For my 2nd entry into State of Mind's Best Songs of 2012 collection, I present to you, with a tinge of Top 40 Music Videos Countdown Nostalgia, M.I.A.'s "Bad Girls". This song & music video (yes, they still make music videos!) are "a PSA for Saudi Arabia's ban on female drivers."
Friday, December 28, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
State of Mind Magazine has asked me to help pick the Best Songs of 2012!
First up, is "the theme for everyone who dies a little on the inside, each time they have to write another customized cover letter":
Todd Snider's, "In Between Jobs". Can you dig it? Read on!
First up, is "the theme for everyone who dies a little on the inside, each time they have to write another customized cover letter":
Todd Snider's, "In Between Jobs". Can you dig it? Read on!
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/9/12: The Capitol Theatre, Portchester, NY
11/10/12: The Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ
The Capitol Theatre
And now moe.! But first-- Hurricane Sandy -> No Power/Heat -> Time Change -> 1 week of insane hours at work to catch up from the lost time and simultaneously wrap project / Election Night -> hangover (nh) -> Lyle Lovett -> I got out of work really late on Friday and didn't get to the Cap until moe. were almost done with the first set. FUUUUUCK. I knew I'd be late, but was hoping they open with Plane Crash or Blue Jeans Pizza (YEAH, WHAT?). They didn't. Amongst other things, I missed Flo, Pit, Shoot First. Also, my friends were already shitfaced and I had to catch up, which as it turned out, wasn't so hard, because I hadn't eaten dinner. If I had to choose between tacos or Jazz Wank from the chuck.side bar line again, I'd probably choose Jazz Wank from the chuck.side bar line-- or, check this out-- the Cap can start selling tacos from the chuck.side bar, and then EVERYBODY WINS!! My adrenaline was kickin'. I was trying to settle down and warm up-- Buster was very much doing the job, and suddenly it was setbreak *insert sound of brakes screeching*. We all saw that coming. Timing is everything.
Did I mention Screaming Chicken himself was onstage? Yes, the Original Screaming Chicken, 2011 moe.ville Mayoral Candidate and brainchild of el Herno, was being proudly displayed on Rob's amp. How did he get there? So happy you asked-- you see, after the election in 2011 (where we all know, Screaming Chicken was TOTALLY ROBBED), Rob got so fed up with his screaming ass, that he went into a blind rage, and violently flung him offstage. Legend has it that the person who retrieved Screaming Chicken, was one Jon Dindas, who now runs the Capitol Theatre. And so, Rob and Screaming Chicken, Sr., met again, and it seems like they have worked some shit out, cuz they were getting along much better this time around.
- el Herno
Chuck Screaming Chickens Rob, and no one gets punched in the face!
Set II got lit up with Threw It All Away, Suck a Lemon, Time Ed -> YOY. Sometime during that -> we lost Hern, Screaming Chicken made his Capitol Theatre debut on vocals, and I spied a wee spot on the chuck.side rail, glinting just so in the lights. I waited for what felt like a reasonable amount of time before relocating. My friends should be aware by now that if I disappear during a great part of the show, to check the chuck.side rail, which is exactly where I ended up during the Spine -> Time Ed -> Spine sandwich. Oooh, but it always happens--- to the point where I wasn't even surprised this time, so I finally claim some rail estate and they fucking break into -> Plane Crash. Without fail. Well, at least there was the encore-- and a super sick encore it was at that. In your face SOMP, then some fun Z0Z action -> raging Spaz Rx -> Z0Z. Wowza!
Al relating to the moe.rons.
Fun night at the Capitol Theatre. The sound was great, the vibe was really fun, the balcony could have been fuller, but overall, I'm totally digging this renovated and reopened historical venue, that could really use some tacos.
The Light Design gets it's own paragraph-- in addition to a band's regular rig, to supplement the experience, the Cap has a really cool in-house light system that projects images onto the walls and ceiling in an entertaining and sometimes psychedelic way (think Laser-Floyd w/ modern technology and awesome). I recall at some point a massive amount of floating eyeballs filling the walls, which was pretty neat. They did not use the floating eyeballs during the Lyle Lovett show. Eyeballs probably wouldn't have worked for Lyle. They could have projected an image of a lonely Texas desert road onto the walls to set the scene-- but apparently Lyle didn't want any supplemental lights. Anyways, the Light Design is really cool and there's lots of room to play with it, is what I'm getting at.
Oh, and was kind of hoping to hear Lyle Lovett, just to be able to say here that, "I heard Lyle Lovett two days in a row at the Cap." Oh well.
11/9/12, Capitol Theatre, Portchester, NY
I: Rainshine, Don't Fuck With Flo > The Pit > Shoot First, Lazarus, Jazz Wank > Buster
II: Smoke > (nh) Threw It All Away, Suck A Lemon, Time Ed > Y.O.Y. > Spine Of A Dog > Time Ed > Spine Of A Dog > Plane Crash
Enc: Seat Of My Pants, Zed Naught Z > Spaz Medicine > Zed Naught Z
(download link TBD)
You know what was awesome? There was no wait to fill up my gas tank on this Even day. And-- ANNND-- I made it to the show on time! Fantastic!!
Ten minutes before showtime, the Wellmont was absolutely packed. The floor was already a sea of people. The venue was already on the warm-side (good for those who still lacked heat/power, also good for those of us still trying to get our Bone Marrow back to avg. body temp). And after a long day of do-gooding^ in
It was too noisy back by the bar, so after checking out both edges of the floor, I ended up front/al.side for the duration of Rebubula. When Hi & Lo started, I couldn't fucking deal with being way out on the wing anymore, and slid my way into the al.side/rob.zone. I made some very cool new friends, met some other interesting people with way more energy than me, and simultaneously rocked out there for the rest of the set. Bullet drew a huge singalong. Tambourine was fucking SMOKING. Shit was getting hot on the floor. There was a lot of energy being released in the crowd. moe. were providing a well-deserved break from reality in that classic moe. way. The room was electrified. Great rest of the set.
