Posts tagged ‘Bowery Ballroom’

What I learned in 100 Days

May 5th, 2009

Here goes: the last and final “What I learned…” post. But this time, for the whole 100 days.

This is the most exciting time in music that I’ve ever experienced
And I grew with Motley Crue, Guns ‘n Roses, R.E.M. Metallica, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, U2, Public Enemy, N.W.A., Run DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. These are all legendary, amazing bands. But I’m telling you – right now this is the most exciting time in music. At least for my generation and those younger than me. Here’s why.

The old music model is broken, but that’s okay: the power has shifted to the artist. The Internet is killing majors, but fuck majors. You don’t need them. But bands need you, now more than ever. Bands may not make any money selling records, but they never did anyways. Fans have the power to keep music alive by simply going to see live music, buying merchandise (and yes, records) directly from bands. This has never been more true than ever before. Fans have direct access to more music than any other time in music.

Some might say there’s no quality control anymore. But fuck that. You are the quality controller. You decide. Any band that has access to a computer can record a song, put it on the Internet and let the people decide if it’s any good or not. That’s exciting because there’s more of it, and you can decide what’s worth your time.

Not only that, but look at the music itself. Take the genre of “indie rock” for example. Listen, I hate genre monikers like this (remember “alternative rock”?) but it’s exciting when one “genre” can be as diverse as to include bands like Belle & Sebastian, Matt and Kim, Sufjan Stevens, Feist and Blitzen Trapper, alongside Animal Collective, N.E.R.D., Kings of Leon, The Avett Brothers, Of Montreal, Bell Orchestre, Black Lips, Wolff, and Wilco.

The ’60s sounded like revolution. The ’70s sounded like rock and disco. The ’80s sounded like pop, new wave, DIY and glam. And the ’90s sounded like grunge and hip hop. So what does the ’00s sound like? All of the above and them some. And that’s pretty damn exciting

People like to see other people do things they couldn’t imagine themselves doing
People remained curious about this project from beginning to end. At first, I think they wanted to know about the music. Later when they asked me, “How’s the project coming?” I think what they really meant was, “How the hell are you still awake or alive or sane?

People like being a part of something
This goes for all the friends who joined me on the journey, the musicians, PR contacts, managers, etc who I met, plus the random people who emailed me and generous people who sent donations. When I started out, I hoped a lot of my friends would go to some shows with me, but I figured I’d do most of it alone. Boy was I wrong. Friends came out of the woodwork for this, and it was awesome.

I also tried to meet as many musicians as I could. I would approach them after their set to tell them what I was doing. About 98% of the time the response was really great. A few musicians blew me off, but fuck them. They were too self-involved anyhow, so who cares. I got 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 happy.

As you know I also took donations. These were not only a way to help me get through the 100 days, but for everyone to get involved and feel apart of the 100 days. Some were as small as $1, some got as big as $200 or $250, but I appreciated them all equally.

Finally, I was fortunate enough to get on a lot of guest lists. Sometimes that was a result of me unabashedly requesting it, but more often than not they were offered up by different contacts I made, or people who contacted me along the way. The generosity of PR folks, band members, band managers, label people and so on was helpful, humbling and appreciated.

The band (almost always) starts an hour after the venue says they will
Keep this in mind if you’re going to see a show in NYC, at the Bowery or Mercury for example. If they say the band goes on at 8pm, they actually go on around 9pm – or later. This is just how it is, at least in NY. Why? Alcohol.

Venues want to get you in and sell you as many overpriced drinks as they can before you notice that you’re waiting for the band to start. And they’ve gotten pretty good at timing it out. Which meant I got pretty good at timing when I needed to show up. Unless I wanted to see the opening bad, then I was screwed.

But, there are a few exceptions:

The “Early show”
These is the show before the show that’s scheduled to bring in the real crowd that night. The doors for these shows are usually at 6:30pm or 7:00pm, and the bands tend to start 30 minutes after they say they will.

Shows start on time in Europe. I learned this one the hard way when I missed Ben Lee at La Fleche d’Or. But it wasn’t just France. Shows in England started at or near the listed time, too. Just a word to the wise if you’re gonna see a show in Europe.

