A sunset in Michigan.

Hellooo Observers.

In about thirty minutes, I’m heading back out on mini-tour with OHMME in Indianapolis, IN and Grand Rapids, MI. But before I do, I wanted to send out the Observations roundup just in time for the end of the month.

It’s been a far busier, funner summer than I expected it to be. And while I’m trying to hang on to some of our en-lockdown morsels of wisdom about excessive busyness, and prioritizing the things that really matter, I’m grateful for all these shows. (These, I think, are some of the things that matter.)

In September, I’m heading out with Liam in support of his debut album, Due North. Check out the dates here.

And lastly, in case ya haven’t seen it, Nathan Salsburg released his album Psalms, which I was lucky to play drums on alongside bassist Nick Macri and some other lovely musicians. The album is Nathan’s contemporary take on a selection of Hebrew psalms and it’s enjoyable, in my opinion, by anybody, regardless of their psalmic interest level.

OK — literally going to get in my car and drive to Indianapolis now. Thank you for reading, and please be safe!

Spencer


Observations

  • Walking to the stage in Rockford, Illinois while a fireworks display detonated mere yards away from us.
  • The massive grasshopper landing on my drum, later followed by tiny bugs, who bounced like popcorn each time I (unavoidably) hit the drumhead.
  • The Jackson Pollock-esque ranch dressing spill on a hotel rug.

  • Always cleaning up the water droplets that fly from the sink onto the toilet seat, lest anyone think I left pee there.
  • Cleaning vintage poop particles out of a 1965 pink toilet.
  • Basil chasing a big blue heron out of a pond.

  • The amateur-launched fireworks misfiring, heading toward a herd of parents and small children, who scrambled, running, when a chunk of fiery material flew at them. (All were OK!)
  • The teenager holding a Roman candle but looking away, not enjoying the fruits of his risk-taking, only the thrill of taking the risk.
  • The massive calzone with what can only be described as veggie water inside.

  • The little spider webs holding rain, spun across the tops of short hedges.
  • The LED stage lights illuminating the nighttime Wisconsin mist.
  • The feeling of relief after exiting a swelteringly hot porta-potty.

  • The bright purple flesh of marinated eggplant strips looking like fish fillets.
  • Cutting my hand on a Goya bean can.
  • Advice from folks who’ve died or almost died that I contemplate all the time:
    • “I open bad wine.”
    • “Eat the Danish.”

  • Thinking of the lifting of mask mandates the way I think about the fake end of Chicago winter: it seems like the snowfall is over in March, but there’s actually much cold to come, so I don’t unbrace myself until spring has fully arrived.
  • That the beach moves to the parking lot one shoefull at a time.

  • Peering down at the bottom of a clear Lake Michigan.
  • Paddling up to a buoy to discover it was actually a red balloon, partially deflated, sitting on the lake surface.
  • The families wading in the murky creek water.


And some music

  • Give Me Your Love” by Girl Ray.
  • DIVER” by Lala Lala.
  • Compare and Despair by youbet.
  • Ben Cruz of Moontype’s inventive, fluid, beautiful guitarplaying. (And Margaret’s great songwriting.)
  • Summer of Soul 😭 Mahalia Jackson, Stevie, Mavis… people.

The stage lights and a campfire illuminating the grounds at a tiny music festival in Wisconsin.

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(I was naughty and didn’t put the date codes in this edition. You can find all the July posts here if you like!)