Saturday, February 02, 2008

Band of Horses and an Open Letter to Snow

Dear Snow:

There’s no easy way for me to say this. Wait, yes there is: I hate you. As Ugly Kid Joe once so eloquently sang, I hate everything about you. There’s a reason dogs urinate on you, plows sweep you away into back alleys, and everyone south of Morehead, Minnesota views you as a slushy pain in the ass. Crazy skiers, snowboarders, and ESPN X-Games executives and sponsors excepted, nobody likes you. I’m also starting to despise your bastard cousins Sleet and Hail.

Don’t act so surprised; we both know things were coming to this. Like Fredo betraying his brother Michael in The Godfather II, we’re past the point of reconciliation, forgiveness, or understanding. All that’s left is raging, indescribable, Baldwin vs. Bassinger loathing.

Sure we’ve had some good times over the years. You managed to get a good number of school days cancelled for me, and I’ll never forget wadding you up into little icy balls of mayhem and hurling them at my father as he begged me to quit screwing around and start shoveling.

But then, on January 31, 2008, the day of the Band of Horses concert in St.Louis, you decided to turn my fair city into Hoth. Of course many St. Louisians responded in typical snow-mania fashion: grocery stores were violently plundered, canned goods thrown into shopping carts with merciless haste and venom, the local stations began running dramatic and sinister “Winter Storm 2008” music and taglines, and drivers in armored SUVs tooled down the highways and byways as if they were leading the siege of Vicksburg.

As I sat in my cubicle and watched you fall steadily to the ground, I noticed you accumulating like the snotty brat you are in alarming fashion. Even so, I knew that nothing was going to deter me from seeing Band of Horses. After all, I’d endured much more treacherous weather in the name of the concert-going experience. I’d learned how to handle nasty weather with a good degree of patience and perspective; three consecutive days spent in line for Bob Dylan shows with freezing rain, below-freezing temperatures, and a whole army of Dylanphiles discussing everything from Dylan’s hats to Dylan’s shoes to Dylan’s role in the late 1990s economic boom have that effect.

Yet a strange thing happened when I began driving on you. My quasi-reliable General Motors vehicle slipped and skidded a little, then a little more, and then a lot. Like Sasha Cohen on ice at the Olympics, my car was wobbly, shaky, and clearly a head case. But for the grace of front-wheel drive did I make it home without hitting an abutment or being steamrolled by those pesky jumbo SUVs.

I didn’t make it the concert; to drive on you would clearly be tempting the cruel fates of a car insurance deductible and towing costs a little too much. I’m assuming the show went on as scheduled and was probably outstanding; nothing online indicates the show was cancelled. I can only imagine that hearing Band of Horses live is far better than listening to either Everything All the Time or Cease To Begin or the Ford commercial that features the song “Funeral.” Now, if St. Louis music trends hold true, the next time the band hits St. Louis, they’ll be opening for a more-established act in a massive, impersonal amphitheatre.

Don’t tell me this shows that I demonstrated good judgment or common sense; that’s no consolation. Even if the concert would have been cancelled, you simultaneously ruined my plans and made me look like a total chickenshit. A few years ago, nothing short of the skies opening and Jesus himself descending to earth, Liar by the Jesus Lizard blasting from his iPod, would have prevented me from missing a St. Louis concert by one of “my” bands. And even then I would have strongly considered attending the performance and dealing with that little apocalypse thing later.

Snow, you and I are no longer on speaking terms. Like Michael Corleone dealing with Fredo, I want advance notice when you’ll be coming around, so I can make sure I’m in a different part of town. And when Band of Horses returns to the STL in a couple years and is opening for Once Forgotten But Now Suddenly Relevant And Respected Dinosaur Act at the St. Louis Enormo-Dome, it won’t make up for missing this show.

Fix you good,


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