Setbreak brought with it some shmoozing and a change of scenery: the balcony. Sitting after a very tiring two weeks sounded pretty awesome at that particular moment. Don't get pissy-- I stood right up when the band came back out, and a few minutes later, moved into some empty real estate: dead center, in the front row of the balcony. moe.symmetry (symmoe.try?). I am disappointed in my fellow moe.rons that this space wasn't already occupied, but also-- thank you for that. Four was so fucking sweet to my ears- it felt good-- beautiful. Oh, Chucky... -> a really super Mexico-- one of those Mexico's that you're like, "I've heard Mexico a million fucking times, but this Mexico is a SWEET fucking Mexico." Then a minute later you're like, "Fuck yeah, Al." and you start singing along. -> a delightful St. Augustine, and Downward Facing Dog, with moe. absolutely going to town on that dirty 2nd half-- just huge. Opium was nice and tingly, before they had some fun -> Meat, which rocked the back walls of the Wellmont. I wasn't sure how they could top or add to that set with any encore-- though, Godzilla would have been perfect ("There goes Tokyo…" just sayin'). Instead it was a New York City, which-- cute, but ehh. Whatever. KILLER FUCKING moe. SHOW!
Two fantastic shows. I needed that. The 'burbs needed that. AMURRICA NEEDED THAT. Thanks, moe.. You so good to us, baby.
moe., Bridge & Tunnel Tour 2012: 11/9/12, Capitol Theatre, Portchester, NY & 11/10/12, Wellmont Theatre, Monclair, NJ: 9.6 HUZZAHS!!!!! I may have to go to Maine for NYE^^.
11/10/12, Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ
I: Rebubula, Hi & Lo > Bullet, Tambourine, Paper Dragon, Not Coming Down > George
II: Four > Mexico > St. Augustine, Downward Facing Dog, Opium > Meat
Enc: New York City
(download link TBD)
SLIDESHOW & HI-RES GALLERY
^ Rob drove an SUV of donated disaster-relief supplies down from Maine, cuz he's dreamy.
^^ I attended a few moe. NYE's before The Great Flyers Skate Zone Debacle of 2000, after which I swore moe. NYE off completely-- so even considering it, at least symbolically, is huge.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
"It's very heady. People that are going to be moshing around probably won't get any of this, but the heads will get it". - Les Claypool
Primus docked their 3D Tour at a packed Hammerstein in October and met the NYC crowd with some of their darkest jamming ever. Audience members were issued 3D Glasses after passing through the equivalent of a TSA search at the door (I was groped in a non-enjoyable way), and while we all knew the interactive theme of the night (the Tour also featured quadraphonic surround sound), none of us really knew what to expect. They were switching up the setlists and catering each experience to each venue. Does that mean the people in Rhode Island didn't get the Elephants bouncing on trampolines IN THEIR FACE like we did during Southbound Pachyderm? Cuz that was pretty cool. I mean, Elephants on trampolines. Providence missed out.
The size of the Hammerstein dwarfed the size of the screen in back of the dimly lit band, but from the 1st Mezz, we were able to watch a lot of the fun graphics reach out and dance above the audience on the floor. It started out really basic- like old skool Windows Screensaver style. It would not have been surprising to see a flying toaster pop up. However, as the show progressed, the graphics got more fun and the imagery more trippy. With each new effect, came a different reaction from the audience- most of whom were "glued to the set". I found the basic Fractal pretty satisfying, but the floating wedges of cheese were also fantastic. There was an Iridescent Lee Van Cleef layered on top of an old Western style building for Lee Van Cleef. But by far, the crowd favorite was an enormous FLOCK OF BIRDS that came SWOOOSHING across the screen and around the room towards the end of the night. AAAAGGGH!!!! BIRDS!!!!
Setbreak included some classic Popeye cartoons (they've been doing this for at least a year now) that kept the crowd entertained. About the 2nd song into the 2nd set, I couldn't deal with sitting anymore^ (the Mezz was all GA seating) and found a nice spot in front of a Mezz column, so I could properly Rock. There was some moshing up towards the front of the floor, spontaneous mosh pits here-and-there for some of the heavier moments, and a few crowd surfers, but as far as Primus crowds go-- it was a pretty well-behaved Primus crowd. I'm still glad we were in the Mezz.
I alternated between glasses/no-glasses about 50/50 all night. Some of that was out of concern for getting a migraine and/or Pink Eye, and the other part was because I actually wanted to watch the band, who were FUCKING KILLING IT. Primus were exploring deep, dark, evil jams. Les was relentless and was just letting us have it. Lal was shredding each lick as much as every solo. And Jay (who was not wearing glasses, "because he'll vomit") was making sense of it all. The sound where we were was slammin'. It was unbelievably fun.
Primus 3D Tour, 10/19/12, Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC:
Setlist No. 6 of the 3D Tour
-New York, NY (10/19/12)
1. American Life
2. Prelude to a Crawl
3. Last Salmon Man
4. Frizzle Fry
5. Over the Falls
6. Lee Van Cleef
7. Eyes of the Squirrel
8. Hamburger Train
9. Del Davis Tree Farm
10. Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
11. The Return of Sathington Willoughby
12. Moron TV
13. Southbound Pachyderm
14. Eternal Consumption Engine
15. Glass Sandwich
16. Jilly's on Smack
17. Hats Off
18. Over the Electric Grapevine
19. Hello Skinny
-(The Residents cover)
20. Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
22. Tommy the Cat
Brooklyn Vegan's got some awesome pics of the night. CHECK 'EM OUT!
^^ Points given for getting to hang out with my Metalhead buddies Heinz & Cif. Thanks to their wives for lending them out for the night.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Over the Summer, State of Mind Music asked me to interview Yonder Mountain String Band's Ben Kaufmann. The resulting Conversation was an open, honest, and sometimes silly look at what makes the Bass Player tick these days. It was a fun chat that took some unexpected twists & turns, so I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed wrangling it!
