I think Nick and I had a, “We were there when” moment recently when we drove down to Wilmington, Delaware, to see one of my favorite bands, Lightning Love. I fell in love with Lightning Love on the spot when I heard them playing on State Street in Ann Arbor during a “Welcome Students” event the first day I was in graduate school in 2009. Since then I have seen them perform a couple of times around Metro Detroit, and was excited to see they were doing a short East Coast tour. I was less excited to learn they were playing the World Café Live in Wilmington, which required renting a car and a 30-minute drive. But after recently driving three hours to attend a show in Washington DC, we relented and made a car reservation.
Apparently, a lot of people were less than excited by the drive, because Nick and I arrived to a room of empty tables with just ten other people, half of whom were members of performing bands. I strongly suspect we were the ONLY people to purchase advanced tickets, at the steep cost of $7 each.
But being in an empty room with one of your favorite bands isn’t all bad. We bought their latest CD and made conversation with singer and keyboardist Leah Diehl, who was incredibly gracious; overall, it was a surreal experience. Moreover, I shook hands with Lightning Love’s brooding and seraphic guitarist, Ben Collins.
Collins has perfect peaches and cream skin (all of Lightning Love does actually), and blond hair swept back in a modest pompadour. Never mind the fact that he is an indie-rocker playing shows around the country and generally leading a life that to all outsiders is the epitome of cool. Never mind that Ben Collins is a decade younger than I am with a fan base of twee girls in tank tops. Looking at him, I instantly wished I could play guitar (rather than just learning). I desperately wanted to be able to talk to him about anything beyond, “gee, you’re really cute” or “no really, I am interesting, I promise” or “can I buy you a drink and ply you with alcohol?” “Yeah, it is hot in here, you should take your shirt off.”
With debauched visions dancing in my head, we took seats near the rear of the venue. I realized that Ben Collins’ intense eyes were fixed on me. I returned the stare, trying to parse the telepathic message he was telling me. Perfect lips opened to form words, and I leaned forward,
And then he said,
“Can we get a little more bass?” We were sitting directly in front of the soundboard.
Whatever. So I won’t be giving up my posh Rittenhouse life to hop into the back of a van to become an indie-rock groupie. But when Lightning Love plays Coachella, or SXSW, or is the musical guest on SNL, Nick and I will be able to say, “We saw them when…”