A few months ago I’d been talking to Langhorne Slim’s manager about having LS play Happy Ending @ Joe’s Pub. I’d never seen him live, but had liked, immensely, what I’d heard. Everyone was psyched to make this happen, but Langhorne was moving to Portland and when I had a spot, he wasn’t available, and when he was available, I didn’t have a spot. Anyway, he was in town last night, playing at Bell House (and has been touring with Rachel and Jason Trachtenberg, Happy Ending veterans) and Frank, LS’s manager, very generously put me on the list.
The place was completely sold out. Literally leaking with stomach-spilling 20-something hipster boys and American-Appareled faux-dred girls. I stood behind the skinniest dude in the house, his Meg Ryan shag perfectly piecey, who turned around and smiled at me. “Can you see?” I nodded, smiled. Damn, these Bell-housed Langhorne-ians were a friendly lot. And it’s no surprise. Langhorne Slim is one of the best live performers I’ve seen in a good long while. He inspires not only gratitude, but enthusiasm, and not false enthusiasm synthetically fueled, but the sort driven by that earthy Portland, Oregon kindness. He’s animated, charming, personable, not alienating and best of all, inclusive.
For his final song, he pulled audience members up, one by one, a la Bruce Springsteen glad-handing Courtney Cox, until the entire stage was filled with dancing, clapping devotees. Security at a loss on the edge. Langhorne jumped into the audience, strumming, strumming, then back on stage for the big finish, an enthusiastic finale, blistering applause, the sweetest bow, hugs from flinging, grabbing girl arms and a final lifting of the guitar, off his body, off the stage. “Fuck, yeah,” I thought, as I walked out with my friends to get a cab. “I’m naming my first-born Langhorne,” I said. “I don’t even care if she’s a girl.”