“It’s going to be a roomful of girls!” Henry shuddered when I broached the subject of going to see Eisley. This made me roll my eyes. I mean, probably only 95% girls, Henry. Get a fucking grip. Plus, he’s totally annoyed by the fact that I follow every single member of the Eisley family on Instagram and am always trying to make him look at their babies. (THEY HAVE THE CUTEST BABIES.) I’m just obsessed all around. What’s the point in hiding it.
Besides, I knew after dragging Henry to three concerts in three days (one of which was 6 hours across the state), that he was definitely not going to want to accompany me to another show a few weeks later.
I have been a fan of Eisley since 2004, when reading a review of their EP prompted me to download (illegally, I’m sure, but I ended up buying the physical CD shortly after) some of their songs, which I put on a mix CD that would accompany me on a failed trip to Cincinnati. One of those songs was “I Wasn’t Prepared.” It was definitely love at first listen. Followed by 87 more listens.
I kind of stopped following them for awhile though after I got my then-friend Alisha into them and she totally played them out. After awhile, Eisley made me think of her and our failed friendship and that was just no good. But somehow a few years ago, Chooch heard some songs from their album “The Valley” and he became obsessed, to the point where he made me put their song “Sad” on his roller rink birthday party mix. And then I was reminded how much I once loved them and fell right back into the Eisley rabbit hole.
Anyway, the point to this story is that in ten years, I have not once had the opportunity to see them live, so I was going with or without Henry. And I was fully prepared to go solo, but then Janna said she would go even though she didn’t know anything about them.
Their show was last night at the Smiling Moose, which is kind of an awkward place to see a show since it’s relatively the size of a giant’s shoe box. But the bar itself is fantastic and has beer-like things that I am able to palate, plus really good vegetarian sandwich selections. For these reasons, Janna and I got down there a little early so we could chug beer-like things and stuff our faces with sliders while I tried to prime her on the members of Eisley, explaining that they’re a family and that Sherri is the one with pink hair and she’s my favorite so don’t you dare ever in a million years say anything even slightly disparaging about her because her entire being radiates joy and hope. JUST STFU JANNA.
(Honestly, Janna wasn’t even saying anything. How could she, with my incessant rambling? I never get to talk about music, so when someone gives me even the tiniest opening, I start talking like a 16-year-old auctioneer.)
Anyway, it’s a good thing I’m an old hag who the bartender didn’t card, because I realized when we got in line to go upstairs for the show that I only had my expired license. WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH ME AND LICENSES LATELY. Oh well, I wasn’t planning on drinking anymore during the show anyway, so I didn’t lose any sleep over it when the bouncer at the door barked, “THIS IS EXPIRED. NO” and shooed me away with nothing more than a scowl and implied, “No 21+ bracelet for you, skank.”
The Smiling Moose is set up where there is no other way to get on the stage if you’re the performer other than WALKING THROUGH THE CROWD. No backstage. No escape hatch in the floor. No fireman’s pole from the ceiling. Totally awkward for bands, I’d imagine. It wasn’t too crowded at this point though, so the opening band—Merriment—didn’t have too much trouble breaking through the complacent hipster girls on their way to the front of the room.
Merriment is a fine band. It’s made up of the two youngest “Eisley” siblings: Christie and Collin DuPree. Just very pretty, calm and quiet music. And thank god for that otherwise we might not have been able to hear the guy next to Janna when he sniffed his hands with zeal and shouted, “MY HANDS SMELL LIKE SHAWARMA!”
“What?” his girlfriend shouted back.
“MY HANDS SMELL LIKE BEEF!” he shouted back, louder this time and in layman’s terms, alerting the attention of the two girls on the other side of him, as well as me and Janna.
“That’s a really random thing to say!” the girl next to him laughed, and we all cracked up because he just kept inhaling his entire palms, like he was trying to relive his dinner.
Just then, the current song ended and Christie DuPree said, “Wow, it’s so quiet in here.”
“I agree!” Beef Hands said. “I totally agree.” And we all started cracking up again. He looked like John Mayer a little bit, but younger, and now I can’t stop picturing him taking deep drags of his fingertips like Mary Katherine Gallagher: Beefy Pits Edition.
Meanwhile, three girls had pushed their way through the crowd and stopped right in front of me. The one was pretty tall and, after she glanced over her shoulder at me, she yelled to one of her shorter friends, “Switch places with me so I don’t block this girl’s view!”
WHAT. This shit never happens to me at shows. I generally wind up with, standing in front of me, the most inconsiderate douchebag who seemingly has a tophat of hair on his douchehead, so close that his natural stench wisps its way into my nostrils.
Anyway, those girls wound up moving further up before the end of Merriment’s set and were replaced by a tall boy and his girlfriend. The boy was similarly very concerned about impairing my view. He turned around at least 3 times to make sure I was still able to see OK and I was like, “Am I at a fucking Gino Vanelli show or what? Why is everyone being so polite!?”
Too bad Janna didn’t have the same experiences from where she was standing, hahaha.
About 20 minutes after Merriment finished their set, the house music went off and the crowd parted for Eisley. You’re going to be so shocked about what I have to say next:
I started to cry.
Like, when have I ever cried at a show before, right?
Of course I fucking cried. That’s what I do.
I don’t even know that I have it in me to formulate cohesive thoughts about last night. They were spectacular. And they were all sick! EVERY LAST ONE THEM HAD COLDS and they still sounded like angels. How is this possible? And Sherri just smiled and smiled and you know how sometimes you go and watch a band and think to yourself, “Wow, they hate this. They’re so fucking bored up there right now” and it’s so disappointing because if you wanted a flat performance, you’d have just played their CD in your car while driving through a cornfield? Well, Sherri exuded enough joy and passion through her smiles alone that it’s so obvious she belongs on a stage. And she has the best personality. Someone in the front row asked her a bottle of water that was sitting on the stage, so she took one out of the case and handed the rest over to the person.
“Now don’t be greedy!” she said in a faux-stern drawl. “Make sure the people in the back get some too!”
Janna was all pissed off because the couple in front of her who she hated got the last bottle.
GOD JANNA, GO DRINK FROM THE BATHROOM FAUCET IF YOU’RE THAT PARCHED!
One of my favorites: Mr. Moon!
Meanwhile, Beef Hands was having conniption fits next to Janna. He was jumping and dancing and “Wooooo!!!!!!!”ing through the whole show and it was SO NICE to see because most of the crowd seemed to just be standing around like upright logs. I really wished Henry would have been there to witness Beef Hands, since he apparently thinks Eisley is not for men.
They played “I Wasn’t Prepared” and I honestly lost it. So many memories.
Someone on Instagram posted a picture from last night and the caption said, “Heaven is probably a lot like seeing Eisley” and I’m going to go ahead and back that sentiment. Their talent is boundless. Stacy sounds like a siren and when Chauntelle sang Millstone, I was like “YESSSS!” because she rarely sings and her voice is just as much of a treasure as Stacy’s and Sherri’s. I hope they never stop making music.
Oh, and Janna is totally a fan now, so THERE people who assume I like shitty music. Sometimes my friends actually like what I like. RED LETTER DAY!