(Dear reader: I am now back in New York, transcribing various cryptic and scattered notes from tour for these remaining installments of tour journals. Some are more complete than others. Civilian life here has resumed- so I will try to relay all of this, to the best of my abilities, in a readable yet authentic report . Thank you. ‘Proper’ writing will follow very soon.)
The venue we played in Hamden, The Space, was positioned oddly in the middle of a parking lot within a sort of industrialized strip mall. Or something. A newly opened and affiliated venue (the appropriately named Outer Space) was located more within the proper complex.
It was a slightly downstairs venue with a great, roadside attraction-esque decor going on. The upstairs was a vintage shop and the green room which was very accommodating. Great staff who were very helpful and friendly.
The opening band, Sun Daggers, were great guys as well. Again, I suffered a bit of ‘gear envy’ at how nice their amps and effects were. Makes my ghetto set-up look…well…’ghetto’.
It was a light turnout which wasn’t a big surprise for a not-entirely-typical tour stop. A polite crowd with a few especially relaxed individuals sitting on the floor for every band. Some of us are bothered by that but I don’t really care, myself. A crowd is often a bit of a social study on my part: I see how they react or how they don’t and think “Huh. So that’s how this is being received.”
I am always more concerned with what is going on onstage which is what can make or break a show for me. I feel the same way if there’s no crowd or if I’m practicing. However, a very energized audience can absolutely push it to another level and make it feel as a sort of collaborative endeavor. Then it enters that sorta’ spiritual high thing. It’s a true joy.
The show ended early enough and we were close enough that we all packed up and headed to New York. The drive was pleasant and fast, thanks to am especially motivated sax player……
Waking up in New York made it feel like I had already been back for a couple of days. Just being able to make some sort of breakfast and not have to fight for a shower, pack, and bolt………….it felt like an extended vacation by the afternoon.
We slowly trickled in at the Knitting Factory and were happy to see may good folks already. Everyone from label types to my favorite bartender (who altered her schedule just to work our show- thanks Kristen!) were there.
This was to be the first show with another touring act who would go on to finish out the tour with us and Acid Mothers Temple, a one-man noise artist who performs under the name Clang Quartet. Scotty came in with his pile of gear and introduced himself with a nearly unmistakable Carolina accent. I was charmed immediately. I also had no idea what his set consisted of but spotted what appeared to be various pedals, signs, toys, and the likes and knew that we were in for some sort of treat.
As showtime neared we were all happy to see many friends and loved ones. We were a tad giddy, I think, to play after feeling as if we had gotten it down pretty solidly (having played 20 or 21 shows by that time). I visited with various folks backstage until I heard the screech and rumble of the Clang Quartet set begin. Scotty sets up on the floor and only requires one “direct out” of his massive operation of various sensors, microphones, and such, all mounted to a transforming crucifix that tells a bit of a story of his own trials, tribulations, and redemption through Christ. Needless to say, this puts people off a bit. Myself, even as a nonbeliever, loved the reception by many people who weren’t entirely sure if his performance was ironic or just performance of some sort. As with any kind of art, I’ll take sincerity any day over empty sentiments or- a word that keeps on coming up in what I see in the arts- “novelty”. It was also obvious that, at points during his set where Scotty would beat on some drums and cymbals that were on the floor, that he was a SERIOUS drummer.
It was nearly time for our set to begin when (with a bit of prior warning) one of my musical heroes, Genesis P-Orridge, came backstage. Genesis had came with the intentions of meeting Makoto but he was asleep on the couch in the green room. So, as we all paced around, it was difficult to ignore this presence- this person whose music I had listened to quite a bit in my adult life (and listen to Psychic TV nearly every couple of days). As Makoto slept and Genesis waited, my bandmate was introduced and there was a brief exchange. I found myself sort of avoiding an awkward introduction as I figured that Genesis didn’t want to be hassled. But, right as we were about to take the stage, the limited space and nervous energy made it weirder NOT to acknowledge in some sort of way, so I said “Hello…” and we shook hands. Good enough for me.
