It’s challenging to articulate when there are tears running through your beard and you’re falling freely, deeply in love. The wall in front of the sound board is holding me. I’m in the back of a record store where’s there’s a soldout hidden venue protecting the 250 of us. “I got bored in California. Bored with a sun that always shines. I got bored and started dreaming again … I got bored in New York City. Bored anywhere a man can be.” Richard Edwards ascends higher, conquering hearts with each falsetto. His friend Kate lends her lungs, painting ribbons on Richard’s gifts. She is conscious and cautious and glad. Close your eyes. She’s a beautiful bride tonight. He’s my husband. She’s my wife.
I’ve flown hours north from home to see this show. I’m standing at the kitchen counter with my friend Dave and I have something to show him. Richard Edwards writes this painfully personal essay on how he found himself homeless, emotionally destroyed, physically destroyed (“feels like my guts have done split in two”), and filled with inextinguishable flame to produce these songs which he can’t help but pour out. It charges and changes me. He battles Crones disease and it’s difficult for him to tour, I explain. This is his only show scheduled for his debut solo album release, Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset. Dave distributes CBD vape pens in Orlando (weed maps link). CBD’s proven benefits to those with life crippling diseases, like Crones, are inarguable. Dave sees my passion and gifts me one to gift to my friend, Richard.
My early morning plane is cancelled on the way up. My chocolate edible I took starts kicking in when they finally announce the change of plans. They tell everyone to go out, back through security, and re-book. It’s April first but I’m no fool. I sit. I write. I’m alone. I Google until I find the Spirit Airlines phone number, call, go to the bar, and catch the next flight a few hours later. I’m here. In Brooklyn now. Everything is Ok. I’m in transit.
Rough Trade Records received some backlash when they opened their first U.S. location in Brooklyn. Rough Trade’s first London shop opened in 1978. Through it’s wild history, it’s become an independent record store once again, which was the scene’s main concern with it’s Brooklyn opening. It’s gorgeous inside. It’s personal and feels local.
I get an IPA. H.Hawkline is on his second or third song. He’s funny and smart, and maybe a bit fucked up. I’m quiet. Many are only listening to their friends speak, unwilling to take the risk of discovering someone great and new at a show where they came to see someone else. Coincidentally, those are my favorite moments. I’m hooked.
Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset is Richard’s most arresting album he’s ever shared with us. This is the most beautiful performance I’ve seen all year. Maybe even in years. He is calm on stage, delicate. He imprisons himself into a place where these songs live. It’s not a nice place. It’s not an easy journey. I’m happy to be in the cell next to him.
“Lil Dead Eye-d” melts into “Disappearing Planets” — The first two singles spill one after another. Saltwater spills from me, too. These are love songs. No one writes a love song like Richard Edwards.
What the hell am I supposed to breathe if you don’t love me?”
Richard is humbled but strong and aware and grateful. He is proud but doesn’t take too much time to pat himself on the back — “this next song is off the next record, which is already written.” You can feel his understanding of expiration dates on everything, namely, life. Most of all, he’s happy to be alive.
“I can tell you’re all gonna be putty … I have you.” He politely mumbles with a smile. “Hello San Francisco” began. He’s right. Malleable instantly.
My favorite song on Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset is “Moonwrapped” right now. It feels written to himself. It was originally about his wife, as a sort of wedding present. Now it’s a goodbye.
In the next life there ain’t no stomachs. And love don’t die. It moves through time.”
I finish my Lagunitas and place the plastic cup on the floor. I’m not losing this spot. I am here for exactly what I need — a reminder of why I go to shows. This is just for me. I came alone. I leave spilling.
I started writing reviews because I couldn’t keep them in. I began writing fewer and fewer reviews when we started requesting “press access” for them and became discouraged when we wouldn’t get approved. If we didn’t get approved, the mentality was ‘I guess I don’t have to write a review now’. I never intended for this site to be “music reviews.” I forgot that for a moment. We tell stories. I love the story I have inside of traveling to see Richard in NYC. I bought my ticket months ago.
I am so fucking lucky to have this little baby soapbox to share from. This is for me. It’s challenging when this becomes “work” and I forget I have everything I need and one day the money will come. Thank you for caring.
I can’t afford to love that job I’m workin’ all the time.”
When’s the last time you stopped long enough to learn something? Like, truly learn something … Try to learn this. It means the moon to me and it’s so familiar yet, still an infant. Won’t you pause, just for a moment, and listen? When’s the last time I showed you something that sucked? You won’t regret it.
We’re singing along to Margot’s “Broadripple is Burning” like a sad children’s choir. We’re so happy. I am surrounded by strangers that feel like friends. I have to close my tab.
I shake Richard’s hand and thank him for being here. I give him Dave’s CBD pen. He’s surprised and stoked. We have someone kind take our photo. I ask if he prefers to sign his album on the inside. He corrects me, “It’s your record. I just think it looks nicer on the inside.”
It really does look nicer, I admit.
It’s the second beautiful day of the year on Long Island. My joint keeps going out. The dog is judging me. He goes inside. All the doors and windows facing the yard are wide grins singing “Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin'” (“‘cuz some Texas girl at a funeral’s been breakin’ me down.”) I have no idea I’ll soon be stuck in New York City on a Monday with no money. Stressing if I’m going to catch my flight as we creep past the train derailment while everyone catches their reflection in the hazy windows trying to flash photos. But right now my toes are cold against the marble. My neck is warm, kissed by Helios. I love him. But I miss the moon.
Have you ever watched the moonrise? It rises sometimes, fully bright, burning out of the Atlantic sea, best seen from the East coast of Florida. I took shrooms once and watched it. I’ve never seen anything more magnificent in my entire life. It started with a dim dark purple, creeping hues through orange, yellow, and eventually radiant white.
Richard Edwards is the moon rising in my Atlantic.
Start dreaming again.
Richard Edwards Live Review by Mitch.
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