The Shins playing at The Eastern. (Photo by Meagan Berardi)

I strongly considered checking out the band Pinegrove at The Eastern last month, which makes me hipster-adjacent at least. It was on a Thursday night, but these cats are pretty good and no telling when they’ll come through town again. But I got a shingles vaccine the day before, felt a little crappy, had a bad sleep, and thought better of venturing out on a school night (#Thisis50).

Kristen and I still love going out to see live music, but the early morning demands of getting kids off to school and having enough energy to tackle our own workdays keep getting in the way. It’s a mid-life music crisis.

The following week The Eastern had Echo & The Bunnymen coming through on Monday night while The Shins were slotted for Tuesday night. Are Friday and Saturday nights no longer viable options? They’re keeping Ian McCulloch out past his bedtime on a Monday, right?

We couldn’t swing both shows so we opted for The Shins. They were doing the 21st anniversary tour of their Oh, Inverted World album. Tough decision – Echo & The Bunnymen were a high school favorite. Directly under my goofy yearbook picture is their lyric “the earth is a world, the world is a ball, a ball in a game, with no rules at all…” I was in a weird place, okay? But Monday AND Tuesday night shows? That’s crazy talk, young fella.

By the way, The Shins might be my favorite band with mostly indecipherable lyrics. I think young James Mercer had a seminal night of listening to Pearl Jam’s Yellow Ledbetter, Enya’s Orinoco Flow, and certain Radiohead songs and decided – That’s what I’ll do with my life! I’ll write catchy songs that no one understands! They were excellent but honestly, a Tuesday night out left me a little fatigued the rest of the week. They had an opening band – an all-female folk-pop trio named Joseph and they were fantastic, too. it’s just that…opening bands, amiright?!

If you want to see the blood run right out of Kristen Sullivan’s face tell her that the weeknight show she is so excited to see features not one but TWO opening bands. Would it be possible to just not do that? During the week at least? We go out feeling Phoebe Bridgers spry and come home late looking J. Mascis surly. (That’s Indie-rock humor, folks).

What if there were a mid-size music venue that just played the headline band first? Open the doors an hour before they take the stage, people will pack the house and get ready to dive right in. Supporting band(s) can play afterward while half-price drinks entice a decent portion of the crowd to stay. Why not? Wouldn’t that be better than a smattering of people talking and checking their watches?

You can call it Oldheads or the Over-40 Watt (the 60 Watt?), I don’t care. Just someone please take this idea and run with it. Those who need to can get home at a reasonable hour. The more adventurous sorts can have themselves an epic evening if they’d like. We’re here, take our money!

Kristen just bought us tickets to see The Lemonheads. They are playing the It’s a Shame About Ray album to celebrate its 30th Anniversary. Only the show is in Boston, on a Sunday night, the week before Christmas. Five minutes of texting with her four sisters and now they’re all coming, too. There’s a whole demographic of middle-aged, music-loving idiots like us who are buying plane tickets, booking hotel rooms, and taking a day off from work to see if the likes of Evan Dando can remember the lyrics to the songs they liked when they were in college. 

We just have bedtimes is all I’m saying.

Tim Sullivan

Tim Sullivan is an award-winning columnist who writes about family life and thinks everything is at least a little funny.