Ghost Mice – Knoxville – The Tomato Head, TN – 2007-02-26

Ghost Mice
Where: Knoxville – The Tomato Head, TN.

When: 2007-02-26

Though I would happily indulge in many of their contemporaries without reservation, I had always been a bit weary of the folk-punk group Ghost Mice. Many reasons factored into this: ideologies and supplementary lyrics far too brazenly idealistic, to the point of not just showing an ignorance of but an aversion towards the real world; recordings too meager, too austere; for “punk,” not nearly as scathing and abrasive as I preferred; so on and so forth. In fact, if the show hadn’t been free, I probably wouldn’t have bothered at all.

This is where I should place a few sentences explicating the happiness resulting from my decision to go to the event, and blah blah blah; that’s far too clichéd, and I’ll spare you as much.

The show took place in a relatively small restaurant which had removed a few tables to create a rather limited performance space. The opening acts, though not in want of spirit or stamina, left me tepid, fidgeting in my seat and eagerly awaiting some sort of deliverance from my own lack of zest. Finally, after nearly two hours, the two individuals who comprise Ghost Mice stepped up front and assumed the roles of performers. I rose and trudged forward through a small assembly of people to secure an acceptable spot for viewing and listening.

No amps or any form of electrical devices at all were utilized for the performance – as the duo played, I got the impression that such technology could do no more than dilute their message of modesty and endorsement of nature. Further, observing the two play with, as they did for the bulk of the show, just a guitar, violin, and their own two buoyant, un-mic’d voices set my mind racing all around the world: I imagined their songs played alongside highways at night, under bridges as a means of escape from adverse weather, in a picturesque field surrounded by flourishing flora and fauna, and in a dank alley, the capillary of a bustling metropolis blocked temporarily by the sweet acoustic idylls of two daydreaming entities. Limitless locales, performances bound not by the trifles of electricity but rather one’s own vitality.

To be so close to these people as their voices resonate such benevolence and hope is to view the world from the inside of a snow globe. If but for only an hour or so the surrounding crowd and I existed in a location where luck, hope, and perseverance truly do have the power to deliver us from oppression and the various corruptions of the world. To view the band at the height of an emotional ascension smiling with such joviality as though they had never before attempted the act is to require an entirely new appraisal of their oeuvre. After witnessing such, an overwhelming sense of sincerity and genuineness envelopes each brisk fist pump, emotive shout, and chord change.

Is a show a success when it brings upon a wholly different appreciation for a group? I believe so.