Sunday, March 15, 2015
Last year I went to see Young Widows play at St. Vitus in Brooklyn, NYC. They are a thing to behold, crafting slithery and stark rock music that’s backed by custom amps and klieg lights. My ears and eyes were ringing for a bit after the show when I spotted their singer/guitarist Evan Patterson holding woozy court with 2 or 3 folks in the bar. We’d played a few shows with YW in the past so I stopped off to say howdy-do.
“Justin” said Evan. He rose from the barstool and I noticed that he had grown to 8 feet 3 inches tall since I’d seen him last as he moved in for the band hug. (People in the loud music scene hug a lot. It’s kinda nice.)
Through the smooth slur of whiskey he told me steadily “we should play some shows together.” Sure, I replied. That would be great. We chatted a bit more and I wandered outside to drive home thinking it was good to see Evan and his band. I knew I wouldn’t hear from him again.
Well, I was wrong. Because yesterday, AP bassist Thad Calabrese were barreling down the NJ Turnpike, trailer in tow and only 1/2 hour behind schedule. (Or maybe 45 or 75 min.) Evan had followed through and now we were set to join them for a week long tour. We’re the opening act, followed by Shannon Wright and YW up and down the US East Coast.
Our destination last night was a Philly club called the Boot and Saddle. On the plus side it had a two story tall sign in the shape of a fucked-up boot that hung off the front of the building. On the minus side, the folks who run the club were quite nervous as we arrived. The Widows (I will employ many different name for this band over the next few days to spice things up) were methodically pushing through soundcheck behind schedule and the club’s house sound dude was pulling at his wispy new beard and pointing at everything with an SPL app for this phone. “Oh dear oh dear we have had many sound complaints lately and there is a strict curfew at 11PM. Bother and worry oh dear oh dear”.
And guess who comes rolling in with box after box after box of sound making gear? The Austerity Program is who. Every time we rolled another round of stuff in the door guy would to sweat ever harder; I think I could actually hear his the action flow from his most personal ducts by the time we dropped the last amp cab in the room. “Uh, guys, uh … how are we going to make this work guys?
Things turned out as they always do, which is to say: just fine. We played at about 1/4 our decibel capacity and lopped a song off the set list. That, and the fact that we were in front of the YW gear on a small stage, made the set feel a bit like it would had I been dressed in a size 3T Frozen Elsa dress (don't ask). Still, we were fine enough for the first night out. Baby steps.
Out of protest notably only to myself, I did not watch either of the other bands in that space. Thad flitted in and out of the stage room while I aggressively talked the ear off anyone who happened to even glance at the merch table I was staffing. Fuck it, I thought. These people can think I'm hitting top mania in a bipolar swinger or that I'm on the meth; I don't care. I'm going to be an open book for the next few days because I get to play loud rock music to people who want to hear it night after night for a week.
I mean shit, if Zeus tosses you the keys to the barn for Pegasus, might as well dig in your spurs once you're in the saddle.
(Expect me to keep punishing these metaphors all week; you can always reply with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.")
Boston tonight. Great Scott. Really sad that we couldn't be for St. Patrick's Day. (No, I'm not really sad about that at all.)
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