Sade Sundays

Part One: Joshua Rampage

When I think of attending baseball games I picture Indian Summer nights, patterned green grass under bright lights, hotdogs + beer + peanuts, and thousands upon thousands of rabid fans cheering for their respective teams. Not anymore. Those memories were obliterated this past Tuesday when Michael and I attended the A’s vs. White Sox game in Oakland.

The wind was ripping off the bay at a chilly 20 knots while we attempted our own version of tailgating, Mike leaving his party-ready station wagon at home, opting for his wife’s 4-door sedan instead. Brilliant. Popping the trunk, it just wasn’t the same as lining the bed of a pickup truck with plastic and filling it with water while floating on a Budweiser raft. We drank bottled Pacificos and lamented the fact we had no available entertainment at our disposal. No baseball gloves, no football, and Mike knew it was too windy for Frisbee, but complained we didn’t have one anyway.

Mike goes, “don’t worry, it’ll be warmer inside”. Lies. Upon entering the park, I noticed the frigid continuity in temperature as well as a distinct lack of electricity in the air; games I had attended in the past were veritable bee hives of activity while this one appeared to epitomize the impending doom our honey-making friends are currently facing. In one sweeping observation, I discovered that out of the 1000 or so people in attendance, (Oakland Coliseum baseball capacity: 35,067) no one appeared to give a shit whatsoever.

This all-encompassing indifference seemed to sharply reflect my feelings towards contemporary music at the moment – I hadn’t found anything to pique my ear’s interest in months. I felt like one of those bees you see on a cold day right after a heat wave; slowly moving around on the ground, waiting on eternity.

Sitting in seats that weren’t ours, we watched the puppet show of a game unfold: players lobbed tosses ‘cross the field, ran into walls in the outfield, and generally played like lethargic Little Leaguers on heavy drugs. The fans weren’t much better; some were so bored they ignored the game completely and began making obnoxious-yet-fun noises while scrutinizing the bullpen.

Somewhere around this time my mind began to wander and I thought of James Blake and how this might actually be a pretty great time if only they piped in some of his next-level bangers through the stadium speakers instead of Limp Bizkit’s cover of George Michael’s “Faith” between innings. Faith wasn’t going to help anyone at this point, and everyone knew it – so why the charade?

When faced with a lack of musical stimulation, my instinct was to go back to the last thing I had heard that truly inspired me. James Blake it is. A student by trade, he’s currently studying popular music in London at Goldsmiths and recording in his bedroom. What a life. I’ve tried to pinpoint what it is exactly he’s doing with his beat-heavy frequencies, but it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that he crafts some of most distinctive electronic music out there at the moment; it’s an amalgam of gender-bending vocal samples (a la Burial) surfing subtle variations over sound waves. His new EP, Klavierwerke, drops on September 27th digitally and October 4th on vinyl on R&S.

As I snapped out of my daydream digression, I looked down at the empty bag of peanuts on my lap. My mouth was salty and parched, and I only had the 45 minute BART ride back to the City to look forward to. By this point, Mike had his A’s baseball cap on sideways and was rapidly descending into sickness once again. He was becoming one of the apathetic bees. I tried to poke some life into him with my “A’s are #1!” giant foam finger, but it was of no use. Turns out I wasn’t the suffering buzzer, it was actually Michael. I could only hope he returns to his hive and warms himself back to health with some honey.

(THIS JUST IN: Mike offered the only 2 cents his ailing body and mind were capable of via text: I saw skeletons at the Oakland Coliseum and assumed when I had left I had also left death behind. Instead, I became it’s host, but as I struggle to breathe I assure all my last act will be to burn my A’s hat and choke on the fumes.