Friday, August 07, 2009

My Time With the Winterpills and St. Vincent

Last night I played a show as a fill-in bassist with the Winterpills. We performed at Pearl Street in Northampton, Massachusetts on a bill with St. Vincent. I've played bass with the Winterpills a few times before and I really dig it. There's something about the simplicity of the parts and the groove that makes it very hypnotic for me. I feel more like part of a wall of sound than I do in other bands. I've also played with Philip Price (of Winterpills) in a few other situations. I was the keyboardist and the bassist in the Gay Potatoes which featured Philip, Chris Collingwood, Lloyd Cole, and Brian Marchese. I played keyboards with The Maggies (Philip's old band) when we were performing as Talking Heads once. Another time School for the Dead did a Beatles "Revolver" tribute show and Philip played and sang with us. I've worked a bit with Dennis Crommett (Winterpills guitar), too. He played on a Sitting Next To Brian song in my studio, I once took one of his acoustic demos and added instrumentation to it just for fun, and I've been a fan of his songwriting for a long time.

So, it was nice to be up there on the stage with these friends playing these songs that I know well. The audience was ridiculously nice and eager and receptive. They were squooshed up against the stage, faces lit by the overhead colored lights. I felt very at ease and in the moment and grateful to be there. Philip peppered our set with momentous reports on the day that he and I learned earlier on. August 6 was the day that Elliot Smith was born. He would have been my age (well, 15 days older) yesterday. It was also the day that Hiroshima was bombed by the U.S. And in the newest of news, it was the day, yesterday, when John Hughes died. If it were my show I would have played my song "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles", but as it was a Winterpills show, we played "Want The Want", which proved to be a devastating and mesmerizing tribute, at least from my perspective looking out over the crowd.

After our set, I stepped off the stage hoping for some relief from the oppressive heat and found none. The room must have been practically ninety degrees and getting hotter by the second. Eventually, St. Vincent took the stage. I am unfamiliar with the band, having only listened a little bit after finding out about the gig. I gotta say, though, they were pretty amazing. I have never heard the downstairs room at Pearl Street sound better and the arrangements were interesting and enthralling with the saxophone and clarinet and violin and samples and bass and drums and with Anne's killer guitar playing. It was an inspiring performance all around. It was one of the best shows I've seen this year and I didn't even know any of the songs (except for the crazy cover of "I Dig A Pony").

Thanks to you, if you were there. I hope you had as nice a time as I did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was there.. had no idea you were filling-in until Philip mentioned it. You guys were great.