A Night to Remember with My Second Favorite Band: Trashcan Sinatras
There’s no way I can even attempt to write about my great love and affection for the Trashcan Sinatras in just one story! I was instantly smitten with them upon the release of their outstanding debut, Cake, back in 1990.
I have seen them perform live several times here in Austin and met them a couple of times.
At the end of October they returned to Austin, playing downtown at 3Ten ACL Live. One of the ticketing options included a VIP pass where the ticket-holder was given the opportunity to hang out with the band, get autographs and photos, hear them warm-up, and (in my case) babble about my love of a-ha.
I arrived solo in a sparkly silver outfit, the introvert in me rather nervous but the determined part of me knowing this was a special night (for me, anyway). John and Paul were quietly milling about at the front of the stage, while Frank was still in the back.
After acknowledging what a long-time fan of theirs I was, adding that they were my second favorite band, John and Paul inquired who my favorite was. Y'all know my answer! So I ended up talking about a-ha! I’m rolling my eyes at myself as I type this. Even worse: I forgot to tell them that they are my favorite lyricists!
I don’t use the word “surreal” often, but it was pretty surreal to talk to one of my all-time favorite guitarists about Scoundrel Days!
I also told them that I wish I could travel back in time to their Arizona show in 2004. Their manager, Ben, overheard me and recalled the venue! I told them they were AMAZING and they should re-visit their performance on YouTube.
Disclosure: I can only imagine how random I must have come across! Oh, let me talk to you about ANOTHER band and some obscure show you have probably long forgotten. I’m not normal. Also, anyone who knows me knows that I ABHOR pictures of myself. It is a testament to how divine I think Frank Reader is that I am posting something that includes me.
Eventually Frank meandered out. Each of the guys is pretty shy by nature but all were sweet, patient, and friendly. I told Frank that I think he has a voice on par with Morten’s. I certainly meant it as a compliment and can only hope it came out that way. I did not confess to Frank that I think he is really handsome. (He is!)
At some point, Paul asked me what songs of theirs I like. I sort of panicked, not having a ready answer. I told him that one of my very favorites was their cover of “Alfie,” but I knew they wouldn’t play that one. (Paul concurred.)
I started babbling out other songs, eventually saying: “Oh, I really like ‘Should I Pray’.” Ding, ding, ding! I saw his facial expression change, knowing I had landed on a worthy choice. He and John sauntered up to the stage and quietly began playing my request.
Now here’s the truth: I didn’t realize what Paul was really asking me. He wasn’t just inquiring about TCS songs that I liked. He was actually asking me for a request! The TCS lads only played ONE warm-up song. The “VIP” group was tiny, but they chose me to make the request. I didn’t realize what had transpired until the song was over and they walked off the stage.
I’m not very “VIP.” I’m just a random middle-aged chick living in Austin. But three of my favorite musicians in the whole world (from Scotland, no less) who I have been listening to since 1990 picked me to choose one song for them to play. Paul and John quietly played the recognizable melody while Frank wrapped up a conversation with a couple of VIP-ers, eventually making his way up to the stage to join Paul and John.
It was a magical moment — what a lucky girl! The song itself is lovely upon first hearing it, but I think its beauty grows with each additional listen. It’s an exquisite song!
The show officially began about 45 minutes later. As I sat in the front row, I soaked up all the tunes and Frank’s incredible voice, alternating between sexy and angelic in a way that no one else is capable of doing.
“Easy on the Eye” really stood out! This is gorgeous, sophisticated, and contains their trademark witty lyrics. This is the type of song that highlights Frank’s voice in a way that proves he is one of the best vocalists out there!
It’s not uncommon for me to cry or get teary-eyed at a great concert. I assumed that I would at some point during the night, but was caught off guard by the song: “Circling the Circumference.” Over the years I have had a difficult time identifying which song of theirs I first heard, the song that initially captured my attention and heart.
They started playing this one and I had this deep memory, this knowing: THIS is the first song I ever heard by the Trashcan Sinatras! And the tears came. Mind you, it’s not even in my top 10 favorite TCS songs, but it’s significant to my musical story and as the song played I had that awareness on a deep level.
The show was everything I had hoped it would be. Jumping off with “How Can I Apply” — what a swoony start! Unsurprisingly, some fantastic guitar-work throughout, particularly on “All the Dark Horses.”
I really appreciated that the guys explored their entire catalog. I was thrilled to hear so many tunes from I’ve Seen Everything. I realized later that I missed the achingly beautiful “Usually” and “Leave Me Alone,” but was very pleased with the broad array of songs chosen.
“All Night” and “Best Days on Earth” are new favorites! “All Night” with its glorious horns, slight nod to disco, and vibrant clapping is an atypical song for the TCS lads, but so much fun! Am I the only one who melts every time Frank croons “c’mon, DJ, earn your money?”
I was sitting next to a random guy throughout the concert. At the end of the show he struck up a brief conversation with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow 100% of what he was saying. I pieced together that he had known the guys back in New York for a time, that he was at least as big a fan as me, and that he was profoundly moved by their music.
He appeared to be crying. Looking back on it now, I wish I had stayed a little longer to chat with him, but I think I sort of excused myself to head out. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for having that brief interaction with another massive TCS fan.
The Trashcan Sinatras are SO talented! It’s a mystery why they only had some peripheral college radio fame many years ago. In fact, I’ll have more Trashcan Sinatras music to share in a future story because they are a VERY special group to me, but I wanted to document a snippet of this show while it was fresh in my mind.
And finally, I wanted to honor a dear friend’s birthday with his musical dedication, the apt “Should I Pray.” As one of my “creative friends” from my UT days and a fellow music lover, David Earl is truly a special guy!
Thank you for reading this story
I know you are busy and have lots of ways you could be spending your time. You using your time to read my work means the world to me — my sincerest thanks!