Random, unforeseen bullshit
You show up hoping to see the band that starts at 10pm only to find out that they pulled out and aren’t playing. Or their timeslot got swapped with the band at 9pm. Or the band that was supposed to play at 8pm didn’t show up, and so each band got bumped up an hour. All of these happened to me, and it pissed me off, but what can you do?

Beer is only as good as the tap it comes out of
I drank a lot of beer over 100 days, which is why I’m not drinking any for another month or two. But I didn’t do this for me. I did it for you, the readers. Ok, that’s what I tell myself. But either way, I did it, and now I’m here to report back.

Here is your guide to the best/worst beer taps in NYC: (from worst to best)

Mercury Lounge: Shitty
The PBR is the worst, but it’s also the cheapest, which makes it tempting. Don’t do it. It tastes and smells terrible. The Bud Light is ok, but I would step it up if you’re at the Merc.

Bowery Ballroom: Just ok
Stella isn’t bad here, but can be a bit average, and lose some of the sweetness it should have. And it’s $7, which is bullshit, so they should clean the taps and figure a way of making it worth the price.

Webster Hall: Not bad
Plastic cups suck, but the beer wasn’t bad.

Pianos: Pretty Good
I drank mostly PBR cans at Pianos, but the times that I drank from the tap, I got a Stella and it was pretty decent – mostly because it comes in a glass, not a plastic cup.

The Bell House: Good
Didn’t really drink too much from the tap here, the cans are too cheap ($4), but the one time I did, it was good.

Cake Shop: Good
The music room may be a dive, but the tap beer is good.

Rockwood Music Hall: Good
Pretty decent, but I’d suggest getting a glass of wine instead. They pour them pretty deep.

Music Hall of Williamsburg: Very good
Probably because it’s new, but all the beer I drank here was good.

Le Poisson Rouge: Very good
I hate the stupid mandatory 20% tip if you use your card at LPR, but it’s a new enough venue that the beers come out of the tap tasting delicious.

Joe’s Pub: Excellent
It’s a nicer and more expensive venue, so naturally, they care about their bar.

Going to shows alone isn’t as bad as it seems
Before this project, I would go see a band alone, but not that often. And I’d feel sorry for myself, and hate that I didn’t have anyone to talk to, and waaaaahh waaaaahh waaaaahh… Then I realized, seeing a band can be like seeing a movie. Once it begins, being alone is fine. You shouldn’t be talking during the music anyhow. Granted, some bands are a lot more fun to see with friends. But don’t let the fact that no one else wants to go keep you from going. Just go.

Get to know unknown bands
It’s only natural to want to blow off bands you’ve never heard of before. You’ve never heard them, so why would you care? That is, unless you need to see music every single night, like I did. And sometimes there’s a night where you don’t know who to see, so you have to pick a band at random – as I did. And you know what you’d find out? It’s worth taking chances on unknown bands.

Music will never cease to amaze me
The fact that I can find live music in downtown Hartford, CT on a random Monday night amazes me. How I can still see Les Paul, the 93-year old man who invented the solid body electric guitar, every Monday night, have him flick me off for a picture and meet him afterwards amazes me. The fact that I can be asked on stage to perform with a band that’s been together for over 20 years, to a sold out crowd in NYC amazes me. And the fact that I can see 100 consecutive days of live music and still love music amazes me.

Thanks for reading. Now do yourself a favor and go buy a ticket to see a band, right now.

4/17/09: Great Lake Swimmers @ Bowery Ballroom (85/100)

April 18th, 2009


My grandma Katie died today.

For those who have been reading for awhile, you know that I made an emergency trip back to Minnesota one month ago (almost to the day) to see my grandmother who had fallen sick pretty quickly. We didn’t think she had long left. In fact, I didn’t think she’d even make to the weekend when I planned on heading back to Minnesota. But she was a fighter. The doctors, orderlies, hospice workers – they all said she could “go any minute.” But she didn’t. She kept fighting – and that’s just one reason I loved her. The rest I don’t need to explain. We’ve all had grandmothers.


(with my mom in the 50s, and with my nephew Gabe this year)

For the last month, I felt that any call from my mom, dad or sister that would be the one. Today that call came. I’m at ease with her passing because I know she went peacefully, and had family visiting her every day. I got to see her just a month ago, and talk to her several times since then. The last time being Saturday, when she sounded like she was getting better, even if the doctors said the opposite.

