Teel and Jon and I go to a concert

This is a story of what happens when I get an idea that I think is really simple but ends up…well, let’s start at the beginning.

Last week was the opening of Ecotrust’s Sundown concert series in downtown Portland. I forget exactly how I figured this out, but I was probably at work trying to figure something out about Pacific Northwest nonprofits when I stumbled across their site and discovered that they were going to start the series off with a band I have heard a lot of and a lot about through the past year.

Typhoon, if you haven’t heard, is one of those “on-the-cusp” type bands that has been getting third-best track of 2011-type fame. Despite their talent, the dozen-or-so-of-them are an elusive act to see assembled outside of the Pacific Northwest. Meaning places like Chicago.

(See where this is going?)

I have two friends – both college housemates and both really solid guys – who are really into Typhoon.

Teel came to Oregon last summer to start his bike trip across the nation to share the love and humanity he had experienced in Africa. In the days before his departure, in order to calm his nerves, we walked around downtown McMinnville. He saw the Typhoon EP “Hunger and Thirst” in Ranch Records, said something about how a music video he had seen from these guys and how much he wanted to hear more of their stuff, and he bought the CD. Later, as we made the long drive out to Astoria as he anxiously waited to begin his epic quest of goodwill, we played through “Hunger and Thirst” twice.

Teel survived the cross-country trek, but he had left the “extra weight” of the CD with me. When I flew back to Chicago, he graciously picked me up at Midway Airport, but I am pretty sure the first words I heard out of his mouth were “welcome-back-where-is-the-CD?”. We listened to “Hunger and Thirst” on our way back to campus. Later, as Teel began to share his summer experience with the rest of us, he began by expressing himself through song, with a sound that was eerily Typhoon-like.

My other friend who is really into Typhoon is Jon. The story is a little less epic, other than Jon is a vinyl-collecting fiend with overall great taste in everything including and beyond music. Jon also has a Typhoon sticker on his laptop, and my backpack has a Typhoon pin thanks to Jon.

Earlier this year, Teel and Jon once heard that Typhoon was recording a live performance at Mississippi Studios over the weekend. They had already begun to pack their bags when they learned that Mississippi Studios is not in Mississippi but in Portland and hence not within a single day’s drive from Chicago. Again, as I mentioned, Typhoon is an elusive group that does not often perform outside the Pacific Northwest, much to the dismay of their nationwide fans.

All this is to say, I knew I had to go to this Typhoon concert in downtown Portland because I had a rare chance to hear great music, but I felt like I had to honor the commitment of my friends. Neither Teel, who is from Kansas and is playing the guitar for kids in Minnesota for the summer, nor Jon who is from Michigan and guiding whitewater raft tours in Colorado as we speak, have a chance to catch one of Typhoon’s Pacific Northwest shows.

So this was where my simple idea was hatched. I will go to the concert, take a picture of the show, then photoshop Teel and Jon into the picture, and then post it to Facebook for them to enjoy their fake-attendance. BRILLIANT.

This is Photoshop. It does not exist on my work computer.

Flaw #1 of the master plan was shortly uncovered when I realized my work computer did not have Photoshop. I pondered my dilemma for a little bit, soon realizing that what I did have access to at work was a color printer. One of those that never run of ink, thank goodness.

Teel and Jon, in case you were wondering, also met the executive director this day.

I figured – this should be simple enough, right? Bring some paper cut-outs of my friends to the concert, bring the camera, and then I can take a picture of “them” “at” the concert of the band they’ve being dying to see all year. Just like Photoshop.

And so I went to the concert. As the experimental pop group AU started the afternoon, and I navigated my way to the front corner to get in position for the best possible photo. Standing for about an hour beside the merchandise table, I eventually caved in and got a band t-shirt. Technical difficulties with the iPad-credit-card-reader led to conversation with the merchandise girl, who I told about my friends Teel and Jon and their passion for this band.

The neat thing about Portland is you can do stuff like holding paper cut-outs of your roommates at arms length and nobody gives you strange judgmental looks. (…I hope.)

Typhoon took the stage and rocked every song, including some new stuff that tickles the ears. I was really frustrated however, to find that all my photos were coming out blurry. Despite my superb position in the awkward front corner, I could only get the Teel and Jon in focus if Typhoon was impossible to make out, and vice versa. My great simple idea was falling apart quickly.

But then, the merchandise girl, seeing and understanding my antics, tapped me on the shoulder from behind. She had an idea for after the show.

What could it be, I absent-mindedly wondered.

I have various smiles – polite, joy, driver’s license, etc.. This is my “mischievous accomplishment” face.

Oh, I know, go backstage, find the lead singer, and put the paper-cut-outs of my friends-who-have-been-waiting-forever-to-see-him-live in his front shirt pocket and then take the picture. I wondered at this point if I had gone too far, but then remembered – they just about went to Mississippi.

So, that’s my story about an idea that seemed simple but became something else.

Oh, Teel and Jon – Kyle (who is a super good sport by the way) says he hopes the band will be coming through Chicago sometime this winter. That is hardly an official word, but hopefully you guys can go for realzies sometime soon. He’s rather, um, intrigued to meet both of you.

Teel and Jon and I go to a concert

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