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Country Manners

May 8, 2011

He lost his train of thought. Age, you know.

I love to joke about awkward opening acts. Mostly because it’s easy: Paddy Casey opening for Pearl Jam is already a comedy of errors even before you put the jokes in; the Funeral Suits could have been a scene from a comedy sketch show if there were any Irish comedy sketch shows worth acknowledging. But it’s difficult (and probably in poor taste, but my barometer’s smashed to bits by years spent watching brilliant stand up comics jest about really horrible things, so I can’t tell anymore) to joke about Josh T. Pearson: an opening act whose awkwardness stemmed from the fact that his dad apparently died gutpunchingly recently (possibly minutes before taking the stage: it was hard to tell through the accent and the beard). He seemed to be in relative good spirits about it, too, but one suspects that was something of a brave facade, and anyway, it only made it more awkward, especially when he started making tentative jokes about the whole thing, and the audience reacted with a chorus of “Er… um… ahahaha? Haaaa. Um. Right. Errrr…. Oh, Silver Wings, I love this song. Um.”

Is it considered polite to bob your head to the song being performed by the recently bereaved? Can you tap your foot with a sympathetic twinge? It was all a bit of a confused fumble towards some sort of accepted social protocol for this situation, but I’m not sure there’s ever been this situation before.

It’s also hard to joke about the Drive-By Truckers’ set, but for different reasons: there’s nothing funny about an excellent rock show. “Hey, wasn’t it hilarious when I really enjoyed that song?” No, not really.


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