Wow, the last couple of days have been a roller coaster for moods and for optimism and pressure-cooker angst. After Thursday night in Putnam I was pretty much on top of the world, and the next day Jason and Sharif came up from Maryland – so it was only going to get better.
Friday afternoon we met them in Windsor, CT and bummed around for a couple of hours before playing our show at the Centre Coffee Bar.
Jason, of course, is an old, old friend, and deserves some real points for being the ilyAIMY fan who has traveled most frequently to come see us out-of-state. Ray probably still wins in the category of longest single trip (out to New Orleans and back!), but Jason definately has mileage on him from the sheer number of times he’spopped out to Pittsburgh, or that college in Pennsylvania so long ago that the name escapes me, or Providence, RI – and now Windsor, CT and Cambridge, MA. We need to come up with some sort of award for him.
In any case – Friday was fucking … awesome … sigh. I use that word far too frequently – but the first show back with either Sharif or Rowan after any sort of absence is always SO intense, so very high. We had an energy that we just don’t get as frequently on our own. A real passion, and the audience really picked up on it and projected it right back.
It was this night that we also first witnessed what is known as the Sharif-effect…Now, I don’t really know what it IS about him. I mean… he’s cute, yeah, and he’s squiggly and kind of giggly… but he’s the keyboard player and the bass player, and as such, really isn’t supposed to… well… get any. (Not that he actually IS!!! This is an Effect and no Action – for clarity’s sake… Sharif’s girlfriend take note! He’s been VERY GOOD!!!)
In any case, let’s just acknowledge that the Centre Coffee Bar, among it’s many great traits of fine food, good art on the walls, fun atmosphere and friendly staff – also hires and is owned by some of the singularly most attractive people in the coffeehouse world – including the hot art chicks that FREQUENT so many coffeehouses… and with THAT said, when the shapely smiling blonde with the plaid skirt leans over to me and whispers in my ear with a grin… she’s SUPPOSED to say “So, are… you and Heather together?” She’s NOT supposed to say “So… what’s your keyboard players name?” Then we just watched the three barristas get gigglier in a semi-circle around Sharif as the night progressed.
We spent the night talking and laughing and smirking out in the Hartland, CT woods and then headed out to Cambridge, MA for a Shattered Monkey Circus show that we’d been invited to play.
A skunk in Cambridge! I know, I know – this blurry photograph is HARDLY conclusive proof, but if I could only get some skunk hair it could be decisively shown that it is… like… a bison.
On the way, we stopped at a McDonalds. The woman behind the counter THERE got so mesmorized by Sharif’s dark and wanton eyes that she forgot to give him his change… then, when Sharif “accidentally” knocked over his drink (I’m not saying he did it on purpose, I’m just saying it was mighty suspicious) the blonde that came out to mop up his vast and roaring sea of carbonation kept knocking over implements and chairs and losing her mop, apparently in infatuation.
Let’s not even discuss the fact that he appeared to be making headway with what APPEARED to be the lesbian partner of one of the other performers in Cambridge.
Jason and I just sat back in a pool of jealousy and admiration. It just wasn’t right.
Other than watching Sharif’s pheremones at work, Saturday was a rambling sort of day. Whitney took us around Boston for a little while, doing a good tourguide impression, walking backwards and giving us such fascinating facts like “the Liberty Trail starts around here. It’s red and goes to a lot of dead guy’s houses”, and lunch was a pretty random affair as well, eating knishes and curries and octopuses.
At Whitney’s place, we’re actually within walking distance of the Cantab Lounge, so after a quick nap, we meandered down there as well. The Circus was well under way, but though it was apparently running late, we actually ended up going 20 minutes early, and ended up getting a really long set. Suited us just fine. In the basement of the Cantab, we proceeded to make on Hell of an impression. There’s something to be said for planning a 30 minute set full of powerhouse tunes and wishing you could pack
more in, and then the stage manager says something starting with a “t” and you say “What? Two more?” And he says “NO! You’ve got another twenty minutes!”
He liked us.
So we thrashed and rolked and rollicked and generally enjoyed the huge amps we were playing through, trying to overpower whatever band was on the upstairs stage. Strains of blues fingered their way down the stairs, but we fought back with a passion.
Oh yeah – animals? We met a skunk on the way to the bar. Apparently this is normal.
The gig went well, though in a continuing Boston theme, CD sales were pretty sparse. On the way back to Whitney’s place we met a tiny Weiner dog that gave us some small-tongue Love before we continued back to collapse on various mattresses and fold-out contraptions.
Saturday was a good day.
Sunday was a bad day.
It started off confused, trying to orchestrate the departure of two cars with one available parking space. Trying to share directions to Providence, trying to get Sharif’s keyboard down Whitney’s winding staircase, trying to get Heather’s laptop charged (it’s been having suspiciously Alienware-esque issues).
In any case, getting out of the city was Hellish. A ballgame of some sort combined with a missed turn combined with stop and go Bostonian HELL traffic spaghetti and Heather and I were at one another’s throats by the time we made it to the Boston border.
Something to make us cheerful for the sheer coolness of it – or perhaps an omen – a hawk had caught some poor beestie under the trees on the median strip. I’d never seen that before.
It’s arrow sharp head turned to watch us as we passed, pulling strips of meat off its kill.
Sharif, Jason, Heather and I all ate sushi in Providence when we finally found our way there, returning to sanity on Wickendon Street, just before Sharif and Jason had to head back home bearing packages for friends back home. (little ilyAIMYite courier service – not only does Jason get mileage points for coming to see us, but also for doing our bidding… ) Heather and I explore for a bit and then go and check out March of the Penguins, which was quite satisfyingly full of waddling penguin drama.
The gig itself, however, didn’t go so well.
I Love the people we meet through the Monkey Circus shows, but sometimes they seem to collapse a little under their own weight. Rich (the organizer) had his plate full what with the birthday marathon show the previous night and the fact that his ORIGINAL Sunday night venue failed its fire inspection and had had to cancel – reorganizing to a whole other venue, organizing a sound system, notifying everyone – well, it takes a bigger man than I to go through all of that and not just cancel the gig.
Unfortunately, he was rewarded with low attendence and a sound system that fritzed out when it was jostled by people tapping their fingers too close to it. And by “fritzed out” I mean “made a horrendous noise like the crackling thunder of God’s wrath beheld at a range of twenty feet” – or something like that.
It was pretty rough. Add to that our OWN technical problems – in a twenty minute set I snapped four strings – and I was in a foul mood by the time I got off the stage. Luckily Lucky (an old, old friend from MICA) had turned up and was her usual glowing self, which brought me back up a bit, but I still felt like gnawing my own bleeding hands off (gashed my left hand grabbing at my shattered strings, and stabbed my right pinkie trying to continue to play with ANOTHER lost string).
Thank goodness the drive home was so easy.
Today is a Monday, grey and dismal and full of the passage of buses. My phone rattles with assholes trying to sell me shit, apparently at the request of Mastercard. Paying my bills on time (or perhaps the fact that I rarely use the card and they don’t make any money off of my having it) apparently makes me the object of affection of sweepstakes and special offers and general bullshit. I think I may cancel my last credit card sometime soon, because it pisses me off.
Can’t we sue people for stuff like this or something? It’s not the way to start off the morning.
Hrm. Look at that. The sun’s coming out. Playing the Cantab again tonight. Maybe we’ll see another skunk.