She was definitely on my mind during the whole Great Lake Swimmers show tonight. To be honest, I don’t really remember much of this show. I watched the first few songs from up front, snapped off some photos, then went and leaned against the bar to watch the rest. And text with my sister. We were texting back and forth through most of the show, talking about today, how we missed gma already, how our mom is doing, etc. I couldn’t be with them in MN, which is the shitty thing about living out here in NYC.

While I don’t remember much about the Great Lake Swimmers show, I do think they were the perfect band to see tonight. It wasn’t too crowded, they kept the lights on the stage pretty low, and their music is sufficiently mellow and melancholy to allow me to reflect on the day without really paying attention. When I was paying attention, I was sometimes surprised to look up on stage and not see Iron & Wine. Just sayin’.


I have GLS’s record Ongiara, but not the new one, Lost Channels. It doesn’t matter much though. I feel like they write one long, continuous song. Which is a good thing at times. It’s nice because you can put them on, and then zone out. Exactly what I needed tonight. I didn’t need a crazy rock show with stage diving, or moshing, or singers with drumsticks, or precious indie antics. I needed something I could ignore, so I could think about what I would’ve said if I’d had a chance to say goodbye to my grandma.

Love you gma. We will miss you forever.

4/5/09: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band @ Bowery Ballroom (73/100)

April 5th, 2009

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Back to life. Back to reality. Back to the Bowery Ballroom.

After a week in Europe, visiting Sunshine, seeing a wide variety of bands in venues totally new to me in great cities like London and Paris, it’s back to the grind in NYC. And I’m sorta bummed about it. Even if this week is looking like it could be a really good one. It’s not because I’ve seen 73 straight days of live music. I think I got the post-vacation blues. Luckily I was able to chill out most of the day and recover from jet lag. And even luckier for me, the Bowery is only a 3-block walk from my apartment. Not the hour long jaunts of London and Paris.

Tonight was Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band from Seattle. I learned of them from old high school I recently reconnected with, then noticed they were playing a show at Bowery with Bishop Allen. How’s that for instant gratification? Plus, Bishop Allen’s not bad, either. I have one of their records, there are some good songs. But I was more interested in MSHVB.

I rolled my ass off the couch around 9pm, threw on some clothes and stumbled over to the Bowery. Walking into the club, I felt at home – like I was stepping into my basement for some Sunday night tunes. Of course, I wasn’t in my basement because I live in a 350 square foot apartment in Manhattan. The only thing in my basement is the boiler, and probably a shit load of rats.

The first band Team B just finished when I walked in. All I saw was them breaking their gear down. No biggie. I was looking for a quick night tonight since jet lag was beginning to kick in.

Twenty minutes later, MSHVB (which is not a very easy acronym to type) was on stage. Just looking at them, it seemed like they were going to be fun. They wore matching outfits, one of the guitar players had fashioned a headband out of what looked like spare material, and the female keyboardist/percussionist was holding big, stick thingys. They smiled a lot, bantered with the crowd, and seemed really nice. But when it came to the songs, they were all business.

Big thick, Gibson riffs. A little bit prog rock, a little bit garage and roll. Think Yes mixed with the De Stijl-era White Stripes (when they were interesting), Black Mountain and somehow, somewhere, a little bit of Led Zeppelin. Plus other references I can’t think of. See for yourself below.

This video is from the show:

This one is from SXSW (not mine, but I wish it was):

Well…it happened again tonight. I was on my couch. Not in the mood to get dressed and head out to see a band. But once I got there, and they MSHVB was on stage doing their thing, I was happy. I ignored my jet lag for an hour, took it in – and it was fucking great.

Sorry, I’ve been trying to control my cursing more lately (wait, I did say shit earlier, too – damnit). But MSHVB were that good. I even bought the CD afterwards. And I wasn’t the only one. The line at the merch table after their set was how every band wants to see it – packed.

I put my new CD in my pocket, walked upstairs, stopped for a moment and looked at the stage – trying to figure out if I could manage another hour and a half of music tonight. Bishop Allen, or not? Hmm. I thought, “Maybe.” But my jet lag said, “Hells no.” So I listened to the jet lag and went home.

