Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keeping at it

Busy couple of weeks, personally and for the band. We started our Toad Tuesdays residency this month, playing the tiny bar. We also gave the Dive a go on Friday and played our buddies, Quixote's, CD release on Sunday at the Middle East. Let's do a quick take.

Saturday, June 6: Harpoon Summer Session. I went solo (or semi-solo, since old Jeff Katz joined me for a few songs) at this show since Mike was in Texas, though it would have been perfect for the band. People were milling about, getting drunk on the tasty Harpoon beer, and looking to rock. I think I actually played well enough, which was a welcome surprise, but it was missing the excitement of a full rock show. I did get to do a Neil Young song and some old man up front gave me two thumbs up before promptly turning and walking away (presumably to refill his beer). Also, I tried out "On Our Own," which Todd called the best song I did all night. I said, it's on "It's Gonna Change." He refused to believe me. A few days later, practicing with Matt and Scott, we gave it a go and it actually sounded pretty darn cool. So maybe we can re-work the song for Cassavettes, in the same way we reworked "Research Blvd" or "Like Secrets Beneath."
SET LIST (from memory): On Our Own / Golden Fleece / Okono Road / A Thousand Ways / Comes a Time / Ambivalent Farewells / Set Free / Broken Beaten & Blue / The Rain's Not Far Behind / Til the Wheels Fall Off / You Led Me Into Your Love

Tuesday, June 9: First Toad show. We have to scale things back because the bar is so small, but it's good practice for a band not so good at controlling stage volume. Nonetheless, things picked up, and according to multiple people in front of the stage, the sound was QUITE good. That's a plus. On stage, different story. It was murky, and we couldn't tell what was what. But as long as it sounded good OUT THERE...
SET 1: Madeline / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Ordinary Girls / Golden Fleece / Someday Darling / Research Blvd / On the Lam / The Devil's Arms / Whitewashed / Valley of Gold / Cedar
SET 2: A Hard Rain / Lights On / Debts / The Nadir / There's a Reason / St. Anthony / Seek Cover / Trouble From the Start / Shine a Light

Friday, June 12: Dive Bar, Worcester. People continue to drop off in the summer, with the back patio open. We were actually supposed to play the back patio since the weather was good, but an Irish festival next door thwarted our plans. No matter. It was a good time, and people were really positive. Unfortunately, I don't have a set list for you. The only surprise was our first attempt at a cover of "Alex Chilton" (and a surprisingly good version of "Glory Son" -- a song that hasn't been hanging too well lately).

Sunday, June 14: Quixote's CD release, Middle East Upstairs. Now THIS is what we're talking about. We finally got to rock. It's been over a year since we last played the Middle East Upstairs and it felt good after holding it all in to let it all out. We played a LOUD, crazy show that felt, well, right. But it wasn't out of control (though I did mix up the last few songs somehow, and throw our set clincher off). After initially starting to, oh, about 10 people, the place filled up and everyone was dancing and grooving by night's end. Made some new fans -- also had the weirdest buyer interaction ever. These dudes bought a couple shirts and CDs and looked really pissed at me, and when I put out my hand to shake, they snickered and walked off, like a couple of badasses. But why? They just bought our CD! Quixote put on a quick, yet megafun show. Those guys rule. Good night all around, even if I had to work early.

SET (from memory): Ordinary Girls / Lights On / Don't Get Me Wrong / Golden Fleece / On the Lam / Seek Cover / I Come From the Water / Cedar / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light

Tuesday, June 16: Toad, take two. This was far better. We were slightly louder, but it made all the difference. Far more comfortable on stage, and I hope it continues to grow. By the time we finished the set, the place was at capacity, which was cool (and not cool, since Jimmy Hank, Mikey and co. got turned away). Also, some dude who saw us in Brooklyn with Superdrag told him friend that in a year we'll be bigger than Kings of Leon, so they came to the show. That was awesome. Cool guys, fun to hang with. Also, it was the first time I remember feeling like we were really hitting a groove on the ballads, and the set didn't lose any momentum. We could have played this set at the Paradise and people would have been into it, if we got the groove this right. That's not tooting our own horn -- just charting progress.

SET 1: The Nadir / Madeline / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Ordinary Girls / Lights On / Empire Central / Seasons / Six Hours / On the Lam / Golden Fleece / The Devil's Arms / Valley of Gold / Cedar
SET 2: A Hard Rain / Research Blvd / Debts / Don't Get Me Wrong / Trouble From the Start / Whitewashed / St. Anthony / Someday Darling / There's a Reason / Seek Cover / Shine a Light

Anyhow, coming up, we've got Grumpie's on the Cape on Friday (bummer: we need to bring our own PA; nonbummer: it's on the Cape), Toad again the next two Tuesdays in June, and of course the big Fourth of July campout in Vermont. Get your tickets soon. That one's going to be wild. Somewhere in between this mess, I have to move. Ay yi yi, it's looking pretty nutty.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you feel about Pete Yorn?

17 June, 2009 10:48  
Anonymous glenn said...

well, weird comment, first off, but second, i like him ok. had "music for the morning after" and really liked it a lot. saw him live a few years back with derrick, and it was one of the worst, most sponsored shows ive ever seen. grandaddy played too. just awful performance. but nowadays, my buddy tod's brother plays bass for him, so hes cool by me. havent kept up though.

17 June, 2009 10:58  
Anonymous scott said...

todd's brother plays bass for pete yorn?

17 June, 2009 14:36  

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