4/10/09: The Wrens @ The Bell House (78/100)

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I’m having a really hard putting this show into words. I mean, how do you begin to write about being invited on stage to play a song with The Wrens at their sold out show on a Friday night in NYC? Seriously, what words can communicate that?

The words “thank you” come to mind first. Thank you to The Wrens. Thank you to Naomi for passing along my email to the band. Thank you to Kevin for getting in touch with me and offering to give me 5th Wren status for a night. Thank you to the rest of the band for letting me step on your stage. Thank you to the crowd at the Bell House for being so awesome.

What a fucking experience, let me tell you. But first, let me show you:


Video credit: Dave Pinke

This is what this project is about. Not me living like a rock star. But connecting with music. And you don’t get much closer than becoming the 5th Wren for a night. You don’t get a much better experience than looking out on a crowd that’s going crazy, not for me, but for the band, and the moment, and just how moving music can be. And that’s the thing: music is more than what we listen to. It’s what moves us. Not just to the beat. But the moment. Ugh…see? This shit is hard to put into words. But let me keep trying.

Let’s back up to the beginning.

I got out to Bell House in time to catch the last few songs of the opening band. The place was pretty crowded, but not as packed as a sold out show seemed like it should be. But don’t worry, it filled in. The opener finished up, and then I took a spot in the front row, waiting for The Wrens to take the stage. I’m not gonna lie, the butterflies were rustlin’ a little in the stomach knowing I’d be up on that stage in no time. Excited, but nervous.

Kevin (bass) told me they would call me up during the song “Hopeless” so I listened to it about a million times, but knew right when I stepped on stage, none of that would matter and I’d forget everything. And I was right. Damnit, I keep getting ahead of myself.

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Ok, so toward the end of their set, Kevin addressed the crowd with a shout out to the 100 bands project, and said they were going to bring me on stage as the 5th Wren. He said at some point, I’d come up and dazzle the crowd with my Elton John like skills on the keyboard. I don’t know about that, but I do that when I hopped up on the side of the stage, the crowd went nuts.

Man, that’s the kind of reaction I could get used to. Now I know why these guys have kept it together for 20 years. The energy you feel being up there is amazing. On stage, I took a seat next to Kevin as he began the intro keyboard/vox for “Hopeless.”

I whipped out my digital camera and began to film it, but then handed my camera down to a guy standing in the front row so he could shoot this for me (Thanks Dave). Turns out, he works in digital content at MTV, so I picked a great guy for the job. And, his friend Maryanne was snapping still shots (thanks for the pics).

As I waited for my moment to shine, Jerry (drummer) handed me “Flat Stanley” that he had the crowd hold up earlier to take a picture for his son. It was Jerry’s birthday, and earlier the band brought out a cake. Just an FYI. Anyhow, it was very sweet and I was honored to hold up the Flat Stanley for the front row to take shots of.

When the song got going, Kevin stepped away from the keys, and it was my turn to step up. I moved my chair forward, tried to mimic the chords I watched him play during the intro, but then realized that would never happen. So I took my limited knowledge of the keys and just hoped I didn’t fuck up the song. Which was entirely likely since I couldn’t hear a single note coming out of the keyboard. Oh well. Hopefully it at least looked like I knew what I was doing.

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I jammed on the keys for most of the song, looking up and actually not being as freaked out by the crowd as I thought I might be. Toward the end of the song, Kevin tapped me on the shoulder and got me to jump up and down with him, and the crowd went wild! A fucking dream come true, right? There I was, with the Wrens, jumping up and down at center stage at a sold out show. I pumped my fist in the air, gave Kevin a big hug, waved the rest of the band and jumped off the side of the stage into a crowd of people slapping me on the back, congratulating me.

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

As the crowd cleared out, I met some nice people who asked about the blog, and congratulated me some more. I chatted for a bit, then stopped by the merch table and introduced myself to, and thanking Jerry (drummer) and Greg (guitar). They were so nice, and thanked me for making their band a part of the project. Then I popped backstage to thank Kevin and Charles (guitar/vox). I asked them if I invited them to the 100th Day event I’m throwing, would they join me. They said they would – ending the best experience of this project so far.

Thanks again guys (in case I haven’t said it enough already).

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6 Responses to “4/10/09: The Wrens @ The Bell House (78/100)”

  1. [...] 100bandsin100days.com/?p=2197 [...]

  2. Awesome show man, you killed it as the fifth Wren, and I get excited whenever anyone wants to document the live Wrens show as its indescribable. Check out my travel videos, similar idea:

    http://www.vimeo.com/3710179

  3. very cool nick, you are now officially a rockstar! looking forward to seeing you make it to the finish line, not long to go now… how about adding on an extra 100 days…. no, not so much…?

  4. Hey Nick, really like the project. i was at the show and thought you did a fine job up there on stage. Wow, I would have been so nervous.

  5. [...] 4/10/09: The Wrens @ The Bell House (78/100) [...]

  6. [...] to meet some great people. And they were as happy to be a part of it as I was to be doing it. See The Wrens entry for an example of how [...]

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