Monday, October 1, 2012
Free tickets to a rock show and I can help save the world? Sign me up! The Global Citizen Festy blew through NYC's Great Lawn on Saturday night, bringing with it some stellar musical acts, and some mandatory Celebutantes. Free tickets were issued via a really clever lottery system- users had to login to the Festival's website and earn "points" by watching videos, reading materials, signing petitions, and sharing links on social media sites. Or by, "watching videos", "reading materials", "signing petitions", and "sharing links on social media sites". Either way, really clever. A first entry was issued when you earned 3 points (it may have been 1 point just to create a user profile), and you could earn each additional entry by collecting 5 more points. I actually did watch some really interesting and beautifully produced videos on well-digging in poor African villages, gender equality around the world, and nutrition (thrown in there for good-measure and 3 more points) in their entirety. If you actually pay attention to the shitstorm that is reality, none of this is new information-- the good folks at Global Citizen are just trying to (Step 1) spread awareness of these seemingly insurmountable issues and educate people about the existing and sometimes easily implementable solutions to many of these major problems, (Step 2) throw a Music Festival, and eventually (Step 3) Save the World. It's based on the Underpants Gnome business model: Steal Underpants -> ? -> Profit! I have a Degree in this Horribly Depressing Shit, and there's a reason I chose to work in TV instead (what was I thinking?? Global Poverty = Job Security!!!)-- because these issues are in fact Horribly Depressing Shit and we're pretty much doomed, BUT, maybe this was my chance to pitch back in, by doing what I do best: ROCKING OUT.
This was my first show on the Great Lawn and I was forewarned-- in addition to splitting the park East/West (once you enter through the East or West gate, you're stuck on that side of the Lawn), they section the lawn off into various "Pens" as people file in (I believe there were 8 "Pens" total, for 60k people = 7500/Pen*). It's smart for crowd control, but shitty if you want to find your friends that got there 3 hours ahead of you. The Joyhams came down from the North Country and showed up before 2PM, found parking, and were sequestered into Pen #1 on the West Side. We were lazy, took our time in el Barrio, and got to the East Gate a little before 5:20PM. Then, it was a good 15-20 minute hike into the park (Band of Horses serenaded us in) before we finally got our tickets scanned and were enclosed into the back of Pen # 4. We were Center Court. It would have been nicer to be closer to the stage, but not getting there super early was also nice, and we didn't have to fight any crowds where we were, so it was all cool. Besides, there were plenty of monitors showing Band of Horses being totally mellow, spacey, and groovy. In-between sets, those same monitors showed dramatic out-of-focus solar-flared shots of infant hands reaching into the abyss as educational videos directed our attention to the important issues at hand. Oh yah, I had almost forgotten the message of the day!
Corralled into Pen #4
Wait, what was the message of the day? I decided to take the opportunity to go pee, which is when I saw the horrendous lines for food/beverages and the port-a-potties. There were at least 300+ people on line for food that was being sold at one stand, and there were at least 200 people converging on 16 or so bathrooms. Such long waits for food, water, and the bathrooms-- so inconvenient. Wait a second, was this to teach us some sort of sick lesson? Ohh, Global Citizen-- now I get it! Now, I can finally relate!
I spent a good 30 minutes in line to pee, 20 minutes of which I got to listen to the Black Keys play their Loud Dirty Fucking Guitar Blues Rock. Their chemistry is phenomenal. At least I could hear it loud and clear.
I also decided to try and find a water-bottle refilling station, as the tickets plainly stated that we could bring in empty water bottles with tops, but not factory sealed water bottles. I inquired with some very nice Staffers and NYPD, but there were no refillable water-bottle stations in our assigned Pen. In fact, the only refillable water-bottle station was way back at the entrance to the East Gate, which we had walked past on our hike in-- but we were not allowed to go back to it now, even to refill some water-bottles. No-- the only place to get water within the Pen, was the aforementioned food vendor with the 300+ person line. Walking barefoot for a mile in the jungle while being stalked by Jaguars/Poachers/Rapists and contracting Malaria would have taken considerably less time.
Strangely, I happened to walk over to the recycling bin to toss my now useless empty water bottle into, and spied an entire case of water sitting on the ground next to it. This water was probably for Staffers, but as the rules of ethics go, it was fair game for dehydrated people like myself. So I grabbed one before bolting back to the Lawn to enjoy the rest of the Black Keys' killer set. Because that is how the world really works: Looting.
45 minutes of the Black Keys is a tease, luckily they packed as much punch into their set as possible. This was by far the Best Set of the Day. And as a HUGE bonus, the giant monitors showed a closeup of Ben (one-half of our beloved Joyhams) totally rocking out in his bear-hat for about 10 glorious seconds! Afterwards, Olivia Wilde or some other drunk model/actress (they all look the same to me) came out to talk ernestly about gender equality by reading off a teleprompter-- ehhh... they couldn't get Kristen Schaal? Rachel Maddow?? Someone entertaining?! And then John Legend made a surprise cameo and played John Lennon's Imagine-- cute.
The sun set, and it was time for--- The Foo Fighters! They started things out a bit mellow with Times Like These, and then played a short festival set of their Greatest Hits (no Rope???). And goddamn, I love 'em, but this night, something seemed a bit off with the Foos. Perhaps it was because I was so far from the stage. Or maybe it's because the cool Merry Melodies-like Global Citizen Fest circular stage design was blocking their entire light show and I hadn't noticed that glitch until it got dark out. Or maybe it's because I don't want to hear all their hits, I want to hear all their in-betweens, because that is how they rocked my face off and made such a huge impression the last time I saw them live. Or maybe it was because I was really fucking hungry by now and just wanted some tacos. But... and I can't believe I am saying this. I was kind of disappointed in the Foo's set. My attention span was gone and I wasn't feeling it. And then Dave Grohl announced that they didn't have any more shows planned and this was it for now. People began to speculate about whether or not we had just witnessed The Foo Fighters break up, but I've seen bands "break up" before and play their "last show"-- this felt like neither. My gut tells me they have no more scheduled commitments, and it's hiatus and/or family time for the band. It's doubtful the Foo Fighters would permanently go out on an 8-song-just-the-hits set right after the chick who sucks Justin Bieber's cock gives a speech on behalf of starving children.
During set-change, a substantial chunk of the crowd left. There was also an inspiring presentation about how Polio is almost completely eradicated and how with the proper support, we can end it in this generation. That's pretty fucking cool. Fuck Polio. And that led into Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse's set, which was incredibly appropriate, as we all learned that Neil is actually a Polio survivor.
My first memories of Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse are from my HS Sculptor Teacher, Mr. Martin, aka, "Marty", who was an electric guitar wielding hippie with a shrine to both Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse and Jimi Henrix across the walls of his classroom. I wonder if he was at the show? Neil & the Horse got on and ripped out some distorted, crunchy, shreddy guitar licks, and essentially jammed the fuck out of a beautiful night in Central Park.
I'll be honest, about halfway through his set we couldn't stop thinking about tacos. Prior to this we had been changing Foo Fighters lyrics into lyrics about tacos. "There goes my tacoooo, watch it how it burnnns!" And by now we had begun to do the same thing with Grandpa (mad respeck) Neil. "I want to walk like a ta-co on the laaaa-aaand". It was time to take the message of the festival seriously. We had to take action immediately and stop at least 3 people's (ours) dire starvation, so we (poignantly) headed out of the park on a mission that would only be completed once we reached el Barrio and filled our bellies with nurishing taco-y goodness.
We thought this was a Taco Truck. You can see why we would be confused.
Finally! The Taco Solution!
We did our part to end world hunger (3 people down, 1 billion to go!), and you can too-- please visit Global Citizen to learn about the various ongoing campaigns designed to help find and implement solutions to end extreme poverty (including taco shortages) around the globe.
Global Citizen Festival, 9/29/12, Central Park, NYC: 6.8 HUZZAHS!!
* Not including VIP section, who only represented 1% of the crowd, and of course, 99% of the world's problems.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Remember in College (or any other time, if you're an alcoholic) when someone would have the great idea to drill a hole in a Watermelon and pour an entire bottle of vodka in it? That's how I felt after completing the moe.down xiii -> 3 crazy nights of God Street Wine in NYC run. Except that the Watermelon was my head, and the marinade was Don Julio Blanco. For a refresher in the moe.down xiii recap, so you can get on the same page as my incredibly fragile physical and mental state at the time of these GSW shows, you can read the review. It's thoroughly entertaining, but if you're not interested in the minute complexities, the important points were:
- moe. were fucking awesome.
- I abandoned God Street Wine and will never forgive myself.
- Broccoli Rob is Good For You.
It usually takes a full week (at least) to recover from moe.down and it's particular brand of "exposure to the elements" (a customized combination of Substance Abuse, physical exhaustion, & actual "exposure to the elements" [dust storms, hurricanes, flurries, the occasional passing tornado… true story].). I didn't have a full week. I had two days. Two days over which I barely slept, before being hurled right back into the Live Music Trenches. Brain already Fried. Still hungover.
My love-affair with God Street Wine has been going on for 19+ years now. There's no need to go into the story-- the point is: they're my boys. Not seeing GSW the previous week in California had definitely taken it's toll on my well-being. A couple of band members were sweet enough to keep me on-the-level via email correspondence while I was at moe.down, which definitely helped get me through the weekend without completely succumbing to the unprecedented Separation Anxiety I was experiencing. However, the haunting CU image of Lo Faber singing Epilog via the TRI Stream on Thursday night had already been burned into my ears & eyes, and tortured me for much of the weekend. The guilt of not being there in person was eating away at my insides. And here it was-- finally-- the morning of the first GSW NYC show of 2012, and I was too nervous/excited/anxious to eat, cuz I really thought I might puke if I did. I don't recall being this stressed the last time they played in 2010.
My reasoning behind starting the night with a Bloody Mary was that if I could tie on a buzz, I could probably eat, and I needed to eat to get through the show, therefore, logically, I needed to tie on a buzz. So the Bloody Mary -> Chicken Pot Pie at Molly's (appropriate) was simply about nutrition and pacing myself. I did burn the roof of my mouth on the first bite. This happens more often than not. It's fine, though-- I cauterized it with Vodka.
It was dinner -> GSW. There was absolutely no fucking around outside of that. Fucking around outside of that leaves more room for getting hit by a cab while crossing an additional intersection and then missing all 3 shows, and how shitty would that feel? There would be no relaxing until I was inside the Gramercy Theater. Or so I thought, cuz then I ran into Lo on the street and got a most wonderful and loving hug, which made me feel better instantly. Approximately 90% of my stress and guilt melted away right there on the Northeast corner of Lex and 23rd. We crossed that last street together (I'm not trying to be poetic or a shithead here-- this actually fucking happened). No one got hit by a Cab (I may have almost gotten hit by a bus, but that might have been a different night). Annnd, breathe.
We got into the Gramercy and I enjoyed my first of many line-free trips to the Ladies Room. Ahh, so spacious! I took my time peeing, because I could. Once inside the actual theater, I couldn't go 5 feet without stopping to say 'hi' to people. It's definitely a reunion for Winos. I saw people I hadn't seen in 15+ years. And also people I hadn't seen in 2 years. And still others I hadn't seen in days. The air was buzzing with excitement. A.D.D.'s a real bitch, so not only was I unable to hold conversations longer than 30 seconds, but I also didn't know what to do with myself for the remaining 30 minutes before the band got on. I quickly admitted defeat and started drinking tequila from my camping flask.
The Seinfeld Theme was their walk-out music. Nice touch. And to answer everyone's pressing question, "What are they going to open with in NYC?" It was Nightingale. None of you guessed that. You were all wrong. Your nerd logic did not predict it. You lose. None of that matters, though. God Street Wine from New York City, welcomed all of us back to God Street Wine in New York City.
