last tour. Are there really backwards Puritan cults in rural Massachusetts?" I resisted the temptation to call out "Hampshire College!"
Scrambling onto the stage after the show, I presented the WMPGPHN with my Nintendo cross stitch, awkwardly. He responded by hugging me, so I think he liked it.