воскресенье, 7 октября 2007 г.

stswithinsday: "Baby Steps to Buckingham" or "Weekend/Murder By Death re-cap"

me / Reggie's, Chicago / 10.06.07

After a totally hilarious Office (about 5x funnier than the season premiere), I ventured over to a nearly-sold-out House Cafe in DeKalb to see the Smoking Popes. I had seen Duvall - Josh Caterer's post-Smoking Popes/very pro-Jesus band - play a few times, but haven't seen the actual Popes do actual Popes songs in probably 9 years. It was like being 17 again. Eli (guitarist) was one of my first interviews for the UWM Leader newspaper back in 1998 and this band meant so much to me and first girlfriend Carly back then, I had them sign a birthday card for her one year. Anyway, Matt from Light Pollution, John Ugolini and myself were arm in arm the whole night, singing every word. I was getting hoarse towards the end, so I tried to contain myself a bit during the encore. Here's a snippet of them doing Amy W's "Rehab" that night during "Before I'm Gone," which probably exceeded the 10-minute mark with all the awesomely-goofy blues soloing that was happening. Josh later announced that due to label squabbling, they're probably going to be putting out their new album (their first of original, new material in over 10 years) online soon, which drove the crowd into a frenzy. They also played some deep cuts that I didn't expect ("Mrs. You & Me," "Gotta Know Right Now") as well as one of my favorite covers of country-classic "Seven Lonely Days", plus only TWO new songs ("Welcome to Janesville" and "Grab Your Heart & Run") which sound pretty on par with their classic stuff. Actually, I would've liked to hear another new one, "Stay Down", which you can find right over here. How rare is that -- to want to hear the new stuff?! Weird. I thanked Eli afterwards for having the band be back together. His response: "Thanks. This is kind of the only think I know how to do. Well, that and I'm a pretty good barista. I guess that'd make me a guirista." Wow.

FRIDAY NIGHT - Loaded into Otto's in DeKalb around 6pm and Nate introduced me to Adam (vox/gtr) and Sarah (cello) from Murder By Death, who were chowing on some food from nearby El Burrito Loco. Troubled Hubble and MBD had toured together a bit and it was really sweet to see them Nate and Andrew reconnect with Adam, Sarah and Matt (bass), who commented that Hubble was "the last and only band I liked that played happy music." We headed to Thai Pavillion where I finally (yes, for the very first time) had pad thai. Why in God's name have I not had it before?? Fucking stupid good.

Over a huge tub of beer, there was much bullshitting about backstage (which, I never knew existed, after all my times at Otto's) with MBD about their upcoming trip to Nashville, where they'll record Red of Tooth & Claw (yes, official title) here (basically a castle!). After getting Erik and Scott backstage and watching something Matt is currently way into -- YouTube videos where someone overdubs horrible guitar playing over Steve Vai clips -- we went out to watch Baby Teeth open with a rousing set of "hits only" which was awesome. Dagan and I sported some sweet disco moves during their set; I really recommend checking them out. They're a tight, fun pop band with a singer who, as I've explained in previous posts, reminds me of Rufus Wainwright in Mark Sandman's body. That's a good thing.

Old Canes, who were on this three-day stint w/ MBD, played second. This is a more acoustic-jangle project of Christopher Crisci, the vocalist of Appleseed Cast, a band that's been synonymous with "emo" for as long as I can remember. A pretty quiet dude, but was happy to discuss his recent suicide rumors and was a cut-up behind the merch booth on Saturday night ("So... here's the part of the night were we stand side-by-side, awkwardly, as people buy Murder By Death stuff...."). The setlist for them was picked at random, as Chris had written each song on a small piece of paper and people picked blindly from his shirt pocket. His keyboard/percussion friend Dusty (who went by such nicknames as Rusty, Dust, or Golddust over the coarse of the weekend) sang his own song as well, which was fucking great. Not better than the Old Canes stuff, but... I don't know. Different in a way. 

