Knee bends and tippy-toes - Luna in The USA and the UK (3: Brooklyn day one)
If you want to listen to the show while reading Joakim's post head over to NYCTaper who have it to stream/download
On the other hand, I forgot the hard drive, I went back alone to get it. No matter how much I like Ulrika and Mike, there's not much more that beats walking around in New York by yourself, in the night. Stopping whenever you like, talking to strangers, writing this, just be yourself, not even your best friends or even your partner makes you feel like that. I'm a loner. Maybe I left it behind on purpose.
I stepped into a bakery, there were a lot of asian people working in there. Everything was in white. I took a photo before they chased me out of there. I am so lost. In Chinatown. So lost. I was so lost, in Chinatown.
I like watching Britta play the Malibu bass lines, Dean is shaking his head in rhythm, Britta is jumping up and down, on her tippy toes.
I'm in a hotel room in northern Sweden. By myself. Watching Luna from Brooklyn earlier this year. We are here to visit my grandmother, she doesn't know who I am any more. My mother died five years ago, it was a windy night, she died on her way to her work. It was just next to a blackberry bush I used to pass on my way to school, on my way back I stopped to pick a few berries, and I even made a blackberry jam once. My father lit a candle a whole year on that spot. She was born in spring.
We are visiting my grandmother, she is not well, remembers almost nothing, is talking nonsense. She is not well, she has alzheimer's. While I'm used to nonsense from lyrics, it's something different to hear it for real. But it's not nonsense to her, but it is for my brother and my father, it is not nonsense to me. She is speaking from her heart. With her brain playing tricks. Her heart is right, her brain is playing tricks. I don't mind. I see her in front of me, one more time. It might be the last time I see her.
I am watching my films I recorded from the Brooklyn shows. I filmed both shows, all of it, with four cameras set up in the venue. I had no experience what so ever with this kind of thing and I had to improvise, and I got all the equipment a few days before the trip. I even got the main camera shipped to the hotel in Washington. And I'm watching it. It brings me back.
Well I'm here, watching this band. Britta is bending her knees, they are opening up the first show in Brooklyn with Say a prayer. For you and me.
Dean is bending his knees. Sneaking a kiss. Juggling the guitar effect knobs. Buttons. Whatever there might be. He rises. His right arm is straight, singing on a Spanish afternoon. Adjusting the mic stand knob. Don't be late.
Me, Mike and Ulrika went to La Luna to have dinner. I had artichoke, a really big one, drenched in tomato sauce. It was delicious. Artichoke is a favourite. When I was a kid my father had a friend that had a vegetable store and every now and then my father brought home artichokes, we boiled them and ate the leaves with butter. My culinary world widened and I loved it. The Italian artichokes are really good, in jewish parts of Rome they are served boiled and pickled, otherwise the primeurs in early spring are fried. In Verona a long time ago we even had a artichoke soup.
It just feels so good listening to Luna. Seeing them play. Sean is wondering, “is it on?”. I put a camera behind him on the stage.
I like watching Britta play the Malibu bass lines, Dean is shaking his head in rhythm, Britta is jumping up and down, on her tippy toes. Watching someone play an instrument gives so much more, you hear the instrument so much more, Frank, his lovely partner Marjorie, me, Mike, Ulrika and everyone is having a great time. Sweet obscenity. Lost in her perfume.
I'm back home again. Just had a crab dinner by myself. All alone, just two cats running around, one chasing the other, fur is flying. Ulrika is at a Christmas party with her office, wearing a dress for the first time that I bought for her. "We are not having fancy dinners enough for this dress" she says. Some day, I will show her. I'm glad it gets used. It's a brown crab, bigger than the blue crabs, more meat in the shield, very thick front claws, the salty umami packed meat is delicious, pairs well with Belgian dark sweet ales. And there's Luna playing in Brooklyn again. Memories that don't fade, it was two very interesting nights.
I asked Dean if I could film the Brooklyns shows and he said "yes, do whatever you want as long as you are not up on stage". I quickly got equipment and tried to learn how to use it. I was going to use four cameras plus some occasional help from Ulrika too. I knew it was going to be a nightmare to edit it all afterwards, but I really wanted to try, see what could come out of it. And I did it. But I was nervous, didn't have any appetite. The band let me in during soundcheck so I could set up the cameras. I had one camera on the front side balcony, just above Britta. It was in the VIP section, close to the backstage room. And I had cameras in the back and behind the stage, small cheap ones that were probably not even gonna record any usable material.
The crab is finished, I want to hear Luna loud, I need it, I really need it.
On the balcony a woman said she loved my man bun. Of course I thought she was joking.
Sean is doing his song, I get some beautiful shots at the end when he's playing his long solo. He turns around, and walks the few steps towards the others, facing them, playing, those sounds, I take a deep breath, for the first time of the day, my shoulders sink down, I can take deep breath, the worries goes away, I don't see them anymore. He is looking at the others, I am looking at him. And I listen.
“There's something going on”, people are shouting. They are playing a heavy, fast Speedbumps. Always a treat. Something to move your feet to, your toes, your brain cells are left out, the knees are in, the hips, the chest, the shoulders too, the head, but not the brain. I like to move my ankles when I dance.
We met Frank and Marjorie in the line before the show started. I was filming and I was nervous, we got back from our meal, Mike and Ulrika talked instead of me. Dean & Britta came out and said hello, they had finished their soundcheck, and were going to have dinner with Dean's younger brother.
My grandmother didn't remember us. But she remembers my mother. “My little girl”, she said, staring into the empty space in front of her. Her eyes looking just grey, shiny and grey. Someone from the staff had painted her fingernails. Her hair was grey, short and curly like always. She is still much smarter than the rest of us. Commenting the things we say, answering, but she's answering other questions, more relevant questions. Questions than mean something to her. Her little girl. My mother.
