Monday, July 20, 2009

Caravan of Stars, Keene - A Recap

Keene, NH - Saturday July 18, 2009. Lesa, Thane, Jason, Ryan, Emily, and I took the Caravan of Stars up north early in the day to spend some time in this little college town. (Brian, Karen, and Tony arrived later, having driven from other starting points.) We arrived at around 4:30 and spent some time browsing the beautiful vintage instruments at Retro Music and Cheshire Music. Lesa set her eyes on some nice old Fender Mustangs and similar models, I was smitten with a tiny Yamaha acoustic, and Jason had his heart broken by a Paulesque Hofner bass.

From there we headed to Thai Garden, the Keen branch of one of Lesa and my regular haunts here in Northampton. The menu was identical but the waiter was hilarious. The food, as always, was great. Afterward we strolled the tree-lined sidewalks and some of us ventured into a record store while others of us sat on a bench and talked about men's shirts. I ducked into a candy store and picked up a Kinder surprise. I was jonesing for some ice-cream, but my please fell on deaf ears and we headed off in search of a bookstore, which we found to be closed. In the process however, we discovered that the movie Jumangi was filmed right there in Keene. A dubious honor?

I saw no elephants.

At around seven we ventured into the home of our concert, the E.F. Lane Hotel. All day we had been coming across the posters, that Jason had made and sent to the venue, hanging up in various businesses. The white board that was standing in front of the hotel was a nice sign as it announced our show. It's always nice to arrive at a place and have them actually expecting you.

The venue itself was pretty bizarre. To get there, you must go into the lobby of the hotel, walk past the desk, down a hall, and around a corner where you find the lounge/dining area/breakfast nook in which we were to play. We set up in the corner, there were tables and chairs to our right and in front, and to our left there was a small dance floor and a bar. From where I stood on "stage", I could clearly see everyone in the room and I could also see through the lattice divider to the hotel elevator.

We played four short sets in this order: Jason Bourgeois Band (which we called the Silver Jasons), School for the Dead, Sitting Next To Brian, and The Fawns. Those four sets were followed by Jesse Smith and his duo called King Falcon. I felt mostly awkward and ill-at-ease for our performances. I'm not sure what to blame, besides of course myself. I think we did well and everything sounded fine but I was distracted for most of it. On the other hand, the people there were all very, very friendly and accommodating and welcoming. Lena and Aaron from the Starving Artist felt like old friends even though we had just met.

After the gig, and after we loaded everything out, using the awesome hotel luggage carts, Jason, Ryan, Emily, Lesa and I headed over to a late-night eatery and downed about fifty pounds of french fries.

One more thing I need to mention. It was most unfortunate that Max was unable to make the show and we missed him. Ryan (SFTD) and Jason (Fawns) did amazing jobs filling in for him. In both bands, I didn't give a second thought to the fact that we had substitute players on stage. They both not only picked-up the songs with very few practices, but they both managed to perfectly capture the feeling and groove of the two bands. Well done, Ryan. Well done, Jason. How about a hand, folks.

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