I haven’t looked forward to anything as much as I’ve been looking forward totonight’s show in quite a while. Sharif and I have been just sort of jamming around on and off for about two days now, and – it reminds me of being in high school, when I had first discovered bass guitar – how I’d just keep playing and keep playing and something NEW kept coming out of my fingers.
btw – I’ve ripped down most of the website’s menu (in case you haven’t noticed) – all the material exists up there but I want to figure out a better way of organizing everything, cause I’ve gotten a couple of complaints recently about how confusing it is to navigate… work work work.
Last night was a rough night. We played the College Perk, perhaps for the last time… that’s not a jibe at the Perk, that’s just an acknowledgement that they’re building a new venue in their backyard, and I’m eager to move into it. Before the gig, however, I went over to my parents to drop in and say hey.
My Dad transferred an hour plus of home videos to DVD a little while ago, and gave me a copy for Christmas. However, it was given with the disclaimer that I ought to wait and let my Dad narrate.
Well, we sat down for about an hour before I had to run over to the College Perk, and my Dad walked me through a collage of 8mm films beginning sometime in the early 70’s. I think we got about as far as 1977 or so, where my brother is still nothing but a squint-eyed lump sleeping on the floor, a puddle with a patch of hair on top that I toddle over to and poke periodically.
These dollar bills and three others like it were left in our tip jars at the New Deal Cafe. They declared “Life”, “Humility”, and “When will I be aware of your Love again?” All sorts of good stuff. A number of lines in what Heather recognized as Hebrew, as well. I’m going to have to look around and figure out whether these are specific lines or simply phrases scrawled on bills.
I must admit, looking at 30 year-old images of my parents tugs at me in a way that’s hard to explain. There’s a visceral knowledge that I’m seeing them then at the same age I am now. My mother is so beautiful, and my dad’s invisible, constantly behind the camera. Half-remembered textures swim out of the washed out colours on the tv screen and suddenly become almost tangible. Things like our old couch, or my old highchair – things that I don’t even remember that suddenly leap back into my skull…. things I haven’t seen since I was two years old.
So, I start thinking about my Life. I’m intensely thinking about where I am in my Life, if I’ve done enough, where I’m going, if my parents are proud of me, et cetera – not where I needed my head to be just before a gig. I was really upset, had to pull over on the way there.
So, arriving at the College Perk, I was trying hard to be personable, to be a happy fun rob, but it was hard enough to focus. And then I broke 6 strings.
This note was left in our tip jar at Java Mammas in Reisterstown this Saturday. I want to be banging. Sigh. I mean… not neccessarily with the Amandas – I mean as an adjective. Not as a verb. Or at least, well… now that I think about it….
The Rabbit Army marches on Hyattsville. Has anyone else seen stencils like this?
Not all at once, of course – but still, it’s a record. Between that and Heather’s guitar going crazy, not to mention the fact that my new boots are slightly wider than my old boots, it was a night of chaos and discomfort. The second set was awesome, but the first set was an excercise in Hell.
Of course, what I’m forgetting to talk about was Seth Horan‘s set.
Now, I must admit, I didn’t get the chance to watch Seth’s WHOLE set. Rob the violinist popped up at the beginning of the night and I dragged him away to learn him some tunes (later, he sat in with us on Will, Molotov Swell, and Spiral).
But Seth is truly spectacular. We got to see him on Tuesday night during the open mic, and I even ended up driving him back to the Metro station – got an opportunity to really see him as a human being, as opposed to a touring singer/songwriter creature.
On Friday, he went ahead to demonstrate that he’s just a great performer. Everything his website claims and more. I think there’s some excellent mutual admiration going on there, and I’m really excited to play with him again. He just broadcast these rolling waves of 5 string thunder that roiled aroudn and through me. And then he threw his voice right through the middle of it. Definately someone you’ve GOT to experience.
It’s a shame that one of the things that cameras simply can not capture is that gorgeous contrast of grey and green that you get on a day like today.
We departed under the omnipresent threat of rain, and continue between concrete barriers that stretch that grey down to the ground. An impatient New York blonde is busily flashing her lights at us from her trendy mini. Presumably she hasn’t noticed the cop behind us yet.
There’s a feeling of levitation, almost. Departing Maryland, and trying to depart all that it holds, if only for a little while. The images from my dreams last night, of medical slabs and cutting, had me lying sleepless till dawn. Through no fault of his own, I think my Father’s got some haunting to do, and it has nothing to do with the way that he Lived.
Pennsylvania is throwning squalls of rain and speeders at us. Heather’s got an Amy disc that’s perfect for the weather, and I’m looking forward to collapsing into the arms of Providence.
Yeah, Pennsylvania just ABOUT drowned us in construction and traffic… on to New Jersey, which Heather introduces with a hearty “welcome to the Land of Smell”! So far so good. The only thing really negative so far has been the God awful font they use on their signs. A little bit of sunshine… unfortunately, no really exciting radio like the stuff we had when we were through last time, returning from Sleepy Hollow.
Our brains are kind of revolting against the idea of how much time has passed since we were last here. It seems like it should’ve been just a couple of weeks ago (wasn’t it JUST January?!?), but we haven’t been along this particular route since December, racing to beat the snow home.
I’m tired tonight. Friday night we had a band practice, Saturday night we had a pretty massive gig. Sunday night I was at a showcase for hours and tonight was my open mic. I think my ears are tired.
In school we’d have “rest periods” where we’d sit and stare at a white wall, just to cleanse the palette of your eyes. In hindsight I realize this is sort of an art pun – but truly, there were just times when your perception was so saturated that you needed to clear it out. You start by seeing after images on the white and then they slowly fade out and you can see just the blankness of it all, and then you start hyper-observing and you start noting the tint of the light and the gradation of the white, the blues in the shadows and the myriad hues on this supposedly blank surface. Eventually you realize you’ve cleared out your buffer and you can see clearly again…but it takes some time.
I feel like I need to do that with my ears. I’ll probably sleep with earplugs in tonight, which isn’t always the best thing… and then THAT makes you hyper-aware of the sounds your body makes, every breath and gurgle and beat.
But yeah, I feel I need some silence. We Live in a noisy world. Even the white noise of the humidifier is painful right now. Too much texture. It’s like manila paper. Just too coarse. And so I shut that off. And now the computer’s fan is present, whirring and humming. I can hear the drives. At least the keyboard doesn’t really bother me. It’s immediate, it’s an answer to my body, but that ingratiatingly grating little tune the machine plays when I plug in a new card – that is just like broken glass along my skin.
Don’t get me wrong. Practice on Friday was wonderful. Good bonding, good playing. The gig on Saturday was marvelous right up until it wasn’t and even THAT was kind of fun – the sound system died and since it wasn’t my gear I wasn’t overwhelmed by the need to fix it or the worry of how to replace it, we could just play acoustic – and then when the sound engineer got the monitors back but not the mains – we could just slapdash flip the monitors around and not WORRY about it. Sunday was Lovely. Met some new songwriters and felt good about myself in their midst knowing I’m doing what I Love to do and even though they’re great I’m a different KIND of great. And the open mic tonight – it was sparse, but the featured artist, Conor Brendan, was stunning and there was a lot of great talent and I had a good time…