3/18/09: Isabella Lundgren @ The National Underground (55/100)

March 18th, 2009

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I found myself strolling down Houston tonight, looking for a band to see. I didn’t have anything planned, and I was tired of the Bowery, Mercury Lounge, Cake Shop, Pianos, etc. Don’t get me wrong. I love those places. They’ve become like second homes. But I just couldn’t do it again tonight. I couldn’t stand around and wait until 11pm for another indie rock to hit the stage in a dark rock club. I needed something different.

And the thing is, there were decent bands playing, too: Clem Snide @ Bowery, Old School Freight Train @ Mercury. Either one of these would’ve been good show I’m sure, but like I said, I just couldn’t do it. I needed a night off.

Before I made it to the LES, I was walking around the Village. It was still light out, and I was hoping for a miracle in the form of music flowing out from a bar somewhere that would draw me in. Then, I’d grab a drink, and have a nice relaxed day 55. But I was coming up blank.

Nothing happening on Bleecker, damnit. Nothing happening on W. 3rd, damnit. Finally, Sunshine called me up and helped me try and find someone to see by playing music from Myspace pages of bands playing at The Living Room, Arlene’s Grocery, etc. But nothing seemed worth it. I had resigned myself to going back to Mercury tonight.

But then…

As I ambled towards the Merc, I passed The National Underground – a place I’d walked past a million times before, but never stopped into. From the sidewalk it looks more like a bar than a music venue. But there’s a small stage opposite the bar, and another room downstairs. So it’s legit, and just what I was looking for: soothing jazz flowing out from a club, drawing me in. I checked the window for a poster, to see who was playing. Looks like a female jazz singer named Isabella Lundgren. Good enough for me.

I’ve talked about my neophyte status as a jazz listener before (but I’m getting better, I hope). I didn’t recognize a lot of her songs, wasn’t sure how many were originals, standards, or what. I did recognize the classic “All of me,” but not to many more. But so what. This was just the kind of evening I wanted.

To stumble onto a band while it’s still light out, and be home before it got too late. I don’t want you all to think that I’m losing steam. That’s not the case at all In fact, quite the opposite. The second half of this project has totally re-energized me. I just felt like changing it up tonight. To go somewhere I hadn’t been, see something less predictable . Tonight was as much about retaining my excitement for the usual venues I love as it was about keeping the project diverse. How am I doing on that this week? Let’s see:

80s metal/rock on Monday.

Quirky Euro indie folk on Tuesday.

Jazz tonight.

Hip-hop on Thursday (The Roots).

Friday still TBD

Electro-pop on Saturday (if I can get into the Cut Copy show).

Now that I look at it, that’s not too bad at all. Here I was stressing about making sure the bands in the last half of the project live up to some standard, or at least help contribute to diversifying the total outcome. But I’m fine. This week is what this project is all about.

3/10/09: Cursive @ Bowery Ballroom (47/100)

March 11th, 2009

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Seriously, what the fuck is up with Cursive fans?

Have they all been holding in their angst since the 90s? I mean, really. Why so fucking uptight and annoying? Let the angst go people, honestly. You’re not 18 anymore. Take a deep breath, relax and stop shooting me dirty looks for talking during one of their songs, and don’t stiff arm me and push your elbow into me for trying to push through the crowd. This is a rock show. Grow up.

I’ve been to crazier shows and encountered nicer crowds. Take a Jay Reatard show, for example. Everyone might be moshing and pushing each other. And Jay may kick you in the face if you try to get up on stage. But even then, the crowd is less uptight and aggressive than last night.

But I digress.

Before the show, I got to hang out with my friend Charlie who’s in town for work. We used to play in a band together, and we haven’t hung out in like 6+ months. So it was nice to catch up over drinks and dinner before the show. Then, I had to split off and meet up with Al at the Bowery.

I was actually excited for this show. I am a fan of Saddle Creek, and like a lot of the stuff that comes out on that label. While I wasn’t a huge Cursive fan back in the day, I knew enough of them to look forward to the show. And it was sold out, so I figured it would be great.

