Sunday, March 28, 2010

A WILD Weekend!

This craaaaazy weekend started at 6:30am yesterday morning. We accidentally got up an hour early- I (Blythe) had unknowingly pushed the clock an hour ahead while setting the alarm the night before. It's a good thing I did because we needed all the time we could get to drag our zombified selves to the van to rearrange the seats, take out the trash, and load-in the gear.
We picked up Brian, MK, and the-best-merch-man-ever Kevin in Frederick at 9:30, breakfasted at beloved Sheetz and hit the highway by 10am. Good ol' Kevin had found a route that avoided the dreaded Jersey Turnpike and took us through a section of PA I had never seen before. I highly recommend a visit to Easton- it's full of beautiful bridges and home of the classiest McDonald's I've ever been in- it seconds as a Dick Schisler gallery- see if you can find his paintings online!

We also found this rockin' rest stop that had these AMAZING pinball machines: Star Wars and Creature from the Black Lagoon!

And this bizaare scale:

After shooting some aliens, livestock and gophers,

we were back on the road.

We got to Brooklyn by 4:30 via the stunning Verrazano bridge

and went to Bushwick to rehearse with Captain Ronzo before the show. He learned our songs in about 2 hours (!!!) so he could play rhythm guitar with us, then off to Ace of Clubs. Poor mis-informed GPS timed the drive into Mahattan at 10 minutes, but it's Manhattan so it took us about an hour :).

The club was a beautiful basement space with a great hardwood floor. We had a shyt-kickin' evening playing with Andy Miller and Boxcar Abandon, Captain Ronzo and I'll be John Brown. The crowd was very friendly and danced during our set, which is our favorite thing ever! John the sound man gave me a board to stand on so the bottlecap stompers sounded extra good. An all in all lovely night, and then back in the van to MD.

Willie drove us sleepy people home- we rolled back into Poolesville at 7:30am, completeing our 25 hour day. It was a long haul for a 45 minute set, but what won't we do for a show?

Then some sleep, some showering and back to Frederick for the closing party of the Frederick Film Festival. We were thrilled to be playing in The Weinberg Center- it's a gorgeous old theater run by wonderful people.

We started out a little rocky- it was tough managing the sound in a marble and tile room. We had not planned on plugging in since this was an acoustic show, but someone requested "more uke" after the first number so I half-remembered a few songs to sing while Willie ran back to the car for the amps.

People were all in now that they could hear us. This was an awesome group we could really interact with. The room had a great energy with some people listening to us and others talking to each other about the Peter Riegert movie they had just watched. It was the perfect casual setting. And we had just as much fun talking to everyone after the set. We learned about a cool new band playing in Frederick- check them out!

The Jug Band

The bottle caps caused a pleasing stir- good thing I reloaded my shedded shakers before the show!


I talked to a woman who's going to pass the idea along to her daughter to use for music therapy! Sweet!

This really was one of our funnest shows ever. We can't wait for next year's festival- hopefully we won't have an out-of-state date the day before and can actually catch the movies!

So now I'm winding down to The Empire Strikes Back (the vastly superior non-remastered version) and basking in the glow of a glorious couple of days. After yesterday, 4am is gonna feel like an early betime!

Good night and good luck.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Bloody Bodhran

Technically this picture is from a few shows back, but we'd like to take a moment to highlight our badass bodhran player, the lovely MaryKate Schneider-as-of-tomorrow-Truesdale. 
She's torn her knuckles to shreds several times by beating up hobos in the back alley before our shows and then smearing the blood on her drum to cover her tail.  "Oh man, I was just rocking so hard!"  Yeah, she rocks those bums all the way to the ER.

Well this past show at the Whiskey set a new record- she was flinging blood all over the floor and soaking her oozing fingers in ice water between songs.  I'm searching for pictures and will post them as soon as anyone coughs 'em up.  That clementine-sized splotch is now bigger than a fist.  Come check it out at our next show!  She's gonna start biting the heads off of guinea pigs on stage!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Nose Whole

So I'd like to tell you a happy little tale and make a happy little recommendation. 

I've always wanted my nose pierced, had it done about 5 years ago, but had to take it out almost immediately for job/school/etc. and I FINALLY just got it done again.

I had the best piercing/tattoo experience I've ever had at the nimble hands of Moose B Almighty, a piercer working at TimeBomb Tattoo on Market St. in downtown Frederick.  He is very thorough and makes sure to give you exactly what you want.  And not only is he extremely friendly, clean, and professional, he is also a self-taught sword swallower and fire breather/eater!  Awesome!

So if any of you lucky people out there are looking to puncture your parts, by all means go to Moose at TimeBomb.  He's the coolest!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Galt Migration

This is an email I just received from a booker.  Coincidentally, the following quote did not come from New York, but it is the exact same self-destructive approach to the music "scene" that we ran into nearly everywhere we played there (with a few exceptions, especially dearly departed Stain, R.I.P.) and that ultimately sparked our relocation:

"playing *name withheld* is more about how many people you can bring to the party and not how well the band plays. we do not have a built in crowd. the band brings them. this is my only business and quality of music comes second to the business side right now."

All I can really think is no wonder they don't have a built in crowd.  How can you divide the "quality of music" and the "business side" if music is your business?  A live music venue is a place people go to hear music.  Will they go there if the music isn't good? 
Especially in a smaller city where there aren't as many places to go, wouldn't you want to establish yourself as the bar with really arse-kickin' tunes?  Even if it takes extra leg work and promotion at first, you'll establish a loyal crowd instead of relying on a bunch of bands to bring in their friends.
And how about this: if the bands lack quality, are their friends going to come to more than one show?  Even if they do ever come back- if all they hear is bad music, will they ever return?  Instead, won't they go tell all their friends about what a terrible show they saw at this place?  Is that the kind of word of mouth you want spreading about your only business?
If you come to be known as the bar that books crappy bands, far from attracting any kind of crowd, you will repel it.  It's like a burger joint saying they can't buy beef because they have to focus on the business side of things for awhile.
The question shouldn't be "Why didn't the band bring anyone?" but instead, "Why isn't there anyone in the bar?"

This is certainly not to say that all the bands that play at venues with this attitude are bad.  And in this person's tragic defense, they did imply that our band plays well, which we always appreciate :), and they didn't say we couldn't play, they just put their hands up in the air and said we could try to hook up with one of the headlining bands they've already booked.  They also took the trouble to respond at all, which was very kind.

I'm also happy to report that now that we've moved, this approach seems to be the exeption and not the rule.  We've found many wonderful (and crowded) venues that we're pleased to return to and that are fostering a healthy music scene. 

This music vs. business attitude has just always baffled us because it is so clearly a case of cutting your nose off to spite your face.  And I've rarely seen it layed out so clearly.

I'd be really interested to know other people's thoughts on this.  Please leave a comment if you feel so inclined.