K introduced me to the Indelicates a few months before we found out they would be in town. K and I had just gotten back on speaking terms and decided to go. We arrived about forty-five minutes early for fear that we'd have to fight for space and found the bar, the Swamp, deserted except for us. It was muggy, hot and miserable inside (they don't have AC in Germany) the tiny bar and so we ordered gin and tonics as a folk remedy. Too soon it was packed and even more unbearable.
The opening bands played their sets. The first, the No Goes, were tolerable and the second, Lily Rae, commented to the crowd: "This is such a pleasant change from England. You're all so nice to me. Maybe it's just because you can all smoke inside here."
Then the headliners took the stage. The Indelicates are a brother and sister duo, British band; their names really are Simon and Julia Indelicate. If we're talking genres, you'd definitely throw them in with the indie lot. Ironically, almost all of their songs are tongue-in-cheek references to indie music and culture, the best example (and the one that made them famous) is "Waitingfor Pete Doherty To Die" ("cut the words into your chest - bleed for days - stumble home in a haze... someone come and tap this pain - I haven't cried since Kurt Cobain...").
Anyway, the concert was amazing and they played K and my favorite songs. The only downside was that Julia was losing her voice and so her solos occasionally fell into squeaks. Julia kept speaking to the crowd in German, which K thought was adorable.
Afterwards the bar emptied out pretty quickly. K and I asked for a picture with the band. While we waited I talked to Lily.
She was selling albums, Vinyls oddly enough. "Yeah," she said, "My distributor said I could either use CDs or Vinyl and I thought 'Vinyl! That's classy.' And then I realized no one has record players anymore..."
I didn't have a record player, but bought an album anyway and gave her what I thought was a ten, double the price, as a kind gesture. The next morning I looked in my wallet and realized that I'd accidentally given her a fifty, which explains the astonishment and reluctance in her acceptance. She had better become the next Ani Difranco so this album pays for itself later.
"What about you?" she asked me. "Are you a musician?"
"No. I'm musically impaired."
"What do you do?"
"I like to pretend that I'm a writer."
"If you say it that way that's a good sign you're legit."
Several drinks and conversations later, the band was packing up equipment to go to Stuttgart for tomorrow's performance. K slipped off to chat with Lily and one of the other band members, Al. Julia sat down next to me.
"I'm exhausted. Mind if I sit here?" she asked.
"Not at all. I was impressed that you and Simon kept speaking to the crowd in German."
"I can speak German. Where are you from?"
"The States. Sorry."
"I've just become accustomed to saying 'America - sorry.'"
"Hey, I love America. I want my fucking green card."
We chatted a bit longer and I asked her about how they got started as a band. "Well I was in this girl band while Simon was still in school. We both have masters degrees, actually. Anyway, he got started in poetry slams -- we both did, really, but Simon ruled the stage. We decided to get together and write songs and ended up writing 'Waiting for Pete Doherty to Die' which got us noticed by Neil Gaiman. Do you know Neil Gaiman?"
"I love Neil Gaiman!" I shouted, nearly falling on the floor.
"You know he's going out with Amanda Palmer? Well, anyway, long story short, people noticed us, we wrote and album and here we are."
Okay, that's the gist of it, but I was very drunk by that time and so the conversation is a bit muddled. And I thought it was funny talking to a musician I adored and then realizing she reminded me of a lot of people I have known: talkers. Granted, she's an entertaining talker, but I realized that I was only making up about a quarter of our conversation.
Very soon the band was on the road. As we walked back, K said, "You were hitting on Julia Indelicate."
"I was not."
"Yeah you were. Al, Lily and I were watching the whole time. They agreed."
"I was not hitting on Julia Indelicate."
"Oh, come on," K teased. "Let's see, thirty-year old traveling poet-musician. She's your type."
"Oh what is this?"
"She isn't even that pretty."
"She is too."
K glared at me. "You were hitting on Julia Indelicate!" she said and then the evening went downhill. And just like that, weeks and patient conversation came undone, because of an indie, British musician. Pete Doherty would have been proud.