On a side note, thanks so much to Wendy at Toolshed, and Jeff at Saddle Creek for hooking me up with this show, and for the photo pass. I just wish I could’ve tracked down a SLR and get myself up front with the photogs. Of course, might’ve been tough getting through the crowd in one piece.

As far as the music goes, Cursive was good. I mean, they definitely had the the angst of the 90s and early Saddle Creek stuff, like Los Desaparecidos, which I loved at the time, but doesn’t do as much for me now. But, for what it was they were good. The room definitely had that “we’ve been waiting for this” vibe from the band and fans. Like it was overdue.

I guess I just wasn’t really feeling the Bowery tonight, for all the reasons stated above. You’d think after going to 46 consecutive days of music I’d be able to look past this shit, but I couldn’t. So while toward the end of their set, as Cursive continued to wail away, Al and I moved to a safer distance from the stage to listen, while coming up with a plan to throw a big party for my 100th day. More details on that when it things get planned out (which won’t be for a while).

3/9/09: Black Lips @ Bowery Ballroom (46/100)

March 10th, 2009

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This show can be summed up in one statement:

I felt like I was the last one to the party, and everyone else had used up all the drugs.

Imagine you were at a show where a guy in the band kept licking his guitar, then spitting into the air and catching it back in his mouth. Then another guy in the band would headbutt the microphone. And all members of the band jumped around like they were possessed, and screamed into microphone completely at random.

Then you would be at a Black Lips show.

Now imagine the venue was super packed, so much so that that you couldn’t see the stage for most of the show. But that’s fine because the band spent half the show crowd surfing in the audience anyhow.

Then you would be at the Black Lips show I saw @ Bowery Monday night.

A show I was lucky to have been at all, since I had to leave straight from work at 11pm – and race to the venue, hoping the Lips hadn’t gone on at 10 or something. Luckily, they had just started their first song when I arrived. Which is good timing for missing opening acts I’ve never heard of, but bad timing for having a decent place to stand and watch the show.

The Black Lips are so fucking weird and whacked out on stage. Sometimes they play real songs, other times things that barely resemble songs. But it totally works. They would probably be boring if it was just them playing their unique brand of “flower punk” pop songs. A Black Lips show is more about the spectacle than the songs. The songs are good. Watching the train wreck is better.

Oh, and there’s also tons of moshing, stage diving, crowd surfing and the like. Yet somehow I feel like this is less of a trend alert and more of the norm at a Black Lips show.

Truthfully, for most of the show I was pretty preoccupied with a big presentation I had first thing in the morning on Tuesday that I didn’t feel I really got all that I could’ve from this show. Yet, even if my mind was clear, and I had arrived early enough to get a decent spot and soak everything in, I’m still not sure that would’ve mattered – since I probably would’ve needed some massive, um, chemical stimulation to really get it. Something that I wouldn’t be doing anyhow, especially not at my advanced age of 32.

All reasons why I felt that I would really like to see the Black Lips again, pretty much immediately after seeing them.

3/3/09: Dan Auerbach w/Hacienda @ Bowery Ballroom (40/100)

March 4th, 2009

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People are always asking me, “Who’s the best band you’ve seen so far?” That’s always a tough one to answer because there are great bands, and then there are great “shows” Plus, it’s hard to compare Terence Blanchard to Lambchop, or the Rural Alberta Advantage to The Answer. They all have different things going for them, so long story short, I don’t have a one “best” show, but this Dan Auerbach show is really, really close to the top.

Man can he bring it live. The stage was rigged out like an arena show. The band had two drummers, bongos, a huge triangle bigger than your head, they were loud as hell and had great songs.

Now I have to go back and re-evaluate how I’ve felt about the Black Keys – dust off their records and dig in. Or maybe not since I did go back listen to the Auerbach record after the show (to try and figure out why that didn’t grab me the way the show did), but just accepted that there’s just something live that doesn’t exist on the record.

The record is good, the show was fucking great.

I have my friends James and Eugenie to thank for this night (and I have thanked them a million times, but I will do it one more time here. Thank you). It was their idea, and they treated me to the ticket and dinner beforehand. So, so nice. We met up at a little wine/tapas bar near my apt, grabbed a few drinks, a few croquettes, hamburguesas y chorizo – and then headed to the Bowery around nine. The opening first opening act was on, but I don’t remember much about them except the singer’s gold lamé pants. But the one thing that did strike me immediately was the stage. A lot going on.

