Monday, April 14, 2008

Drag me closer

A shortlist of currents bands that would mean the most to play with that I decided on the drive back up from Philadelphia yesterday: Ryan Adams, Wilco, Old 97s, Neil Young, Centro-matic, Nada Surf, and Superdrag. Consider one down. Almost 1 1/2 really, since our VIP treatment at Nada Surf/Superdrag in NYC the night before our Philly date almost felt like we were on board, too. And take into account that three of those bands rarely use openers and one of those bands is on-and-off again, and we've done pretty well in one night.

Yes, friends, the little jaunt down the east coast this weekend was a total success, in my opinion. I'd place the Philly show in my top 5, maybe top 3 Cassavettes shows of all-time, as long as we're making lists. It was unbelievably special, and what may be most unbelievable of all is that, like Scott says, this was a natural progression to where it almost feels -- well, normal. Moving into this relationship with Superdrag, as said one of my favorite bands ever, and Creamer has been a really comfortable, seamless transition. And we are just lucky.

To recap: We left Somerville at 4:30 or so on Friday, not realizing we'd miss all of Superdrag's set. So we did. We arrived at 9:30 and Nada Surf was setting up. Nonetheless, we got VIP badges and unreal seats directly above the stage on one of the club's two balconies. We sat next to Matthew Caws' family, lead singer of Nada Surf, and I was a bit starry-eyed, I suppose, just by the overwhelming venue and the outrageous treatment. To wit: The bathroom, always a measure of how good or bad a club is, had its own attendant who would lead you to a private room that was bathing in blue light. Creepy, and it required a tip, but fairly classy, compared with some of the club toilets these eyes have seen.

After the show, the plan was to meet up with the Superdrag guys and get a beer, but they were late getting out of the club. We went to a diner for breakfast, and a bar, but by the time they were up for hanging, Matt -- yes, MATT -- was tuckered out. So we went back. Too bad, too, as we found out the next day that things got fairly crazy.

After a sleep in Queens at L Ro's, we headed for Philly. The last time we were there we didn't have a show, but we did have two cheesesteaks each in two days. This time, we did have a show, with Superdrag. It's still wild to me.

We played a venue called Johnny Brenda's, which also had a balcony overlooking the stage. It was a medium-sized club, but most definitely cool. I think the crowd was a bit wary of us at first, but by the end, people were making a lot of noise and we spent the evening talking to folks who had great things to say about the show. When Scott came unplugged and looked at Mikey in a fruitless effort to get re-plugged, it was Superdrag bass player Tom Pappas, not Mikey, that remedied the problem. He was jamming, by the way, and his big hair was everywhere. I remember after 2-3 songs, I turned around and looked at Matt and just said, "This. Is. Cool." That's all that could be said. It was unbelievable. Then, of course, Superdrag took the stage and just killed it. The crowd was so loud, and they played an all-out set. TD asked me if they'd do "Do the Vampire" and they did, and I happened to make it back from the packed downstairs just in time.
SET LIST: Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Debts / Don't Get Me Wrong (debut) / Golden Fleece / On the Lam / Madeline / Bad Television / Shotgun Wedding / Shine A Light

Anyway, I can't imagine a better time for this band than this weekend. It was, hopefully, a taste of what's to come. Or just a tease. A tease or a taste. We'll see which is which.

Finally, we decided, after many jokes, what to call the live record: Animal Friends. There was last minute talk of calling it "Live Animals," which gets across the live theme and the animal-nature of us and the friends we keep company of, but hey, the live thing is about friendship and so, in dedication, we give it to you, our Animal Friends.

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15 April, 2008 14:55  
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