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Iron and Whine

Last Thursday night, wahya_goingback and I drove up to the Orange Peel in Asheville to see Iron and Wine. I've had a good run of concerts these last few months - Wilco, Bon Iver, Flogging Molly, and now Iron and Wine, certainly near the top of the Must See List for both of us. We wound our way up into the almost-bare mountains of North Carolina, taking turns dj-ing on her iPod and my Zune, our hopes high for a great show.

We arrived uneventfully, and drove around looking for a place to park. Asheville neo-hippies were everywhere - every guy had a beard and scraggly hair, every girl had arm warmers and knitted accessores and piercings and tats. Finally we decided to park in the parking lot of a nearby appliance repair shop which was closed for the night.



We made our way into the Orange Peel. This place has got to be one of the best music clubs going in the southeast right now - great ambiance, several bars, good acoustics, a nice crowd up in the mountains. This show was obviously sold out, but packed in as we were, there really wasn't a bad spot in the whole joint.

Which is interesting, because as we tried to make an inroad into the crowd (leaving our spot by the merch table where someone bumped into us every few seconds), we were accosted by a preppier-looking chick, five dollar beer in hand, who leered over at us and said, "Are you two planning on standing there?" We had stopped briefly to survey the Road Ahead, and I informed her that we were trying to get closer to the stage. "Well, you need to move along," she sneered.  She was among a little knot of six or eight people. Not wanting to argue, we pressed on, only to be rebuffed. There may have been interstices somewhere in that crowd, but we weren't getting any farther without a crowbar. We parked ourselves to watch the show - just in front of Ms. Stay-Away-From-Us.

"No way. I KNOW you did not just do that," she hissed. "Do you think you can just stand in front of us like that?" I told her sorry, but that we hadn't found a way forward (keep in mind that wayha and I sre pretty damned short). "You are GOING to move - " she replied. "we've been here for two hours." I told her that we had driven two and a half hours, and we'd be getting home awfully late, and besides, had she ever been to a concert? Everybody finds the best spot they can, them's the breaks.

She wasn't having it, and she got louder, waggling her face in front of[info]wahya_goingback  who, it should be noted, takes no shit from anyone. Other invectives were thrown at us, including "You must not be from around here." I love that one.

Finally, wayha would having no more of it. She lowered her shoulder and fell back into our bitchy friend, in one swift motion pushing the whole circle back about a foot. I can't properly express how fun it was to watch their collective expression shift from "you guys are scum" to "Oh SHIT!".  Had I not restrained my friend there would have been nothing but a puddle of hippie on the floor in short order. But we turned around and ignored them for what turned out to be a FANTASTIC show. This is clearly one of their favorite venues, and I have never been part of such a quiet and respectful crowd. It really was like being in the world's largest living room. Wonderful.



Which is good, because when we went back to my car, it HAD BEEN TOWED.

So there we were, at midnight, 2.5 hours from home, with no car, weather maybe in the upper 30s.

It took us a while to find out who towed it, try (and fail) to get a cab, walk several blocks to a bar, call a cab, get to the towing place, call them several times, wait for a guy to come let us in, pay the $150 to get the car (ouch.), and start our late night trip home.  All of that had taken a bit of a shine off of the night of great music and almost-stompin-bitchez.

But then, as we open the car doors, we looked up. Because out of that cold Asheville night, among the stars, snow was falling down.

Wayha is right.

It was worth it.

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