We were next and I don't remember much other than it going really well. The audience by this time was big, but also really attentative and into it. I went into these shows not knowing what to expect, since MBD's fanbase reaches from emo kids to rockabilly nerds to hardcore punks, but we seemed to make a pretty big dent. I do remember going out in the crowd during "Open Letter..." and asking a woman if I could have her disgarded limes, which I eventually threw somewhere. We got partcularly huge ovations on the last two songs - "West" and "No Applause" (and this would happen Saturday night as well) - and were greated off stage by lots of strangers with super nice things to say, as well as most of MBD, who had watched the entire thing. Afterward, I bumped into Sarah backstage, who had just changed into one of her gorgeous dresses that she sports for shows, and she also claimed we "fucking rocked". I thought she asked our name again (or so I thought... I was a bit bewildered after being both exhausted and now talking to a pretty girl...) and I replied with it, but she was actually asking MY name again. Which, of course, made me feel nice, but also stupid. D'oh.

MBD played a rousing set, but came off discouraged due to a bad monitor mix, though it sounded awesome to everyone else. When you bring along your own soundguy too - an awesome guy named Will - how do you convince them? Regardless, no matter what they said, they were fucking off the hook. New stuff sounds stellar (here's a YouTube of one they played both nights, but from their Minneapolis show... sound sucks, but you get the idea, hopefully) and the old stuff came with a vengence. 

Everyone packed up and we arranged for Old Canes, their mgr Travis and Chris' wife to stay w/ Nate, Nina and I, as they didn't have a place. Will and MBD asked when load-in was for Saturday night's show and when we informed them of the order (us opening), they were dismayed and gave me a "we'll see about that". We still opened on Saturday, but it was nice to hear that they so impressed by us that they wanted to do what they could to have us be direct support.

SATURDAY NIGHT - Let's actually start out w/ Saturday morning's awesome breakfast cooked by Nina and Nate. Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, bagels, toast, some grilled pepper/onion/tomato mix... mmmm! Enjoyed by all. Old Canes and us took in a little Blues Brothers on TVLand and they were eventually on their way to visit some pals in Chicago before the night's festivities.

Reggie's is a fantastic place. A great, new room next to Record Breakers on S. State Street. Great balcony, nice sounding room, a screen above the bands (which MBD used to its advantage, showing a barrage of silent film clips), etc. I highly recommend playing there. Only downside: backstage area is actually outside the venue and a little hot once you get more than 6 or so people in there. But seriously, we were all really impressed.

Despite opening the show, there was a large, attentive crowd there for our set at 8pm. There's a gate attached to the front of the stage, which prevented me from getting up in everyone's grill, but we worked with it and were sent off again with a great ovation. I really get chills when that happens. Like Friday, met plenty of really nice strangers with very sweet compliments. Adam, Dagan and Sarah sheepishly admitted they were watching the Cubs game most of our set (who can blame them), but I'll be damned if Matt didn't watch the whole thing again, making kissy faces. I didn't really get how tight he was with Nate and Andrew, until I learned that Andrew pretty much uses his bass distortion pedal because of touring with Matt. Awww.

Jen and her sister came w/ Jen's friend Danielle (from Colorado) and they were all ecstatic. It felt good to have a significant other care about what I'm doing again, as I didn't get that from Karin much. I forget what it's like to get some kisses and snuggle up just after playing. There might not be anything better.  :) 

Jay and Tim from Common Cloud came out as well. I felt terrible that we couldn't get them on the list - which meant they had to pay the ridiculous door fee of $15.00 - but they were super nice and I at least gave Jay some free merch out of it. Matt Gunshy, "brother" Dan Hanke and Josh Miller (from Hubble) came out, too.

Light Pollution played another great set after us (thanks to whomever I ganked the crab rangoon from), followed by Old Canes, followed by MBD sounding even better than Friday. They did squeeze in my request for "Dynamite Mine" (holy shit, was it good) and tore it up throughout. They were going to do a longer encore, but unknown to all of us, Reggie's had booked a post-Phil Lesh party (???) for Midnight, so MBD had to cut it short. LAME.

And it got lamer. Nina, loading out, biffed it on the concrete outside. She eventually got to the hospital - drove herself, mind you! - and luckily came home with just a light bandage on her wrist and a mild concussion. Everything ok.

We got some good hugs from MBD and an open invite to do it all again sometime, which we obviously will drop everything in a second to do. Sarah stated "You've got a nice dong, there" to Nate, referring to the dong we had drawn with our fingers on our dirty trailer. Classic.

Pictures from Saturday night's show (credit to Derek Bauer):

ok... sorry for the long post.
today (Sunday) I slept until 2:30pm, watched all I could stomach of Showgirls, ate my favorite comfort food... watched the 2nd half of the Packers... that's about it. Back to sleep.

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