Friday, January 30, 2009

Lighting it Up at Lit

Hello, woooooo am I tired. But it is definitely "good tired." Last night we played Lit Lounge on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. This is one of the coolest clubs in the city. Dan and I have both wanted to play there for a long time, but we were patiently waiting for the right opportunity. Our new friend Abby, who manages the incredible band Imaginary Friends and is putting a whole bunch of great rock shows together these days, gave us that opportunity by inviting us to play with Imaginary Friends last night at Lit.

When I got the e-mail from Max, the house booker at Lit, confirming us on the bill, the instructions were for all bands to load in with their gear at 7:15 PM. The music was to start at 9:00PM, 4 bands, with us going on last. Now, some of you know this, but both Dan and I are originally from Maine, and sometimes we can't escape certain things we learned growing up there. Some of these things are not especially helpful navigating life in New York City. One thing about people in Maine is that most of them like to get to things early. I don't know if this comes from the old days of farming when everyone was up at 4AM to milk the cows, or what originally caused it. But I have a nasty habit of arriving at things ridiculously early. I once went to a rock show in Maine with my sister. We got there at the published start time, and the show was already over. I am not making that up.

So when I saw 7:15PM load-in, I had a voice in my head that said, "This is a rock club in New York City. No one will be there that early." But of course I got there around 7:30 - pretty late by Maine standards. And of course I was the only musician there for what seemed like several hours. Dan was meeting me there later because he had to teach class at his day gig. Luckily for me, my girlfriend and Victor Bravo SuperFan Sarah got her signals crossed with Dan's girlfriend and Victor Bravo SuperFan Isabelle, trying to meet her for an artistic co-adventure. So she came to Lit, and we just sat on the couch for a long time, chatting and having a little private date while the other bands showed up and started loading their stuff in.

Sarah got hungry, so she went to get herself a slice of pizza and while she did the first band began playing. They were called Broccoli Destroyer and I thought they were fantastic. They were a 2-piece like us, 2 guys, one on guitar and the other on drums, but no vocals. They played a short set that was fun from start to finish. When they were done, Sarah came back and Dan and Isabelle showed up. The next band, Birthing of Millions, went on, and blew me away as well. They were a 4-piece, again all guys (it was an all-male performer evening): bass, 2 guitars and drums, and again no vocals. All instrumental, which I really enjoyed.

Then it was time for our pals in Imaginary Friends to go on, and man did they kill it. We played with them once before at a party in Bushwick, Brooklyn and they really amazed me then. It was so great to see them play again. Really original music all around - bass, drums, lead guitar and a rhythm guitarist/singer. Good, solid rock.

Some people disagree with me but I find that most bands in New York are pretty darn good, but occasionally we do get booked in with bands we don't know who just don't do much for me musically. This was such a great night to me because all 3 of the other bands really impressed me and put on one hell of a great show. In our earlier days of shows such a line-up might have intimidated me a bit, but today it's more like a great challenge, like, "Hey they all did great sets! Let's do a great set, too!" Okay, I used two exclamation points there and that's not very rocker-cool of me. Apologies. I know as a rock frontman I need to be very cool. I meant: "Hey man, they really rocked. Let's do this." Yeah, that's better. Way more cool.

So we got up there and at first it felt like some of the people who might not have seen us before didn't exactly know what to make of us. But it was a show where we just seemed to build a connection with audience more and more with each song. The cheers and yells got louder after every one. After "Alien Homeland," I had a bit of a gaffe when I switched guitars. First I couldn't find my guitar cable to hook up the new guitar, then I found the cable but I had flipped some switch somewhere so my amp wasn't making any noise. Eventually I figured it all out and told the crowd, "Just so you know, I am a complete f***ing idiot, which you would know if you saw what just happenned." Someone I did not recognize shouted back loud and clear: "Hello, f***ing idiot!" And I think that's when I knew the crowd and us were on the same page.

We launched into "Transparent" and suddenly the crowd seemed to triple in size and everybody started jumping around and hurling themselves at each other with wild abandon. It was so cool. I felt like the show wasn't about us playing for people anymore, the audience and the band were like one crazy ball of energy flailing around together. We finished up with "Motherfucker" as always, and things got even crazier. We finished the song, I took my Fender into the brick wall a few times, and that was that. The set list:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Binge
3. Better Lives
4. Alien Homeland
5. Transparent
6. Motherfucker

After the show we hung out with friends new and old for a while, then dropped off the gear at The Music Building, and then finally headed back to Brooklyn. I got home around 2:30AM, hence my present state of fatigue.

We had a really good time playing last night, and we just want to thank Max and Lit Lounge, Abby and Imaginary Friends, Broccoli Destroyer and Birthing of Millions, Pete from Ruby Bullet, our former bassist Dani now from the new band The Bad Nights, Corynne from Afterdawn, and everyone who came out and stayed to see our set. None of what we do would be possible without all sorts of people doing what they do to make it possible. Thanks to you all, you are the best.

We are playing again Wednesday, February 11 at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, again with Imaginary Friends, and this time also with Dead Stars and Gulf of Michigan. That should be an unbelievably great night of rock music. We'd love to have you come and share it with us.

And I am getting back on track with tour booking, so you folks outside New York City - who we love - stay tuned, we may be coming somewhere near you soon.

Oh, a few last things - if you're looking for more great live music this weekend, our friends in Afterdawn are playing what is being billed as their last show tonight at Bowery Poetry Club at 10:30. This is one of my favorite bands of all time, we've played with them several times and I am sad to see this amazing musical entity come to an end.

At the other end of the lifecycle-of-a-band, Victor Bravo SuperFan Mr. Scott Holcomb leads his new kickass country-rock band The Bulletproof Lincolns tonight at 8:00 in what I think is their third show ever at Mehanata Ice Cage (new venue, don't ask me, Google it). I saw their last show at FatBaby and they are terrific. And aforementioned SuperFan and my girlfriend Sarah will be performing with both her bands, Kate Matt Ben & Sarah and Snazz Mammoth, at the Return to Roccoco night at Teneleven Saturday night beginning at 8:30. That show will also include period costume, fire dancers, burlesque, free pastries, and all sorts of crazy s**t. All those shows are in Manhattan, and we wish all our fellow musician friends wonderful shows.

Okay, be well. I've gotta go take a nap now.

No comments: