11-14-2003
Brooklyn, North Six
 

These shows are so long. In Boston I think we played for almost two hours, last night for maybe not quite that long. It makes for a long night, it's nice to have a few folks dedicated and interested enough to stick around and see what's coming next. Quite a few people from Boston came to NYC, it's always good to see. We tried to mix it up at least a little bit so everyone would be amused.

By way of describing the show in NYC, I'll tell a little story about the Boston show. Towards the end of the night in Boston, we played Don't Make Plans, which has a long, screeching guitar solo in the middle of it. This part generally starts sort of quiet-ish and gets much louder towards the end. In Boston, for some reason, I was spending much of my time playing with my eyes fully closed. Maybe the sound was good? I'm not sure, but I kept my eyes closed for much of the night. Usually if I do this I'm always hitting the sides of things with my sticks and can't hold on to anything, but that night it seemed to work out okay. So we're playing Don't Make Plans, Andy started the lengthy guitar solo... and maybe this is totally inappropriate to say, but it sounded so gorgeous that I closed my eyes, tried to ignore everything I was doing, and just enjoyed the sounds I was hearing. I tried to stay as much out of the way as I could, just play what sounded right in the midst of all that I was hearing. Something about the sound struck me, and ... and I got lost in the music. It was something else, the solo lasted maybe a minute or two and I was, honestly, in a state of bliss the entire time.

Before last night's show at North Six I told this to Andy and Tim. I was excited, but not too surprised when Tim told me that he'd felt the same way during that song. He said he closed his eyes, and when he opened them at the end of the solo he found himself facing in a direction he did not expect to be facing.

My point in telling this story is to say that last night, onstage at North Six, there was no chance for us to have such a moment. The sound onstage in Boston was nothing but racket, but it was inspiring racket. Last night we could hear all the sounds being made, but nothing was inspiring. It all sounded clinical and dull. After a few songs I took my ear plugs out, which made things a little better; but getting inspiration from what I was hearing was nearly impossible. Imagine it!

This is not to say it wasn't a fun show. It was challenging, but it was fun, again the crowd was enthusiastic, we played alright for the most part etc. Some good friends came, though we played so fucking long I hardly got to see them. After the show the bartender, Brenda might have been her name, who wore the kind of skirt that does nothing to help my sleepless nights, said "you seemed like you were having fun," and "I liked the cover songs you played." Alright, alright. Fine. But what a skirt!

The most stunning experience of the day was seeing Williamsburg, Brooklyn after many years of absence. It's as if hipster NYC has become a crack cocaine, an urban blight that can descend on a community like a terrible infestation, driving out all indigenous elements (nail salons, cheap coffee, inexpensive housing, people with accents) in a matter of years or even months. Five years ago Williamsburg was a cheap-artist's-lofts kind of a place, so maybe you could see what was coming. But it was so sudden! And so complete! When I heard we were playing in Brooklyn I had my doubts - who would come to Brooklyn for a rock show? But we entered Williamsburg and realized: they're already here. The streets of Williambsburg are packed with hipsters. Packed! Restaurants and bars and coffee shops and halogen-lit delis, unlimited options for fresh-squeezed carrot juice, hot & skinny hepcats trolling for their kin... crazy. I have never seen such a transformation.

So that was the important thing. Going now for turkish pizza; then to Alfred for one more night of pleasure. Same as on every trip, I'm excited to be heading towards home.


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