A High-Pitched Flood

I spent the better part of yesterday at the grand Ohio State Fair with my little sisters. The fair itself was nothing to get worked up about – it’s like a bigger, more crowded version of the county fair back home, minus the friends and family. We did get to watch dogs catch frisbees, and the butter cow is always fun to see.

We were at the fair, though, for the evening concert at the Celeste Center. The younger of my two sisters is a big Saving Jane fan, and the Columbus band was opening for Bo Bice. Our middle sister is also a Saving Jane fan, although she refers to the band as “she,” as if the lead singer’s name was Saving. And… I’m… not really their target demographic.

Nonetheless, I loved the show. Having two little sisters means unavoidable exposure to a lot of Gilmore Girls, Reba, and so on, but in the case of Saving Jane I’m more than happy to be included. I like groups who write their own music, and Saving Jane falls into this category – with better songs than what’s written for Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson. Who, yes, I’ve heard a lot of on account of the above-noted little sister factor. Actually, Marti’s lyrics make me wish my sister hadn’t told me her name; I’m sure that knowing it somehow takes me past crush and into weird celebrity obsession.

The band played energetically and, not surprisingly, very well. They did a long set – most of the hits from their current album and a new one they’d never performed before – considering that they were the opening act. Live, as on the album, their music fits the lyrics throughout both the noisy and the softer songs. And the lead singer has one heck of a voice… she sounds at least as good live as in the studio. At the end of their performance (which included a Better Than Ezra cover, which was awesome), an Expo Center employee came out to announce that the band would be signing autographs at the merchandise booth.

WEEEAAIIIEEE!!! was the immediate sound that came from every direction. By the time they had heard a few songs, even the girls who had come for Bo Bice were sold on Saving Jane. My sister wanted an autograph, and we were swept along by a deluge of shrieking 14 year olds. I almost had to fight a kid – who looked the type that should be a lineman but isn’t because he’s too busy sitting in the dark thinking Goth thoughts – when he practically plowed over my sisters to get in front of them in line.

As I stood there surrounded by junior high girls, thinking about what to say to strike a balance between “too cool for you” and “your words are my reason for living,” I thought about the band. Here you’ve got six people about my age who have just spent the last hour working their various parts off… and now they get to meet a few normal fans who wanted to say “you guys are great” mixed in with a whole lot more crazies who just have to get a piece of the action. For all the work they must do writing, rewriting, practicing, traveling, and performing, there’s no small amount of PR tacked on top.

Which is why I didn’t feel too bad when a security guard came through the line 20 minutes later to tell us no more Herbie Hancocks would be given. All but one member of the band is from Columbus, and they get to spend a whole two days at home before racing off to who-knows-where. Godspeed, Saving Jane… and gimme a call sometime!

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