The second band up was Hacienda. I did some Googling during their set and found their myspace page. They’re a Mexican-American rock band from San Antonio who are all related (brothers, cousins) and were sort of discovered by Dan Auerbach. They mixed southern rock with 50s rock with R&B with C&W. One of those opening bands you’re happy to came upstairs for.

Then, the waiting began…

Right after the Hacienda set, I updated my Twitter with this:

100bands100daysHacienda rocked. Who knew? A little bit blues, a little bit rock and roll…oh, and R&B and soul. Fun, fun band.

And then, 45 minutes later, with this:

100bands100daysAuerbach still not on. Really making us work for it. WTF? Stage has been set up for over 20 minutes. We r just standing here

Seriously. I know the stage was set up like an arena rock show, but that doesn’t meant they need to make us wait like they’re Bon Jovi or something. Damn.

The floor was getting more and more crowded. The crowd was getting more and more anxious. Then…finally…Dan Auerbach took the stage, with a few other guys we’d seen that night already. Turns out, Hacienda is his backing band (+ another guy on percussion). Nice. This should be good.

And was it ever. It was loud. It was fun. It was really, really loud and fun. A lot of people were dancing. A lot of people were nodding along.

Two people next to me were doing some fucking body dance thing that looked like a weird mating ritual you’d see on Animal Planet. Seriously, what the fuck are you two doing? You’re like rubbing your backs together and your face is in that dude’s armpit. And you keep bumping me. Get a fucking room!

It was so crowded that after I weaseled my way up to the front to snap off a few photos, I couldn’t really make it back to where James and Eugenie were. I got close, but was stuck next to the fucking Animal Planet mating ritual couple instead. Blurg.

But it was fine because no matter where you were, Dan Auerbach sounded amazing.

2/27/09: Blitzen Trapper w/Plants and Animals @ Bowery Ballroom(36/100)

March 2nd, 2009

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My eyelids were made of lead, I couldn’t keep them up…I was still fucking beat. This dumb cold just wouldn’t go away. But I was on my way to see Blitzen Trapper @ Bowery anyhow. But first, a brief history of my relationship with this band.

Chapter 1: Back in November of ‘08, I took a trip to MA to see BT when they were touring with Iron & Wine. My friend Tim lives  up there and he got the tickets. We headed to the show, all excited, but got the door time wrong, and got to the venue just in time for their last song. Balls. We saw Iron & Wine, but whatever. I was pissed.

Chapter 2: A few months ago I noticed BT is coming back to NY, I put it on my calendar.

Chapter 3: A few weeks ago, I notice Blitzen Trapper is on Twitter, so I follow them, and leave them some @ replies about wanting to meet them when they come through town. I mention the 100 bands project. Then, next thing I know, they’re following me. Nice.

Chapter 4: Then, I get a random email from this guy named Dodge who runs the My Old Kentucky music blog. He gives me the email addresses of one of BT’s managers Ingrid, and I email her. She’s really nice and puts me on the guest list. Double nice.

Chapter 5: My same friend Tim goes to see BT again in Northampton a couple days ago. He gets to the show early, sees the band hanging around, walks up and talks to the red-haired guy in the band. He says he’s heard of me and that I contacted them. Triple nice.

Sorry. I said it would be brief. So I lied. So what? So nothing. Ok.

Friday night comes, and I’m fucking wiped out. Still can’t kick this stupid cold. But I’m excited for the show. It’s going to be a good crew for the show. Me, Rob, Joey V, Andy and Bekah. Then, when I get there, I run into Sully, an old co-worker of mine from my MTV days. We get to the club, grab some drinks, miss the very first opening act, Alela Diane. I heard she’s good, but oh well. I’ve been spending enough time at the Bowery that I don’t need to do another 4 hours there tonight.

We check out Plants and Animals, who I had heard a little bit of and thought they sounded good. But live, I don’t know. Wasn’t doing much for me. It was a bit thin.

While they’re on, Rob sends me a text that says “Red haired dude from the band is at merch table.” Sweet, the same guy Tim talked to. So I head over there then introduce myself. His name is Marty or Martin, I can’t remember (sorry, I’m shitty with names).

