Sunday, September 30, 2007

No direction home

After one intense day of driving, we have settled back to our respective homes (except for Matt, who is currently asleep on our futon). I finished the driving up last night, the six-hour haul from Rochester to Somerville, it was not very smart, though.

First, we had the drive from our hotel in Bellville, OH, to Rochester, NY, for a gig at House of Hamez. The drive was good -- spirits were still sparkling from the show the night before and there were only a couple tense moments. We made it mandatory that the driver wear a BK crown while driving, to establish a ruling order. We considered stopping in at Niagara Falls (we only made it as far as this distant welcome center, shown below) and my aunt and uncle's place in Buffalo, before deciding both were too far out of the way. Too bad, in retrospect, because my aunt had prepared cookies and snacks and what not...

Once we arrived in Rochester, we couldn't find the venue. It's a little coffee shop without a sign -- a local resident told us that the coffee shop went out of business several weeks ago. He was wrong. We found it, loaded in, and got some dinner. The owner, James, who was a really cool dude, had found a local named Jerry Falzone to open up the show afterall, which was severely appreciated. Jerry's crowd, and Jerry himself, was a bit older than us and our standard crowd, but they were gentle with us and contributed to the tip jar the venue put out to make sure we got paid (we made about $45, which is better than nothing, ahem, Columbus).

We were all a bit nervous about playing loud in a coffeeshop. Before the show, James told us he wants loud. He wants to book acts that aren't traditional coffeeshop bands. But once we were up there, we couldn't do it. We played incredibly restrained, and in the biggest change from the previous night, didn't put the energy into it. This wasn't terrible, because it allowed us to talk and interact a bit more than would normally be acceptable. It was still cool, though, I almost felt like it was a rare "unplugged" thing, even though it wasn't. Some songs actually sounded better with more moderate drumming (I'm very proud of Matt for how far he scaled it back), like "The Devil's Arms." We even went ahead and road-tested "Valley of Gold," as the opening number no less. (As I told Scott last night in a discussion about practicing less, which is a big change of heart for me, I feel like the songs will gain some spontaneity if they aren't over-rehearsed, which is why I suggested "Valley" to be recorded at the museum the other day and why I thought we should try it live, because it's fresh and new, yet still awesome.)

All in all, the night was decent. It was definitely different than the rest of the tour, not nearly as action-packed and non-stop fun, but still cool in its own way. Fritz drove all the way out to Rochester by himself (and all the way back, which was kind of weird of us to do him, but after discussing it, we decided that it was too important not to lose the mission of this short leg which is all of us being together almost all the time to test the touring waters. I think Fritz would understand, and will when he reads this). I wonder if there will be more shows like this one on the tour. Most likely. It just seemed like such a different vibe than we've been riding, but hey, you take what comes your way. We also went to check out Bugjar in Rochester, where we're playing next month. Looks cool, so we have that to look forward to.

SET LIST: Valley of Gold / The Nadir / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Seasons / Trouble From the Start / We Could Be Solo Acts / Debts / Loose Lips / The Devil's Arms / Saint Anthony / Six Hours / Research Blvd.

Jerry Falzone also wrote a nice note about the show on his website:
What a fun night this was. The Cassavettes are such a good band, great songs, and very tight. The kind of tightness that can only come from growing up together which I believe they did. Ray Bellizia, Jimmy Newton and Carl Lang did a wonderful job backing up Jerry. After the Cassavettes set Jerry and Carl went up and played beautiful versions of Never Let Me Go, and three brand new songs, Sail Me Home, A Real Fine Night and an especially beautiful new song called Won't You that Jerry and Carl had written the night before.

Tragedy did strike after the gig last night. We hit a deer. Well, we weren't the first to hit it. The car in front of us struck it down shortly before, and we didn't see the darn thing until it was under us. I didn't even have time to curse, let alone swerve or slow down. We were going about 75 when we hit it, and it rocked the car. We got out to inspect it and I called 911 to get the carcass cleared off (though a part of me believes the deer got up and scampered off). The car smells terrible now, perhaps there's some venison cooking underneath. According to a blazed out tollbooth operator, it smells like "someone's smoking beaners." Nope, I said, just dead deer. Anyhow, the entire back of the car was sprayed with blood (see below), so we had to get out and wash it off. I may take the car in to get checked out, although the guys said nothing was hanging or dripping, I want to make sure it's OK for the next leg.

Somehow, we also got some business done on this tour, despite being deprived of Internet access most of the time. Incredibly, we booked two more shows while on this tour. We also positioned ourselves for a date in Philadelphia, just by networking with a lot of bands. That was the great thing about this conference was we felt comfortable swapping ideas and possible gigs with a bunch of cool bands. Perhaps the network has grown...

While we're home now, I'm itching to get out again. Scott and I were discussing whether we think we'll feel anxious to get back home when we're out far longer next month -- and at times, yes, I'm sure we will. In this case, we all saw the end in sight and knew it was short. But it will be interesting when we're out, and looking into the future, and all there is to do is drive and play. I'm ready for that. I also don't think this touring is a fluke -- I don't think next month will be the last time or anything like that. In fact, I just have this weird vibe lately that SOMETHING BIG is coming for the group, but I don't know what. I get this band premonition sometimes, and usually it's right to some degree. Then, I came to find out that Scott has been feeling it, too, lately. I'd say we're ready for that, as well.

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Anonymous fritz said...

its cool. i understand.

i thought you were kidding about hitting the deer! good thing i wasn't following behind you...i would've hit it too.

30 September, 2007 11:42  

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