'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,

the Melissa Ferrick concert

I'm not a Melissa Ferrick fan; I'd barely heard any of her stuff before seeing her at the Ark Sunday night (thanks, squirrleykat). So I was, unlike seemingly most of the audience, not predisposed to love her performance. As it turned out, my favorite part of the evening was the line to get in.

As many of you know, the queue for the Ark forms curbside up Main Street, with a rope maintaining a pathway for pedestrians and window shoppers. Before arriving I hadn't thought of the fact that I would be joining a few hundred dykes lining up there. It was fun to be in such a group again, and they were entertaining to watch. More entertaining, though, was watching other people encountering the line.

Most of Ann Arbor, bless its (overrated) heart, doesn't blink an eye at lesbians, even en masse, but this line-up of mostly young toughs and their girlfriends did seem to get to, say, certain heterosexual undergraduate couples (particularly the women in 'em---I saw some lips curled in disgust on a few of those). The best part, though, was when a family (not "family") cluster would be strolling by, with, say, Grandpa and Grandma and the three grandchildren, and Grandma and one of the kids talking and the other kids running a little crazy and Grandpa, walking alone at the back, making it past a good 50 or 60 tricked-out dykes before noticing. I could see on the face the moment it would dawn on one of these poor folks, and the vague surprise and recognition would become increasing discomfort as he/she had to walk by a coupla hundred more. There were also people stopped on the street in their vehicles, looking out the open windows and sometimes double-taking, sometimes grinning, and probably in a lot of cases wondering who was playing tonight to draw that particular audience.

Unfortunately, Melissa left a lot to be desired, at least for me. Maybe it was how neurotic she clearly is, and how neurosis-as-art has lost whatever appeal it may have once had for me, at least for now. The woman plays some cool stuff on her guitar and all, but the sensibility of her songs is not one of the many cups of (folk) tea I enjoy. And the lyrics are far from nuanced in layers of meaning---for me a little linguistic dexterity can make up for a lot.

The pièce de résistance for which, she told us repeatedly, we'd have to wait until the end of the night was "Drive," a number that, in this performance, was mostly a monologue-over-chord-changes about sex and how she pretty much wants her partner to let her take care of her own needs. (In face she claimed to be giving the audience a valuable lesson in how to please your woman, consisting mostly of "Christ, don't move or talk or do anything to interfere with my masturbation.") It's hard to say whether that "song" would have alienated me had she not lost me long before that point, but I expect it might have.

She did make some reference, repeated several times, to wanting to spend forever right here between these/her hips, implying that she herself wants to be involved more directly in pleasing her partner. My hang-up with that one, though, was the word "hips," especially as it was repeated often enough for me to think on it a little. Between hips? I dunno. Doesn't seem right. "Between these hips" to me calls up, first, being between the hip(s) of one person and the hip(s) of another. Think that's what she meant? I may have to e-mail her now. I'd thought she was going for having her head/face at another's, uh, pelvic region (between thighs). (Maybe for Ferrick where she is isn't where her head is. Hmmm.) The other place that's between hips---between one person's hips---is internal, for sure, and just as likely to be a spot in the digestive system as in the reproductive.

Yeah, I'm quibbling with the woman. At least she wasn't that super-sincere lesbian style; enforced reverence is harder to take than the straightforward unsubtle pretension of unhealthy psychology to Cool, particularly when the latter involves some fancy guitar work.

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