He remembers meeting Tim and we chat for a few minutes about the 100 bands project. I don’t think he initially grasped how I’m going every day for 100 days. When he does though he says “Wow, that’s hardcore.” We chat for a few more minutes, and then I buy a t-shirt (at the “I’m with the band” 50% discount. Thanks Marty) with the amazing BT logo on the front. He says “enjoy the show,” and I split.

And enjoying this show wasn’t hard to do because tonight, Blitzen Trapper sounded amazing. Maybe top 3 shows of this project so far. There was just this electricity in the room that night. The Bowery was packed shoulder to shoulder. BT was playing every great song from the last two albums. And the crowd was loving it. Including all those I brought with (who I turned onto the band, which always feels good). It was just one of those great nights at what is becoming my second home: the Bowery Ballroom.

02/27/09 – Blitzen Trapper w/Plants and Animals – Bowery Ballroom

February 27th, 2009
Blitzen Trapper w/Plants and Animals
Friday, February 27, 2009
10:00pm - 18+ Buy Tickets
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, USA 10002

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2/25/09: Tapes ‘n Tapes w/The Subjects & Wild Light @ Bowery Ballroom (34/100)

February 26th, 2009

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Day 3 of being sick and I’m feeling better than the day before, and the day before that. So that’s good. And I’ve been looking forward to this show for a while. I saw Tapes ‘n Tapes a couple years ago during CMJ. I was looking forward to seeing them at a proper show where people show up just to see them. But I wasn’t there just to see Tapes. 

I wanted to see how The Subjects have been doing. I’ve mentioned before how I used to be in a band, which is technically true. But not in the same way the guys in The Subjects or the guys in Tapes ‘n Tapes are in a band. I never tried to make it. It was just friends of mine playing. We did manage to hold it together for about a couple years. Most of that time we rehearsed in the same building as The Subjects. So we became friendly with them. They got tighter and tighter, we got messier and messier. We felt apart, they picked up momentum. And so on.

I met up with my friend Ryan, his girl Erin, and friend of a mutual friend, Ollie. Out of our group, 3 of us were Minnesotans. Which is to be expected heading into a Tapes ‘n Tapes show.It also made me wonder how many other of us Minnesotans were representing. Someone needs to create an iPhone for something like that (and give me credit for the idea).

We got there just as the Subjects were going on. They sounded great. They were incorporating more keys than before, and Dave (lead singer) was giving up more vocal duties to drummer Matt. Made for a cool change. The newer songs (out on a record soon) sounded great. Definitely check these guys out if you get a chance. Not just saying that because I know them. Neither Ryan, Erin or Ollie had seen them, and they really dug them.

I was still trying to kick this cold, and going through times of being awake and having fun, to exhausted and having none. But at least I had my mostly-Minnesota posse, The Subjects, and then another friend Jon who I used to work all randomly at the show w/me. 

Random observation made by Erin: “Tapes and Tapes draw a really tall crowd.” And she’s right. Check this guy out:

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Tapes ‘n Tapes were finally set up and ready to go around, maybe 10:30? I don’t know. It was way past my sickass’s bedtime, that’s all I know. Ryan, Ollie and I grabbed a spot near the front right of the stage. Erin had to bail early. Not sure where Jon was at this point.

Tapes fucking killed this show. They split time between songs from The Loon and Walk It Off and even threw in some new ones for good measure – and were solid as hell. Not just musically, either. But with crowd control, too. When some drunk guy yelled “Play louder!” Tapes singer Josh Grier said, “If you think this isn’t loud enough, then you’re deaf.” In his best Minnesota-nice accent, of course. 

About halfway through they played “Insistor” and then, there it was…the mosh pit. I’m telling you: moshing is back. Maybe not for every band, or for the entire show, but it’s most definitely back. 

During the encore, I ran to get my coat and bumped into Dave, singer from The Subjects. I caught up with him for a bit and that was pretty much it. A good night catching up with friends, listened to some good music and no one farted (at least, not near me). 

Oh, right: the band Wild Light. They were awful, and from New Hampshire. Seriously, what band is from fucking New Hampshire? You’re telling me they couldn’t move to Boston? Or New York? Or Philly, to try and make it? 

But whatevs.