In the first year of the pandemic I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts. Like, a LOT of time. I ran my Spotify Wrapped at the end of 2020 and on average I listened to roughly 8 hours of podcasts a day. It was my way of feeling productive during a time of peak inactivity. There are podcasts for all types of interests and they can get into specific topics with a beautiful amount of clarity. Sometimes you learn more and more about the hosts’ lives too and it adds even more detail and depth to the show.
Hrishikesh Hirway and Jenny Owen Youngs are both musicians and they both host podcasts — Hrishi has the music podcast Song Exploder while Jenny has Buffering the Vampire Slayer, a podcast doing an episode by episode recap of the TV show with a similar name. I knew both of these artists separately and in various collaborations, but had no idea about the long standing friendship between the two of them — until seeing them perform together on stage at Polaris Hall. The format of the show was unconventional and instead of an opener and headliner situation, the two sat together side by side with their guitars in hand, trading songs back and forth. It was hard to believe that the show reached a couple of hours, because it moved so effortlessly between cute banter, introspective storytelling, and earnest performance.
Each song was set up by the respective writer about its origins and creation process. The audience heard about Hrishi’s memories of his mom in the song “Between There and Here” coupled with Jenny poetically interpreting The Legend of Zelda in the song “Lost.” There were songs about appreciating your home, going to the country fair as a teen, falling in love, and of course the on again off again romance between Buffy and Angel. The performance was in essence two songwriters baring their souls while simultaneously using any opportunity to crack the other up. What resulted was an event that ran through a full emotional spectrum and I couldn’t picture another show quite like it.
Hrishikesh Hirway can be followed @hrishihirway and @songexploder on Instagram. Jenny Owen Youngs can be found @jennyowenyoungs and @bufferingcast on Instagram. Song Exploder and Buffering the Vampire Slayer can be heard on most streaming platforms.