The show was billed as “eels with strings”, and it featured cigar-smoking singer/songwriter e, two backing musicians on various instruments, and a string quartet. The setting was perfect for their quiet songs of heartache and loss, with a bit of hope mixed in for good measure.
What we didn’t count on was the idiot drunken fratboy that set next to us the entire time.
I first noticed this guy (let’s call him Poopteeth) when he squeezed past us to go to the bathroom/pound more beer before the show. This routine quickly grew familiar as Poopteeth stepped on our toes and knocked into our knees approximately 87 times throughout the performance. He also had the intelligence to light up a cigarrette during the show, regardless that Minneapolis is completely smoke-free. He asked Paul (who was seated next to him) if it bothered him, and Paul said, “No, but the ushers are going to be all over you in a second.” Poopteeth simply looked blankly back at Paul, until sure enough, the ushers descended on him like fat hicks swarming a turkey carcass at the State Fair.
The dynamic between Paul and Poopteeth was actually quite funny throughout the evening. Poopteeth took quite a liking to him, and attempted to keep an open dialogue with him during the show. Troublingly, Poopteeth continued to insist that Paul take a sip of his beer, which was regularly declined. Why it was so important to him that the stranger next to him share his beer is completely beyond me, perhaps because he was legally retarded.
Most annoying, however, were his confounding shouts of approval throughout the night. Initially, he would listen attentively to the songs, and then whoop unnecessarily loud at the conclusion. Soon enough, this discipline proved too much for Poopteeth to manage, and he quickly began to shout at all times. His affirmation of choice was the bizarre, “Do it, Doug!” It is important to note that there is nobody named Doug in the band.
This continued on like this for the remainder of the show. Poopteeth, possibly unaware of the sheer volume of his voice, shouting at all times. When he began requesting “Novocaine for the Soul” (eels’ lone pop hit), we just figured he was some idiot who didn’t even know the band. But soon enough, he was shouting belligerantly for “Susan’s House”, an obscure 1996 track, which confused us all the more. He shouted for it with such drunken intensity that Paul noted that he shuddered to think what might have happened had the song actually been played.
Now, I still fear that all my descriptions of the evening aren’t doing justice to what actually occured, so I have an assignment for you –
1. Download this, it’s a live recording of a song that was performed at our show called Dead of Winter.
2. As you’re listening to this quiet, touching song, put yourself in my position. This is a song about his mother dying of cancer, and I was incredibly moved by the performance, particularly in light of my own mother’s breast cancer.
3. Invite a particularly annoying acquaintance to sit next to you and shout unrelated messages at the top of his lungs:
“Do it, Doug!”
“FRENCH TOAST!!! WHOOOOOOOO!”
4. Share a lukewarm can of beer with this person.
There you have it, the eels concert experience!