I was ALL IN. The biggest adjustment for me, however-- and let's just tackle this right now-- was that the 5 original/core members of the group: Lo Faber & Aaron Maxwell (Guitars), Jon Bevo (Keys), Tomo (Drums), & Dan Pifer (Bass), were now joined by 3 extra bodies: The obnoxiously talented Multi-Instrumentalist and later-days GSW guest fixture, Jason Crosby, Percussionist, John "Woody" Wood, and Vocalist, Lizzy "Loves" Friel, providing Backups and sequined zazz. They were fantastic, but I would be lying if I said I was overly enthusiastic about the idea of long-term sit-ins. Call me a "Purist" (or an "asshole", whatever), but if I had my druthers, since it's a rare occasion that GSW actually get together to do a string of shows like this-- I would prefer to experience as much steamlined, concentrated, blue-blooded God Street Wine as possible during that short amount of time. It's been 4 years of shows after not playing together for almost a decade, and I'm just not generous enough to want to share so much of their time onstage. So, we can at least all agree that I'm selfish. Anyways, I do appreciate what amazing musicians GSW chose to share their stage with, and they were great, and lots of fun, which is why my face hurt from smiling and my body hurt from rocking out so hard, but my point is, I don't think it was necessary to add so many extra bodies 80% of the time. Maybe, start slow, and go with 20-30% of the time.
As I continue to rant: The fact is, classic GSW features an intimate relationship between 5 core musicians who have nurtured their Art into a Science. There's volatile chemistry bubbling around up there. With 8 people, there was almost too much going on at times. A lot of the time it's just as much about what's not being played, as it is about what is being played, at any given moment. I loved the additional layers on some songs, and not so much on others, where extra layers only called attention to the fact that there were extra layers, if that makes any sense (are you still fucking reading this?). When I hear Drums filling in interesting gaps, the Wino in me really wants it to be Tomo playing the rim of his snare and splintering the shit out of a stick. And when I hear a chick singing backup, I look up and expect to see Dan. But at the end of my horribly bitchy rant here (Doug Stanhope has a whole bit about stupid opinionated bloggers, and if this were about Doug Stanhope, he'd totally fucking hate me, but Doug, if you googled your name at 3AM while drunk in a hotel room in Sweden and you are out of mixers so you are drinking Vodka with Blueberry Yogurt and are reading this: I love you and you're totally right-- I suck-- but GSW already know I'm a terrible person and still accept me, which is why our relationship works.), I can at least take comfort in the fact that this strange compulsion they still have to constantly rework things and add more and more to music that is already so incredibly beautiful as it is, is, and always has been, "in classic God Street Wine fashion" (™).
Anyways, they opened with Nightingale. FIRST SONG (you still with me?). I hung out in the seats and tried to shut up my brain with drugs (I mean, did you read the last two fucking paragraphs? I need to lighten up. Seriously.). Vanity Street got me a little giddy and I made my way down to the floor. They seemed a bit nervous and were definitely feeling around, warming up, and settling into place. But it didn't take too much longer, cuz they totally kicked into gear during Mile x Mile, and after that there was no turning back. 6:15 elevated it some more and this was the turbo-charge for the rest of the night. Ballroom was delightful and featured a grand singalong, which the band, of course, ate up. Electrocute was delicious. Stranger was so beautiful. I love the song more each time I hear it. Weird Dream -> Imogene (now imagine Aaron screaming, "Yeah!" at the end of the song and that's all you need to know). YEAH!
Set II started off with the 5 original GSW members for the first 3 songs. Molly got everyone back on track. Hungry Again was just fucking fantastic- this was on my wish list. Still smiling from it. Still singing it in the car 3 weeks later. Stupid Hat was LIT UP. Lightning in a bottle! They capitalized on it by adding a smashing Wendy. The crowd was ALL IN. Some chick next to me (who made her husband stand in back of me because I was "having a better time" than him) said she was heading up front to dance in front of Lo, and by doing so, she risked ruining her marriage. That was awesome. Silver slowed things down and gave kind of a breather before they dove headfirst into Cheap Utah Blues. Shit got down and DIRTY. There was some nasty Rock going on here. Hellfire got demented and dark. Super GSW NYC magic appeared in the air. Warm In Here was ever-so-lovely and embraced everyone in the room. As per Lo's Rock Opera, Friday Night Freakshow, this song is about Aliens, but it still made me cry. When they sang the chorus, I felt like GSW were forgiving me for going to moe.down instead of California, and welcoming me back where I belong, as one of their own. Bring Back the News worked the crowd back into a frenzy and gave us the opportunity for another singalong.
The Encore was Harry Nilsson's (Badfinger -> Mariah Carey) Without You (cute), and then the Twin Peaks Theme Song, which was completely lost on me. But then a fun little Upside Down-Inside Out -> one of the most killer covers of the Talking Heads' Cross Eyed and Painless I've ever fucking heard. GSW covered this back in the day and I'm glad they busted it back out, cuz people think Phish's version is the bomb-- they're all "Phish, blah, blah, blah, etc.", but in truth: fuck Phish. Seriously. Fuck them. GSW own this song, the same way they own the Beatles' A Day In the Life. OWN IT. Desert Island Disc territory. And then a path back to one of the all time favorite GSW closers, Get On The Train-- which is how I knew they were finally done for the night.
I couldn't believe I'd have to wait another 20 hours to it again. Lots of folks headed downstairs to the lounge to gather their thoughts and collect their brains. After a brief encounter with a slurring drunk, close-talking, 45 year old, which by the grace of God Street Wine I somehow escaped, I left to have late-night dinner with some folks, including a very dear friend (15 year old me probably dreamed about that late-night dinner), and completed the sobering up process (please note: a Bloody Mary to start the night was not the smartest approach). By the time I got home at 4AM, I had already accepted that it was going to be one of those 3-night-weekends when I wouldn't be going to sleep until sunrise. At least I had the foresight to take all those Deep Drags. I'll be here all week, folks.
