Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Last night I played a show at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn.

Since NYC has lately been a car chomping pit-bull, I opted to rent a vehicle for the journey. I was upgraded into a Kia Optima. It's a pretty nice car, actually. Smooth.

Originally, I was going to drive down alone to this gig, but the Bourgeois Heroes indulged me and came along for the ride. It was fun, despite several slow construction-made traffic jams. On the way down, we listened to the Pelicans and Robyn Hitchcock.

Construction on 95 near the city makes it so you can't get on 278 like normally, so we ended up doing some weird detour that I somehow remembered doing a few months ago when Lesa and I went in to see Brian and Ken in the Kayroll Island show. The point is, we eventually found the place, and a parking space just around the corner.

Upon entering Pete's Candy Store (which is a bar, for those who are confused) we found a good number of young people sitting around tables staring at Bingo cards. Bingo. They play Bingo there.

There's the bar part (where the Bingo was being played) and then there is a little kitchen window where you can order sandwiches (which we did) and then there is the music part, which feels kind of like the inside of a train - a really cool fancy train. It's a small room with tiny tables and chairs lining the sides. At the far end is a stage with nice lights around it.

Seconds later, Adam Greenberg and Matt Waugh (old friends) walked in. They stopped in for about 10 minutes just to say hello, but had to leave, since they were in the middle of recording some songs or something. It was nice of them to stop by.

Up by the stage, the Pelicans were setting up. It was Ari's birthday. Happy Birthday Ari. This was my first time seeing him after his Queer Eye for the Straight Guy experience. He was wearing pointy boots.

The Pelicans were concerned about playing at this venue since they had to lower their volume ten-fold. They sounded great, though. They managed their mix perfectly and had just enough volume to be powerful but not be painful. It was brilliant. They played all their hits from London Crawling, some new compositions, and a number of songs that I used to play with Ari in Humbert (Strangel, Greyhound, 1992, Accident Airlines, The Freezer). It was really fun to see a different band play those songs. Ari's voice sounded better than ever.

After their set, I got my stuff up on stage as people were filing out. When I started playing, though, a good portion of them came back in. It was really nice. The audience sat and listened and smiled and stomped their feet to One Lady Dancing. Elise from the Bourgeois Heroes had made a set list for me and included little drawings for each song. It was funny to see it there lying at my feet while I sang.

Also, in the audience was Pete Rosenblum, who I had met at some Fountains of Wayne and Gay Potatoes shows. I played "Valley Winter Song", since he was there, and I knew Ari would dig it, too. In fact, Ari jumped up on stage and sang harmonies with me on that. He also came back up later and we played "I Wouldn't Know", by the late Tony Westcott.

It was all very nice.

We needed to get on the road pretty much right away after I was done, so I talked with Ari briefly about some other stuff. Hopefully, we'll get the full band in NYC soon to play with the Pelicans and maybe we can see his newly renovated famous apartment.

On the way home, I took a wrong turn that extended the trip a good 20 or 30 minutes. We also hit some really slow construction traffic. But we were cheery and goofy, telling jokes about poodles, and talking about theme parks and camping. The Bourgeois Heroes are good driving companions.

We got into Northampton at about 3:00 just as it was being assaulted by an intense thunderstorm. It was dramatic and dreamlike and it dissipated when we got to Pleasant Street which was wet and shiny like a movie street and deserted except for the three of us, tired but comfortable, in the silent rental car.

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