I visited Harlow's Tuesday night for another show. Last week, it was Yo La Tengo; this time out, I wanted to check out Philadelphia's Matt Pond PA.
When I arived at Harlow's around 10:30, the band was about two songs into its set and the club ... well, the club was, predictably, not that full.
Although, actually, my first thought on seeing the approximately 40 to 50 people who had turned out was - and maybe this is sad - "Hey, not a bad turnout for Sacramento on a Tuesday night!"
My second thought was: "Why are so many people sitting down?"
Yes, Harlow's has all those nice seats and tables, but this is an indie rock show! Back in the day (when I had to trudge four miles in the snow, wearing threadbare Converse, to get to a show), one always stood to properly show some respect.
There's no sitting in rock 'n' roll, kids.
Anyhoo. The band delivered a really good, rockin' set - the kind that makes you tap your foot and shake your hips despite any better judgment about how such activities might actually make you look in public.
Afterward, I bought a CD and then joined my husband at the bar to talk to a friend. As I was standing there, clutching my CD, Matt Pond (the singer, not the entire band) walked by, noticed the CD and came over. He thanked us for coming out - in fact, he bought both my husband and I a beer and chatted with us for a while about books, touring and favorite bands. Still, I could tell he was a bit bothered by the show's relatively sparse attendance.
Looking at the room through his eyes, I understood how he could feel maybe a wee bit bummed out but, well ....
"It's not you, it's us," I said.
And then, I felt kind of stupid and guilty - how many times have I said that to a touring band that visits Sacramento? I hated to have to say it to a band that Rolling Stone magazine dubbed one of its "top 10 bands to watch" in 2005.
But really, it is us.
If Yo La Tengo can't sell out Harlow's, then it's no surprise that an up-and-coming indie band on a small label can't, either - even if they do really well in markets such as Portland, Seattle and San Francisco.
Still, those of us who did show up could at least get up off of our collective duffs and stand there like we meant it.