Mile By Mile->
Hungry Again +
Stupid Hat +
Cheap Utah Blues
Strange as it Seems
Warm in Here
Bring Back the News
Upside Down-Inside Out->
Cross Eyed and Painless
Get On the Train
+ = just the original 5 members, w/o Jason, Lizzie, and Woody
# = starts out with the original 5, and Jason, Lizzie and Woody come in to fill out the rest of the song.
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Scott Bernstein's AUD:
Victor Cornette's SBD:
Thank you, Scott & Victor!
I probably woke up at 1PM. I probably went back to sleep. Eventually I did get out of bed, and when I did, I was walking on air. -> Back in the city by 5PM and ready for pregame. Since I didn't get sick or die the previous night, another Molly's dinner gave me a sense of security. So, we went back for more of the same, sans the Bloody Mary (see above: bad idea), and now joined by more Winos. More Winos included my friend Caroline, a Wino from back in the day, who after relocating from NYC to Florida, not only missed the 2010 GSW shows, but also the 2009 Pavement shows, despite swearing she'd hop on a plane and be at both. She recently moved back to NYC, but I still didn't believe she'd make it all the way from Brooklyn to Manhattan, until she was sitting right there, swearing she'd make it the 3 additional blocks to the Gramercy. "I'll believe it when I see it."
-> Gramercy. PHEW. Again. A little bit of stress. All was well, though. The Mets Poet, Frank Messina opened the show by reading a poem called Rhythm Vacuum. I think the last poem I heard of his was "Psycho Bitch", back when he appeared with Jon Bevo's Love Orchestra in January. This one sounded more seductive and romantic. It may have included the word "wine".
No matter. It left the crowd confused enough that Caroline and I were able to slide right down to front Bevo Side. Earlier in the day I had been informed by an informant that I may want to be up close for the first song. It was Epilog. It was nice to be up close. Much better than suffering through Separation Anxiety and watching on an iPhone. 10 feet, is in fact better than 3000 miles, even if there is a live video stream from the camera that's shoved all up in Lo's grill. It felt warmer here. And then I stopped being sappy because Hammer and Spike turned the room into a fucking madhouse. It was time to dance! Friday night's crowd was ready to throw down. Then, FINALLY, I got my Funny Kinda Love^!!! THANK YOU!! That is what I'm talking about! This may have been when Dan started dancing-- there was an actual specific moment when Dan just started dancing around, doing his Dan Dance and making his Dan Faces, and seeing him get into that groove and hit that point of Dan-ness-- it really felt like we had been transported back to 1993. I really liked having him closer to the crowd this time around, instead of placed in the back the whole time, hiding from his Fan Club of screaming girls. Some day, maybe he'll line back up, right next to Lo & Aaron.
Fortress of Solitude cast it's beautiful haze over the crowd and Caroline called GSW the 90's Steely Dan, which was the 2nd time I had heard that sentiment in as many days. -> Call It Love. Mookie sang the first line, "Well, you're lookin' so wild…" and Caroline let out this audible swooning sigh--- her heart was aflutter. It was totally a Tigerbeat Magazine Moment. There's no doubt: Aaron's still got it. Then I lost it, cuz they started Chop!, which was also on my wish list, and which Tomo didn't even remember existed during the 2010 shows. The front section of audience was populated by a good amount of females over all 3 nights, and I believe our presence up there encouraged the band to play better. It's just a theory. Anyways, if you want to get some girls to dance, you play Chop!. They did. We did. It was awesome. 'nuff said. A super funky Other Shore (this definitely contained Dan Dancing) -> a fucking huge Henrietta -> screaming crowd. FIRST SET. What. The. Fuck.
The momentum was so magical, the setbreak felt like a TIME OUT. Like, *PAUSE* Okay, go pee, get a drink, get your head together, and we are going to continue this momentarily. Back in the day, God Street Wine used to worry about people leaving during setbreak. That is no longer an issue, because time has weeded out the half-assed. This is Wino Natural Selection at work.
SET II. Where could this possibly go next? They started back up as Dos Heteros (Lo & Aaron) on Thirsty. I do love the duo, and it sounded great, of course, but they should save the duo stuff for the duo shows. Not while the rest of the band is actually in the room. The other boys came back on and they kicked right into gear with a funky Change Your Mind, and then a super dirty Dirty Little Secret. Jason come out to join them for She Comes Up Softly (which slowed down the vibe) and a great Crazy Head (which picked the vibe right back up). I was never a huge fan of the album, Red, and it's been a looong while since I've heard Girl On Fire, but I did remember it, and it was pretty fantastic. Glad they pulled it out of storage. -> Drive West, which will always get the room stirred up, and did. -> same thing for Gretchen, especially in a room full of Jersey folks-- it's a killer. -> sweet and feel good Diana. Goddamn, they sounded good.
The Encore started out with a delightful Edgar, which they re-debuted at Joe's Pub last year, and sounds even awesomer as a full, plugged-in band. With Drums. Yes. Then Tomo took the Vocal helm on the Dead's Disco jaunt, Feel Like a Stranger. I am not a Dead fan, but this was pretty cool. I can deal. Then goddamn motherfucking Home Again with Aaron being Aaron and I started crying again. That bastard. He makes Caroline Swoon, he makes me Cry. Serious Rockstar moves. Whatever. And then, out of nowhere, a fucking BRILLIANT cover of the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again. So so good. Never expected that. Jebus. Did that just happen? Unreal. Unbelievable. GSW MAGIC. My face hurt from smiling. Crazy EXCITEMENT. What. The. Fuck.
Epic God Street Wine show. And that's exactly what I told Lo before he snuck out into the night to try and figure out how the hell they were possibly going to come close to, or top what had just happened.
On this evening, a slurring-drunk, close-talking, 45 year old on a sugar rush claimed that I worked at Mexicali ("I don't"), accused me of lying about not working there ("Why would I lie about that?"), and informed me that not only had I sat him at tables before ("I have never worked there."), I had also danced with him one night ("I can assure you, that never happened. There's not enough Tequila in Jersey.")^^. I can't recall how I made the escape, but no sooner did I sneak into the other room and start chatting with Jason Crosby, than a slurring-drunk, close-talking 35 year old got in both our faces. Lucky for me, this one was focused on Jason.