(As we played, a photo was taken of Genesis and Makoto that I am happy to see spreading on the internet like wildfire:)
Our set went pretty well. It was great to see a pretty full and attentive room and made me feel as if a year or so worth of serious work as a New York entity was maybe getting an appropriate New York response.
The set was recorded and it available for download here: http://www.nyctaper.com/?p=9716
I wish I could convey with some unique language what Acid Mothers Temple proceeded to do- nearly every night as well as this particular night- with their music but I feel like I have exhausted my enthusiasm via vocabulary in previous installments! Needless to say, they were great and the audience loved them. It was one of the few nights where some audience members began to “lose it” and mosh…or whatever you want to call it.
New York City, NY
By the second night of our New York stint/halftime break, I was starting to feel downright lazy. I was rested, fed, cleaned…surely didn’t feel like I was still on tour. Half-time break had become a full-blown vacation to my demented senses.
So, it certainly didn’t bother me one bit to congregate with Makoto and a few other Phantom Family types at a local recording studio to record…something…at 10:30am. I was very excited to do this. We picked up Makoto, all crammed into a car, and went in without any clue or plan as to what we would or could do. All I brought was my guitar so I was to be somewhat at the mercy of the gear in the recording studio. I picked a few pedals and a Fender Twin while the others got situated- and, we started rolling. A few hours of varying levels of insanity commenced and, I gotta’ say, some cool shit transpired.
I have so, so much respect for Makoto Kowabata for things like this: he is always ready to rock. And he brings it. So, maybe some day in the near future, there will be some kind of Acid Family Mothers Halo release.
Our Manhattan show at the Mercy Lounge was the late show following the sold out early show with headliner Lower Dens. So we busted asses to get it done and out of their way in time for them to get situated. We were happy to see that the Mercy Lounge had an awesome Ampeg stack that our bassist was more than happy to utilize as we have had a rather small combo on this tour. He had a good, solid sound on stage left that made me feel better than usual for what I do.
Showtime neared. After seeing only bits of Clang Quartet on the previous night, I was anxious to see it digested by this Manhattan crowd. As Scotty commenced to his “presentation”, I found myself watching the reactions as much as watching him. Most of the crowd seemed really interested if not completely enamored by what he was doing.
I missed a planned, pre-set band congregation to build us up. (Sorry, team.) However, I was visiting with one of my favorite people who I don’t see nearly enough, Tim, of Knitting Factory/Partisan Records. If there was ever a guy that can make you happy with just a few words and a hug, it would be that man.
This set was a ton of fun. I guess we were just feeling it, sound and all. The crowd seemed into it…so the energy was circulating, reciprocating, or what-have-you. The lighting from the projector was ‘just so’ where it illuminated the heads of a large percentage of the crowd so that I was able to see them bobbing, moving, and such.
I left the stage with that sort of satisfied high that made me feel as if I had done my job right, to the satisfaction of myself, my bandmates, and to the crowd. I reported to the merch stand where the little lady was kind enough to hang out with me and visit. Relaxation commenced and many kind people stopped by to buy things and say that they enjoyed the show.
Genesis came to this show as well and was visiting with Acid Mothers’ road guy when, I was somehow included in the conversation. We began to talk some and Genesis mentioned that there was to be a retrospective at the Warhol Museum in the next year of his/her work. Orridge explained how Warhol was the beginning of the desire to be an artist in his early life. I began babbling about my own Warhol fascinations- which manifests itself in many areas between art, music, film, and such- but how much I really, REALLY love his early commercial art, especially the cats and shoes. Genesis agreed and confessed a love for the shoes, in particular, and had really wanted to purchase a wildly expensive original Warhol print of glittery shoes. (No one would lend the money though. Price tag was in the multi-millions.) This led to me talking about Oklahoma for some reason.
So……….yeah. This conversation was awesome and meant a lot to me. I mentioned that I would really like to make a trip to the Warhol to see that show as I love any reason to hit up the museum AND I have a fierce interest in Genesis’ works. And all of this is very true.
Twas a good night. A great one, really.