I continue to watch the film. The light is pretty horrible, blue, or dark red, not good at all for cheap cameras, Britta is singing One Fine Summer Morning, the sound and light is very OK. Sean is having a sip of his Lagunitas Pils, they all are actually. The mood is good. A bit shaky, but the mood is good. It's Luna after all.
On the balcony a woman said she loved my man bun. Of course I thought she was joking. "You're making fun of me", I said. "No, I love it so much", she said. Up on the balcony. Where I left my camera. She was going to keep an eye in it. And I liked her, even though she was a little bit drunk. Who isn't, these days. I pressed REC on my camera and got down to where Ulrika, Frank and the others were. And then the show started. I knew things could happen.
Suddenly Sean's guitar just stops working during his solo on Tracy I Love You. “We're powerless”, someone says. These things only make Luna shows even better. Or at least they make things more relaxed. Sometimes they loosen things up. And the shows gets better.
Something to move your feet to, your toes, your brain cells are left out, the knees are in, the hips, the chest, the shoulders too, the head, but not the brain.
It's just pure happiness, still happiness, to watch this band. They're good to hear, but even better to watch. The power is on again. And they play the end part of Tracy I Love You. It's brilliant. Totally brilliant. “That was professional”, Frank says. “It's like a dual wedding”, Sean says. “I don't remember how to play Ihop”, Dean says. People always wants to hear things they don't play. Fascinating. And they tease us. Starts to play the intro. But no. No no no. I think Dean hates it. They start to talk about Dunkin' Donuts instead. It's Luna. There's talk. This time, I prefer Deans next words. “All of a sudden.”
I went into the kitchen and cooked up a steak. I mean, I'm alone, why not cook up a steak. Grab a bottle from the shelf, salt and pepper squid, steak, squid, with a bottle of red wine. All of a sudden. The girl of my dreams. She never asks. She always screams.
But I'm here, in Brooklyn again. I'm in Brooklyn again. Dean is tuning his guitar. It takes a while. “Well the week is too short, but they days are so long.”
The other day I couldn't help myself from writing a message to Britta. How are you doing, I said, haven't heard much from you lately, are you alright? I asked. She replied and said they are fine, they are laying low after the election, and they are moving, moving in Los Angeles is like moving from London to Liverpool. I've never been in Los Angeles, I want to see it, but I don't know if I ever will. I like Bangkok, I like Rome, I don't like New York very much, I don't like London either. I like Stockholm, very very much. I always cry when I get back here, with the bus from the airport to where we live. It's not my home town, but it's where I feel at home.
Like seeing Luna play. They are playing. Dean with his plastic slide, or metallic, don't know, it just doesn't matter, I like watching Sean moving his head, playing chords, playing whatever he wants, and I hear Britta playing, Lee too of course, it's probably Freaking and Peaking, I don't know, it's just so good, sometimes I don't care what songs they play, I say stare, I just listen, just listening.
I like Stockholm, very very much. I always cry when I get back here, with the bus from the airport to where we live. It's not my home town, but it's where I feel at home.
“They need, time off, for good behaviour.” Dean is doing what he's doing best again. I'm so glad he never got a job as a banker or anything. Dean as a banker. He would be good at it. Keeping things in order. I mean, he gets the band from here to there.
“I don't know what's so funny about indeed”, Sean says. And then they play Friendly Advice. There is a black cat approaching me from behind. He is good. The hose. Slangen. And there is Rosie. Cover my face with Roses. That's the other cat, Rosemary, I call her The Rose. She is a cool cat. The coolest cat on the planet. And Britta is jumping again, it's Friendly Advice. Dean is just playing, Sean is moving around, waving, waving shaking, the light flashes, the blue light the cameras hardly get. This is when music doesn't get any better. Thank you, thank you friends and neighbours.
My brother is feeling better nowadays, he is the more talkative of us, but we are different. I'm searching my notes, and I see the word brother 15 times. I keep mentioning my brother in the notes. But I never mention him. 15 times. My brother told me "how is it even possible to NOT have a police report on you?". He doesn't get it. "What if someone is saying something shitty" he says, "what do you do?". I don't do anything, run away.
I keep staring at Dean. I sent a picture of the crab to my brother, while Dean is playing one of his glorious, wonderful solos, lifting his guitar, high, shaking his head, and my brother is texting me back that he loves those crabs, he eats probably 100 brown crabs each year, a lot of them, and he says “maybe that's why I'm so stupid”. It's my brother. He might not be like me, not like others, but he is my brother. I'm glad he is alive, I'm glad my father is alive, they shouldn't be I guess, my brother got kids, they are happy, Dean and the band, they are happy too, Frank, Mike, Ulrika, Marjorie. My shoulders are low, relaxed, it's just such a good night. It's blurry. And the band get on stage again. And Dean is teasing us again with Ihop. So funny. “Get the record when you get home.”
It's Blue Thunder again. Ulrika is still at her party, with her blue dress. I'm sure she looks good in it. I'm alone, happy, free, I drive so far away. It's the end of the show. Everyone is happy, talking about the show, like always. I plan to grab my gear. The camera on the balcony is gone. Just gone. I ask the nice woman, and she is devastated. “Someone took your camera”, she says.
I'm relaxed. I knew it could happen. I don't blame her. “He said he was Dean's brother”, she continues. This is weird, I thought. Very weird. Didn't Dean go and have dinner with his younger brother before the show? The backstage door is open and I go inside, I ask for Dean and he comes up to me. I say “someone says that your brother took my camera”. He looks at me, then he picks up his phone. Time passes and I meet them a little later, Dean and his brother, giving me the camera back. I like Dean's brother. He is a cool guy. What a memorable night!