Some folks were trying to get me to go see the live Phish stream from San Francisco, but I only had two words for them: Fuck Phish. These nights were about GSW, not Phish. NO SHARING!
Whether it's getting home from work or a show, it always takes me a while to unwind, no matter how late it is. Which is why I didn't get to sleep until 6AM. I would definitely have gotten to sleep sooner if I had eaten some bacon.
Frank Messina Poem: Rhythm Vacuum
Hammer and Spike
Funny Kinda Love
Fortress of Solitude ->
Call it Love
Other Shore ->
Change Your Mind +
Dirty Little Secret +
She Comes Up Softly $
Crazy Head $
Girl on Fire>
Feel Like a Stranger
Won't Get Fooled Again
+ just the original 5 members, w/o Jason, Lizzie, and Woody
* Lo & Aaron
No symbols = w/ Jason, Lizzy & Woody
DOWNLOAD THE SHOW!! Thanks, Scott!
Scott Bernstein's AUD: http://archive.org/details/gsw2012-08-17.tlm170.flac16
It's official. I had more energy when I was 16. By now I was running on autopilot. By now, my friends and I were talking in moe. setlist configurations. Wake Up At 1PM, Get My Shit Together (nh) -> Shower -> Yada Yada Yada -> Pregame# -> Buster -> God Street Wine.
# Molly's w/ Fried Food
Budke sent out a last minute announcement through the interwebs, telling folks to show up a little early to see some vintage GSW footage. As we filtered in, there was a giant screen in front of the stage, playing a show from '91. Then, right before the band got on, they showed some backstage (basement) footage from 7 Willow Street in '91, featuring a handful of "Ridgewood's Finest" Winos, and starring Lo, giving a very Professor-ly explanation of some self-explanatory backstage graffiti that was appropriately titled: She-Males Shit Too.
The screen raised and God Street Wine came out to start their last show of 2012. My stress was back. I didn't feel like I was gonna puke this time, but I was already feeling a bit upset that it was almost over. I kept trying to convince myself I didn't need to be up front, but I needed to be up front. God Street was the Opening Theme. It just needed some animations and hand-puppets (or an imaginary combination of the two, like what was happening in my mind at that moment) to complete the full transformation of the Gramercy into God Street Land. Then they got the crowd shaking with Better Than You. I love Wall. I fucking LOVE Seein' Yer Meaning-- which was another song from my wish list. And that was a sick sick little dark combo: Wall, Seein' Yer Meanin. GSW can throw that dark shit down with the best of them. It's not always Princesses and drives through the desert. They explore their demons too. They disembowel them and splay them across your face and scar you for life. I am surprised they went to this dark place as early in the set as they did, but I'm just happy they went there, cuz I love it. This made me realize I needed to drink more, in order to help add some atmosphere to the room. The room definitely needed more atmosphere. There were still way too many well behaved people in there. Just then, a friend tapped me on the shoulder to tell me they ate a tab of E that a friend-of-a-friend had offered up -> Stone House, and the place fucking erupted. It sounded amazing. If you're following closely, we just went from a "It's a Red Sun I see out there" to "Can I buy you an ice cream cone?" I love GSW. Super high energy. Great sound. Awesome. They slowed it down a bit with Angeline. I didn't want the drop in momentum, but Aaron belts that song out beautifully. Then back in the groove with Light My Candles (YAY). And then Reid Genauer (Strangefolk, Assembly of Dust) came out to sing Borderline (Why?), which, let's be honest-- I love his voice and twang and vibe-- but he kind of butchered the first couple of verses. Luckily, the crowd stepped in to help him out, a singalong ensued, the jamming was fun, and Lo saved it all by stepping in to help wrap it all up.
Setbreak -> Livingston, NJ crew! I love seeing my Livingston, NJ crew. We used to see shows together when we were all in High School. We're older now. We're all still adorable. One of them immediately asked me, "What's up with all the extra people?" to which I replied, "I don't want to talk about it."
Set II began with another Dead cover, Candyman. I would have rather heard Mookie belt out Willy Wonka's The Candy Man, but whatevs. When She Go (YAY) was rockin' and we totally got down. Fourth of July was high velocity fun and when it began, I had no choice but to move back up front. These things just happen. Then something unexpected happened. Please Don't Speak of These Things. In double-time. I think the abrupt downshift in energy from the turbo charged Fourth of July to the slow fairytale ballad Please Don't Speak of These Things (which is a lovely song, but perhaps just landed in the wrong place on the setlist) left the room confused. From my spot on the rail, it seemed that after witnessing this sudden drop in the room's energy, Lo motioned for Tomo to go faster, Tomo started playing in double-time, and then Lo just decided to go for it. The faster tempo brought the energy up and gave the tune a nice Country Ditty vibe, which was interesting and cute, except that it was obviously never rehearsed, and was definitely causing mass confusion onstage. I saw someone mouth, "I have no fucking idea what is going on." They kind of laughed it off once it ended. So it goes. It's not like anyone is gonna leave. This was their one and only Trainwreck Moment of the 3 nights. I only bring this up, because next time, they should just STOP, DROP, and PLAY APRIL RAIN instead.
Luckily, RU4 Real? was pretty fucking sick, and brought everyone back into the game. -> Good Dream. A beautiful Beautiful Lies. A sweet Epiphany -> Tide, lots of singing from the crowd, me starting to feel sad, and the last GSW set of 2012 ending. Siiigh.
Lo doesn't have an iPad, but he does have Lizzy's sheet music.
And some great Saturday pics from John Gullo! Thanks, Gullo!
(check out his flickr stream for the full gallery):
Their first encore was Dire Straits' Romeo and Juliet, which was nice, but... I would rather have heard A Day In the Life. Or Deep Drag. Or I Dig A Pony. Or April Rain. However, they upped the ante and brought out a fierce Horn Section for a massive version of Paul Simon's Late In The Evening, which blew everyone in the room away. Then a classic GSW cover, Van Morrison's Into the Mystic. Gorgeous. Aaron's the balls. The second encore had no Horns, but it did have a ridiculous, silly, super fun Feel The Pressure, and an appropriate Closing Theme of Into the Sea.
