we packed three of us (chuck, me, evan) into a white chevy astrovan (it has been mistaken for a taxi, i.e. "hailed", more than once, despite its non-yellow exterior, but is allowed graces in some parking situations due to its ambiguous identity as a van belonging to some sort of repairman or pest control service). all the equipment fit this time, with no need for a hefty uhaul trailer or its accompanying pickup-and-return hassle. one could sleep in the back, one in the passenger seat. sleep is key.
dc sweet town where we have yet to find a fanbase. are you out there? marcella, kevin, carolina, areesah, raul came out, in true torchbearing fashion. love them. "surprise! arizona" opened. sweetest guys. we'll be back, dc, like it or not!
nyc show #1: brooklyn, southpaw at 8:30, too early for folks to get there. morale check: lowish. we've driven far, and paid a cover to get into the city. no fair. shining faces that made this show worth it: meredith, keith, joe & brian of st. bernadette, courtney & benjamin of kaiser cartel, maggie & doug. we hear st. bernadette rocked it out later. show #2: lower east manhattan, rockwood music hall. utterly silent room. russian bear was playing upon our entrance... amazing. decided to pare down to just their baby grand piano, me on guitar, evan on a couple of drums. amazing show. loved it. needed it. catharsis. jenn, michelle, simon (!!), jacob's friends, a lawyer named harvey, and xylopholks made that tiny room into a little love alarm for sleepy southerners. evan's birthday status and correct trivia answer won him 4 cupcakes, and xylopholks (in cookie monster, chicken, and skunk costumes) brought the house down with their supreme humor and instrumental prowess.
boston evan spotted asheville friends and performing duo speedsquare just past the toll booth. what are the chances? we texted and made rock-n-roll signs out the windows until hugs and omigosh-what-are-the-chances? ensued at the venue. piano-player billy was sick with paranoia and/or swine flu, which he likely gave to evan at that moment. then, oh good god. electric laser people took the stage and led people in their so-fun singalongs and robot stories. jeez, they are a riot and the greatest folks! we played next. what a show! trumpet-playing speedsquarian c scott sat in, as did the ELP folks. ELP-er grant took a phone camera video of it. will try to post somewhere. liz, sofia, chuck's cousins paul and justin, alli, and a good number of robot scientists were in attendance. evan's birthday continued, and drunkenness ensued. returned home to liz's house and its feline inhabitants, 3 being almost too young to exert any gravitational force on the tiny pillow they were gathered upon. evan had found his sleeping partners. all resolved to make this show a yearly may tradition.
portland, me who knew it would be so much like asheville? speedsquare decided to busk there, given the weather's fine nod, so chuck and i danced to their drum-and-piano street show (which rocks in asheville and portland alike). billy was less sick, retrospectively diagnosing himself with the regular flu. lady lamb the beekeeper opened with the sweetest music, and lent us their korg synth when my alesis blew a power supply. they played with us, as did speedsquare... new friends for sure. james and the folks at one longfellow square are great to work with. shelly, rob & robyn from charisma booking and their friends came out. tina & hubby too. i ate breakfast in a very ashevillian kind of place... local 188... they toasted my special bread for me (spelt or gluten-free... the only way i can do it) and made plain eggs and my journal taste like ambrosia.
nashua, nh there's a little warehouse-art space that's working on getting a series going. it's called studio 99, headed by a whip-smart flutist/actress named elise. the space is in a really really old mill where women worked ages ago picking stones out of cotton for textiles. there is soul there. we were to be their second show ever. and we were, minus an audience outside of the organizers. turns out an unknown band from a zillion miles away shouldn't play nashua on a sunday. but let it be known that these folks are the goods, and the room is inspiring, and that scene will grow and grow. hope they'll see fit to have us return.
northampton, ma where our label (nine mile records) lives, until they move to austin in august. the town is the bomb. hip and collegiate with crunchy granola underpinnings and idyllic scenery. celebrated cinco de mayo at mama iguana's with rick of nine mile and potent margaritas... then headed to the elevens to play with spouse (yes... that song is awesome), michael merenda, and surprise guests... members of the young @ heart chorus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3uOOhm8Fj8), an elderly group of singers who cover the pixies, bon jovi, the ramones, etc. with a great backing band. these folks were awe-inspiring... i filled up my phone with videos and shed a few tears as arthur sang, "it's my life... it's now or never...". rick and wife rebecca played us their music (he's a drummer and she's a singer) for the first time... had no idea it was so good. croony and raw and very real. the kincaids. daughter lily is bounding with energy and reading like a champ at age 4. smart, fun family. rick made us gluten-free blueberry pancakes wed. am. what did we do to deserve?
pittsfield, ma definitely not the best-attended show. but the mission tapas bar wins another award... best.... food.... ever! we were spoiled. poor evan was still sick (did i mention he was sick?). but we did a little sit-down show and got to meet joe (hey joe!) and his sweet sister as well as the great folks who run the place... we hope to stop over again when we're up.
baltimore, md wow did our old friends/fans turn out! after a simultaneous nap-labyrinth period (evan on the nap; chuck and steph on the brick maze at a nearby episcopal church), and subsequently a tasty meal at matsuri (sushi extraordinaire, formerly managed by friend larry george), where we met up with dc friends marcella, raul, areesah, and carolina, we headed to the 8x10 and crammed our stuff into the stairwell to await our designated play time. the place is trying to get an austin city limits-type thing going, so they had 3 cameras on all the bands and did an interview. i didn't like the way the club wanted us to sell merch downstairs, near the bathrooms. and i told them so. we were a little adversarial for a minute when they ranted about the fire code when i put the vinyl up on the edge of the stage for sale. i thought, "what if i put a guitar amp there? less of a fire hazard?" but logic did not prevail. in any case, dancing and friendship ensued, featuring deb, melanie, mama soray (who gave me the greatest homemade shirt), jim hickey (thanks for your exquisitely supportive grassrootsness), justin and brooke, and so many more. they wanted to hear old school stephaniesid (more aptly: Stephanie's Id) songs. so we played "white guys" and whatnot. we will convert them to warm people soon enough!
easton, md immediately we knew there was money involved. the town has an air of dignitaries and summer-homeness. sure enough, we were told that donald rumsfeld and dick cheney used to have houses next to each other (hmm) and julia roberts has a house there... and apparently lots of wealthier-than-average folks do too. and us in our white van, sans polo shirts, strolled in, greeted by bright yellow floral tablecloths and the sound of a latte machine.... and... some pretty nasty rap music on low volume. soon enough, coffee east / nightcat made its nocturnal persona known, and a couple of sweet singer-songwriters opened (oh blonde-haired man, cannot recall your name at the moment, but your first performance was engaging and your friends are lovely). to mark and the folks at mangold entertainment, we look forward to our return on oct. 10. to tom and friends, a hearty hello.
rehoboth beach, de it was a brew pub. probably the best brew pub, as so many friends coveted that we'd be near it, but in any case that whole "transcendent / majestic" thing was hard to deliver in that sort of room. so instead we forewent the majesty for a sort of comedy hour, given the atmosphere and long set, and we managed to connect with several in the room, and even convince a few to buy turntables and the 12" record. couple more converts. the booker is exceedingly nice and for some reason i felt the constant need to punch him in the arm like a little sister. so i did, and he seemed to be a sport. tom and friends, shucks... thanks for driving out.
drive home=great weather and recent nostalgia for the nice week. thanks to charisma booking for doing what i've never been able to do, and to our old & new fans for loving and loving. for being warm. you know.
still lots more shows to come. let us know if you want us to come to your town. maybe you can help us?