Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Tale of Three Itty-Bitty Cities

OK, they aren't itty-bitty. Well, one is. But the other two cities were quite large. On this three-date swing (which was supposed to be the front end of our now-aborted tour to Austin and back), we hit Troy, NY, Brooklyn, and Philly. And the good times didn't end. Maybe it was the good weather (OK, it was definitely the good weather). Maybe it was the male bonding time. But all in all, the trip was a success, even if it looked a bit cloudy (figuratively) from the get-go.

The first night we played with our old pals Quixote at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. College gigs are always fun, but this was no ordinary college gig. It was part of a tour, so we needed a place to sleep afterward. Furthermore, it wasn't at a club, but rather a student activity space that had been converted, quite nicely, for shows. It was cozy, comfortable, and it turned out to be quite fun. Scott got to eat Long John Silver's, which made his mouth smile and his heart hurt, and I tasted red meat for the first time in two months in the worst way possible: Taco Bell. Luckily, I only had a few bites before abandoning ship and finding a turkey sandwich elsewhere. Anyhow, it was the start of the RPI kids' Spring Break, so the room wasn't exactly full. But it wasn't empty either. It was a nice mix, and those that were there, were there to party. They crowded the stage, danced, and generally had a good time. They even let us sleep in their student activity space/the venue after the show was over. So, that solved that problem. It evened out to a nice night -- Scott and Mike went to drink with the college kids and townies at a local bar, Matt and I stayed and got reacquainted. Some drunk college students wandered in, and didn't seem surprised to see us sleeping there. Instead, they wanted to jam, before deciding it was a bad idea. The two boyos wandered home about 2 a.m. and we slept a solid seven hours before hitting the road. We stopped in Albany, NY, on Broadway, for breakfast at this little diner. I had oatmeal. It ruled.

Driving through upstate NY can be a mix of feelings. Regret for hitting that deer years ago. Awe at the surrounding beauty. Luckily, the second day's drive was mostly filled with the latter. We drove past Woodstock and other scenic mountain landscapes en route to the big city, finally ending up in Brooklyn's DUMBO area. We parked and made a day of it. The weather was unusually nice, so we strolled through the park, part of the bridge, and down to the waterfront. Several brides were taking pictures, as the city rushed to get outdoors for what was surely an Indian summer cramped amidst the usual dull gray March days. Finally, we got lunch at an upscale bar (well, Scott got wings; everyone else got drinks) and then headed for the club (our old stand-by, Pete's Candy Store). It was closed, so we ducked into a neighboring bar, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the day. The owner was a cool guy who talked our ears off in the best way possible. I stole Mike's cigarettes in an effort to get him to quit. It was fruitless. The dudes got some food, I held out for pizza next door which we ate later. By the time the show started, I think everyone was in full-on hang mode. The show passed quickly (followed by locals Lake Street Dive, who I possibly mentioned onstage 20 times, including one time saying they wrote "Seek Cover," which was quickly and vehemently rebuked by someone in the crowd), and for the rest of the night, we were on Pete's back patio, yucking it up with old friends. It felt like a summer night in Austin -- for some reason, that's what Pete's always reminds me of. This time, we had the weather on our side. It's funny to go from Pete's, which is quite small, to the Williamsburg Music Hall in a matter of weeks, but that's exactly what we'll be doing on April 9. It'll be good. Our buddy Steve let us sleep at his place, which was a relief, because it was only a couple blocks away. Matt undressed before anyone had put down their bags, fell face down on the couch, and snored his ass off while Steve showed us his working R2D2. Good night -- except for Matt's snoring.

The next morning we grabbed breakfast at a convenience store across the street, and ate at Steve's place. We watched a substantial amount of "Selena," which I believe may be one of the movies I've seen the most in my entire life. Every Spanish class I ever took we watched it. Why? I'm still not quite sure. But then again, anything for Selenas. When every grew a bit antsy, we hit the road (and the dregs of the Jersey Turnpike), en route to Philly. This turned out to be the first time we played Philly that we didn't get cheesesteaks. Instead, we headed straight for King of Prussia where Matt's sister lives to take our first showers of the trip. It felt real nice. We headed for Johnny Brenda's, where once upon a time we played with Superdrag, before finally ending up The Fire for an early show. The last time we played there, it was just awful. This didn't look much more promising. But an encouraging set by a band out of Columbia, S.C., who hung during our set and were quite enthusiastic, put this show into good-feel territory. Actually, believe it or not, I'd venture to say it was the best show of the tour. We didn't make a dime, but we did get to hang at another cool bar afterward -- North 3rd -- where Scott couldn't keep his jaw from dropping at the erotic art.

A long drive home in pouring rain wasn't exactly my dream, but I had to get back to record vocals with Todd on Monday. Alas, he canceled on me! Good thing, too, because my throat is shot. I don't know what's going on, but it feels like I've got golf balls stuffed on the sides of my neck. Hopefully it clears up before this Monday, when we're giving it another shot. Before then, we've got the Dive Bar in Worcester on Saturday, where our buddy Jeremy takes care of us. He's hooking up a cool 4th of July show which we're on, up in Vermont, and already this summer is shaping up to be pretty darn cool. We just got added to Dewey Beach Popfest, which means good times are sure to follow. I'm still determined to keep tradition and have a four-year anniversary show -- maybe in late June. We'll see. Lots to consider...

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Anonymous scott said...

yeah those three cities were so itty-bitty that they belong in the itty-bitty city committee. but after all those cities, it's always nice to get back to good old "aladdin's friend, massachusetts." by the way...not to be a star wars nerd but it's R2D2, not RTD2 and even a huge trekkie such as yourself should know that.

11 March, 2009 09:06  
Anonymous glenn said...

that's a typo, and i will fix. but it's funny, i actually looked at that and wondered, is it rt-d2? with the hyphen. never thought of the number. r2d2. cool. i hate star wars.

11 March, 2009 09:18  
Anonymous scott said...

yeah and i hate star trek but to each his own.

11 March, 2009 09:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes! have the anniversary show not on 4th of july weekend!


11 March, 2009 17:11  
Blogger Chris said...

I thought you guys were playing the Dive on FRIDAY and not on SATURDAY. At least thats what the Myspace says.

11 March, 2009 21:55  
Anonymous glenn said...

crap, we are playing the dive on friday. im just an idiot. first the r2d2 thing, now this. i cant keep my shiz straight.

12 March, 2009 07:10  

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