Which of my blogs is this for?
I was happy, but sad. Happy sad. Sad happy? It was so much fun, but suddenly it was time to say goodbye, for at least the foreseeable future.
Oh wait, no-- it was time to get harassed in the lounge by another slurring-drunk, close-talking, whatever year old with bad manners. First Bevo and I tried to fuck with him, cuz that's the awkwardly polite choice, and then we broke free because at some point you see your escape opportunity and just have to go for it. We fled backstage, where I wasn't sworn to secrecy or anything, but will not be sharing with you all the wild details of what I saw or heard (have you seen Behind The Music: Motley Crue? ... ), as I quite enjoy my status as an Embedded Journalist on these occasions (though, as a Wino, I earmuffed myself a couple of times because I felt like I was going to hear something I shouldn't, even though I wanted to hear everything, so I un-earmuffed, but as a fan who enjoys the anticipation of not knowing, I would earmuff again cuz I didn't want to find out more than I wanted to know, because sometimes I end up knowing too much, and that's what keeps me awake at night, but let's be real, I wanted to hear everything, so I finally un-earmuffed, and yes, realized I looked like a fucking idiot the entire time this was going on.). All you need to know is everything you already know if you've seen the band's messages on the interwebs: GSW were incredibly happy, grateful, and there is every reason to believe this will happen again.
Oh, hell-- you do get ONE EXCLUSIVE SCOOP: Tomo is off the Vegan Train, which is why he looks healthy again. YAAAY, HEALTHY TOMO!!!
Afterwards, some friends tried to get me to go to Irving Plaza to watch Phish's live stream from San Fran. Again with the Phish. "Fuck Phish." And I love Phish, but fuck that. Why would I want to sully my ears with Prince Caspian after soaking in all of that GSW? I didn't. I needed to wrap my brain around what had just happened. It was going to take a while. A long while.
I fell asleep during sunrise. When I used to do that after Wetlands shows, the birds would be singing too loudly for me to be able to fall asleep. Now, apparently, my tinnitus is a handy-dandy built-in white-noise machine. Or I was just really spent. Probably a combination of the two.
Better Than You
Seeing Your Meaning>
Light My Candles
When She Go
Fourth of July
Please Don't Speak of These Things
Are You For Real>
Waiting for the Tide
Romeo and Juliet
Late in the Evening**
Into the Mystic**
Feel the Pressure
Into the Sea
all (?) with Jason Crosby, John Wood, and Lizzy Loves
* w Reid Genauer on vox and guitar
** w horns: Jeff Hermanson, Matthew Ellis, Jeff Countryman
DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Scott!
Awake at 4PM -> stayed in my Pajamas until 6:30PM -> changed into clothes from Thursday night# -> picked up Chicken Parm dinner from my favorite local Italian Restaurant (nh) -> Chicken Parm Heaven -> Shower -> Fresh PJ's -> Awake until 4AM because my Body Clock was now reversed -> Brain Tuba
# they were on top of the pile
It's like 3 weeks later and I'm still processing what happened. In fact, I've barely listened to music for the last 3 weeks, because I am trying to keep all these moments fresh in my mind while I am still trying to understand it all.
My understanding of it all: The best NYC shows were, in order: Friday, Thursday, and Saturday. Friday was EPIC. I try not to throw that word around, so when I use it, it still has some sort of meaning. Absolutely EPIC. Electric. A celebration. God Street Wine in their element. Every single one of Lo's solos were on FIRE. He put it all out there. Thursday was super fun. I had a blast. And Saturday, it was wonderful, but perhaps after such a ridiculously masterful mind-fuck like Friday night, it felt a bit anticlimactic. A friend who only saw Saturday's show, remarked that because of all the additional musicians, "it felt like a different band". And it's true-- Saturday's show felt the most like God Street Wine & Friends, as opposed to God Street Wine.
I'm still coming to terms with the fact that they didn't do the majority of the NYC run as the core 5-piece. Jason, Woody, and Lizzy were fantastic-- there is no denying that I danced hard, smiled like a retard, and had an amazing time. And their presence added elements to create that good time. But I'm an asshole.
One thing is certain, and that is: One weekend was not enough. 3 shows were not enough. I'm still hungry for more. I am positive I would feel differently had I been in California for the first half of the tour. More satiated. This realization is fascinating in it's depressingness. This is my own fault. Lesson learned, though, eh? Drop everything and see GSW when you can. "Next time".
Actually, maybe a second thing is certain, and that is: I should never finish a bottle of Don Julio Blanco by myself in the span of 10 (7 non-consecutive drinking) days, ever again. It might not be a bad idea, but I am pretty sure it is not a good idea.
GOD STREET WINE, 8/16, 17, & 18/12, Gramercy Theater, NYC: somewhere between 9-9.9999 HUZZAHS! Bitching, moaning, nitpicking. I'm just lucky it happened and genuinely touched to have been there. Thank you, God Street Wine! See you soon.
April Rain (FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!! Played in Cali and not in NYC??? What kind of bullshit is this?? COME ON!!!)
A Day In the Life
I've Got A Feeling
Girl From Ipanema
Whatcha Gonna Do About It?
(Is it time to stop asking for New Eyes? Or is it time for them to start re-learning it?)
^ Unless soundcheck counts. But I had to pretend to keep cool for that and reserved my major rocking out til showtime.
^^ A couple of days after the shows, I got an email from a girl who said people at the GSW show kept coming over to her, thinking she was me. She had no idea who I was, but apparently our mutual friend Jeff cleared this up, and gave her my email. She knows Jeff, because they both worked at Mexicali together. "Mexicali? You don't say!" We swapped mistaken identity and belligerent confused drunk boy stories and had a good laugh about it. Beware folks, I have a Jersey Doppelganger... and I will only use this powerful tool for evil.