Photo by TW Walsh
October 17, 2009 : Kungfu Necktie : Philadelphia, PA
I was skeptical when we arrived at Kungfu Necktie – skeptical of a lot of things. Skeptical that it could hold 150 people like we were told (it couldn’t), skeptical that loading in through a door that an average-sized adult male had to turn slightly sideways to fit through would be much fun (It wasn’t), and skeptical that the bar, who told us doors were at 8, would actually be adhering to that, since there were some patrons already bellied-up to the bar when we arrived (they didn’t).
Remember that load-in door that an average-sized adult male had to turn slightly sideways to fit through? Well, we’re average-sized adult males, for the most part, but we have keyboards, drums, guitars, merch bins, audio racks, and the like to lug in, so load-in wasn’t much fun. I hurt my back picking things up, which made me feel weird and old, and we had to store our stuff in the basement, down two flights of stairs, because the stage was so tiny.
Now, I should interrupt long enough to say that the bar was cool, the staff was cool, and the show went fine. But the mechanics? The dirty, behind-the-scenes operations that The Bottletree makes so smooth for bands? Those were horrible.
After load-in we got what was undoubtedly the best sandwich I’ve ever put in my mouth from a place down the street called Paisano’s. I’m still thinking about it and feeling happy. I also got to hang out with my friend Chris from the fantastic philly band Pattern is Movement, which was a nice Philly surprise.
After the show, load-out proved to be even worse than load-in. Same narrow door, but add a dance party, complete with DJ, that started AS SOON as Bazan finished playing. No one had mentioned that this would be going down to any of us, so I was pretty stoked to be carrying 100 pounds of merch up stairs, around a pinball machine, and through 20 drunk people dancing to bad remixes.
October 18, 2009 : New York, NY : Bowery Ballroom
We arrived at the Bowery about an hour early for load-in, so we did what anyone would do – we went to find pizza. We didn’t have to look far as Lombardi’s was a scant two blocks away. While there I had the best white pizza I’ve ever eaten (this might as well be a food blog) and a lively 25-minute debate took place about the appropriate piano-tone for “Hard to Be”
BAZAN played their best set of the tour to an almost sold-out Bowery Ballroom, and it felt really good. The nice thing about the Bowery is that it’s a Ballroom, not a rock club. The bar is hidden downstairs, there’s a proper balcony, great sightlines, the best sounding P.A. of the tour, and arguably the best sounding room of the tour. It was great, and somehow I’m not sick of seeing this thing after 19 nights in a row.
Today was a day off in NYC, until a 6 pm van call in Brooklyn. Everyone recalled their day off fondly, as if it were a distant memory when we met back up at the van, alot like when you went back to school after summer break in grade school. Tour is a real time warp like that. After that we walked a few blocks to get some (apparently) world famous, really-expensive, and totally-worth-it Red Velvet cake from a place called “Cake Man Raven” (google the dude) which I won’t even try to explain. It blew my mind.
Next, we hit the road to Boston, but didn’t get all that far before being pulled over on a Connecticut parkway for illegally towing a trailer on the parkway (who knew?). Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication between Bazan’s insurance folks, so although the van was insured, it wasn’t yet listed on his card, and the officer wasn’t too thrilled when he thought we were illegally towing a trailer on an uninsured 15-passenger death trap down his parkway. He was nice enough to let us exit at the next exit (after writing two tickets) to an Econo Lodge where Bazan got a card faxed over and we were back on our way in no time.
We stopped for bad fast food and played fun van games with TW Walsh, who came down for the New York show and rode back to Boston with us tonight where his fantastic band, The Soft Drugs, will play 1st of 3 tomorrow at TT The Bear’s. I’m pretty stoked to see that.