Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Happy Day after St. Patrick's Day. Hopefully you are not reading this from a drunk tank deep in some forgotten precinct house. But, if you are, show your Irish strength by keeping all your vomit aimed toward the floor drain.
Woke up yesterday morning with the whole family out of the house and the special kind of quasi-hangover that comes after a long drive and little sleep. I had the day to see if I could fix some of the tech problems that cropped up in Boston. Not the most fun thing but I was looking forward to some assistance. My cousin and wonderful friend, John Hastie, had added an extra leg onto a work trip to swing into NYC for the night to watch the show. Other than our respective wives, John is the best friend the band has, having provided ridiculous support to us since forever. Good friendships must constantly be subjected to a street-test so John was roped into the afternoon of gear repair. Good to see you, John-o. (Good for me, if not for you.)
That project quickly killed the afternoon. Sunlight was fading from the sky by the time we were riding to the club. Tuesday's venue was NYC stalwart St. Vitus, an explicitly metal-themed bar/club on the north side of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We've played there a few times and I had a small bit of trepidation - the house sound guy, Nick, was competent but a real grouch. And while I figured the Jung Widows would be a draw, Tuesday night always seems like the worst night for a show. And of course we were a few minutes behind schedule. So ... we'd see how it all went. The experience of the previous few nights showed that we could roll with the punches when things got rough around the edges.
I'll save you the narrative suspense and say that Tuesday was about the best show we've ever had in NYC. No real tech issues, plenty of time to set up, a bunch of friends in the crowd and lots and lots of volume at our disposal. The path was clear and we just rode it hard. The thing that's so great about finally being able to just perform the music is that the songs, at last, are fully realized in a way they never had been before.
Let me see if I can explain this in a readable way. We write the songs and flesh them out, doing demo after demo in the process. Then, we practice the songs like crazy before committing them to tape. Once they've been documented and maybe practiced a few more times it's time to play them out at a one-off show here or there. And, all along the way, the music is either work to create or removed from the performance as it's being played back (not performed).
Have I lost you yet? Because if I haven't I'll move to last night to illustrate the difference. A song would start clicking off and the energy I felt was fluid and ready. And once the electricity really kicked in, I was hearing the music as music, not as "oh shit here's that part coming up that I always fuck up, take a deep breath." Best of all, I could feel my way around the songs and lyrics as we were playing, ad-libbing some stuff and acting out some of the fucked up carved into the lyrics. The music finally lives in those moments as a temporal experience. This experience is rare (for us) and wonderful. I had a blast.
Oh, and I should say: plenty of folks came early enough to see us. And Nick the sound guy! It's like someone switched him out with a super easy-going twin nice guy "hey whatever fellas we'll make it work". He'd had a bad night last time and was all super helpful smiles this time around. Throughout the night I kept bumping into folks I know or sorta know and they knew it'd been a good one for us. Abby, Thad's wonderful wife, even brought a few non-abrasive-music-scene friends from their neighborhood to "go see this band thing that Thad's in." No word yet if they liked it, but they at least got to see what we're all about mapped out quite clearly.
If I was someone's 73 year old Baptist aunt, this is the part of the story where I would say "it was truly a blessed night".
Shannon Wright was achingly great, Young Widows were authoritatively great, John Hastie stuck around to the bitter end of load-out and then he and I went out for 2AM Mexican breakfast. I'll go drop him off at the airport in a few minutes and then get the last of our shit together as Thad and I head out for real. DC tonight, and then south until we end at Atlanta on Saturday night.
I mean we are just so blessed.
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