Location: Nashville, TN
Listening to: a remake of the classic movie Footloose (so far the remake is nowhere near the quality of the original)
Mood: Permatired, but happy.
So it started around Tuesday or Wednesday, with some Facebook posts. Now that I think of it, my adventure to Venice started with a Facebook post too. So thanks, friends for planning exciting things, and posting on Facebook. Anyways, my friend Hannah posted saying she was driving to Asheville, North Carolina, to see a band called Imagine Dragons, and was looking for someone to buy an extra ticket since someone had dropped out. At first I was going to err on the side of caution since I’m trying to budget sensibly like an adult… but then I remembered that life is short so adventures ahead!
We piled into the car on Friday night and headed to Knoxville, where we stayed with a friend of Hannah’s. The adventure really kicked into gear as we headed east in the morning: turns out February in the Smoky Mountains is no joke.
Okay, I’m exaggerating. We only drove through the snow for an hour or so, and it wasn’t that bad. One of the few good things about snow in the South is that if people can get inside and avoid driving in it, they will. After a few flakes of snow the traffic noticeably thinned out and we were practically alone on the road. We proceeded with caution and made it to Asheville in the early afternoon, but of course the show wasn’t until 8pm so we had several hours to wander around the freezing, hippie city of Asheville.
I guess this is the part where I explain that Asheville has kind of a reputation as the Portland of the South. A friend who went to Warren Wilson, a nearby college with a working farm (actually, that already tells you something about Asheville) says “it’s like this little oasis of northern culture and attitudes in the middle of the south — you go about five feet outside of it and you’re with people that could be just as at home in West Virginia or Georgia but the city itself is just like this little pocket of northerners.” But “northerners” isn’t the world that a lot of people would choose… I think more like “hippies.” The industry is heavily tourism-based, there are a lot of cute hipster cafes and restaurants and as far as I can tell the city works to keep this reputation, drawing a young, liberal crowd from the nearby religious/conservative areas.
We had a whole afternoon to check out one hippie store after another (incense! handcrafted gloves from equador! a wall of anti-Romney stickers, now 40% off! a shop of beads including vintage ’40s beads and ones made from garlic skins and tobacco! a used bookstore! more incense! Grateful Dead fabric wall hangings! another used bookstore!) before something caught my eye: yet another tiny adorable cafe, this one called Dobrá Tea. Yeah, Dobra. Like Dobry Den, that thing I said all the time last semester. Dobra/dobry/dobre is Czech for ‘good,’ and turns out there’s a whole chain of Dobrá Caj, or Dobrá Tea, depending on the country. A taste of my home away from home! Except I had a Japanese tea and Hannah had a Chinese one.
We eventually had dinner and headed to the venue for the show. Everything was better than expected: the sound quality was great, one of the opening bands was stellar, and the band we came to see, Imagine Dragons, didn’t disappoint either.
If Passion Pit, MGMT, and the Killers had a child, it would sound like Imagine Dragons. Heartfelt lyrics, post-indie music, just a tiny hint of electronica, and a dash of hippie- definitely a good fit for Asheville’s attitude, and the crowd showed it: the singer said we were the loudest audience on this tour, including venues five times the size of ours. Here’s the song that left the biggest impression. It’s one of their singles but that means the crowd was pumped, with the gigantic drum resonating and everyone singing along… They’re definitely worth checking out.
We headed to another of Hannah’s friends’ house for the night and drove home this morning, a pleasant enough 5-hour drive. I definitely wouldn’t want to make the drive by myself, but given a carful of friends and a good reason, Asheville will see me again.
Muchos Gracias to Wes, Hannah, Morgan, Kendyl, Brynn, her brother, Karlyn, Jen, and Jen! Now, time to do the homework I put off this weekend…