Posts tagged ‘Mercury Lounge’

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.

4/27/09: Lost in the Trees @ Mercury Lounge (95/100)

April 27th, 2009

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God damn…this project just keeps getting better. Oh, and my friend Kurt fixed my camera, making the pictures much better, too. It’s a shame it’s almost over. Maybe I’ll have to keep going to 200 or 300 or…um yea, no way!

A folk orchestra from Chapel Hill might not sound like the most exciting thing to go see. But listen, when a band is good, a band is good. And Lost in the Trees was good. Really, really fucking good. They’re an 8-piece band from Chapel Hill lead by Berklee College of Music alum Ari Picker, and they killed it. I could’ve listened twice as long.

They were intense and haunting and beautiful. Not like the Arcade Fire. It wasn’t hat intense or self-important. This band seemed really nice and humble, and the conductor smiled the whole show, just as their music surrounded and then tore away at you.

Picker played a 12-string guitar, strung up as only a 6-string, and was flanked by a cello player, two violinists, a drummer, and three multi-instrumentalists who bounced between two glockenspiels, two tubas, electric guitar and an accordion. Oh, and yes, this was another band with a random floor tom sitting center stage for anyone who’s not a drummer who wanted to play it. I’m giving these guys a pass since they’re an orchestra.

Luckily I didn’t have to work too late tonight, so I was able to make it to this show just after they’d started. It was a bit pricey for a Monday night, and since I only stayed for this band. But whatever, there are only a few days left.

On that topic, I’m already a little sad. I think I already miss the project, and it’s not even over yet. It seriously doesn’t feel like that long ago that I started it. Obviously, it has been, and I don’t feel like I could do another 100 days. I don’t think I could do one more day beyond 100. But I don’t know, I guess I’m just getting the blues now that the real countdown is on. Only five left. Five days. Can you fucking believe it? I can’t.

Here’s a brief list what I’m going to miss:

  • Doing something unique
  • Feeling like I’m doing something unique
  • Talking to band members after their sets and seeing their faces light up when they hear they are a part of the project. Seriously, after the project I’ll just be another fan kissing their ass about how great their set was if I try and talk to them.
  • Planning out my week. I know it sounds silly, but planning out who I was going to see each week was half the fun. To see what sort of music I was going to be experiencing.

I know there’s more. A lot more. But there will be plenty of time for that after the 100 days are over, and I can look back and really get into it. For now, I’ll leave you by saying days 96, 97, 98, 99, and most certainly 100, will be the best of the project so far. Because I will try and soak every last minute out of them.

4/22/09: Wolff @ Pianos (90/100)

April 23rd, 2009

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I haven’t made it this far to give up so easily, just eking out the last few shows. I said I wanted to make them count. To see whatever the best show is on that night, every night until the end. But man, it’s not always that easy. Like Tuesday night when I got back from Bristol, CT and just picked a band playing a late show at Cake Shop. Or like tonight, where I did the same thing, but at Pianos. And just like last night, I was pleasantly surprised. But it wasn’t an easy road getting there.

I was supposed to see Starfucker @ Union Hall, but I had to work late enough that I didn’t think I’d make it there in time. I even paid my subway fare, sat and waited for the R train, but then bailed worried that if I missed it, then I wouldn’t make it back to Manhattan in time to see anything on the LES. So I left headed toward the LES.

Got to Ludlow, bought some dinner, tried to use my ATM card, but nothing. Card was declined. Not for lack of funds, but “No account.” Huh? That’s weird. Must be their machine, I thought. I get to Pianos expecting the band Wolff to be on. They were scheduled for 10, but things never run on time. Nope. They were going on at 11p instead, the band before them went on at 9p and were just finishing up. Damnit. Ok, so maybe I’ll go to Mercury Lounge and try and catch something.

I get there, don’t feel like paying $10 for some bands I have no idea about, especially when there’s hardly anyone there. Damnit, back to Cake Shop. Some weird showcase going on. Not into it. Let me get money, at least I can go into Pianos and grab a beer while I wait for Wolff. I try the ATM outside Pianos. Nope, declined. I try the other ATM a few feet away. Nope, declined. I try another ATM across the street. It’s out of order. Then another ATM outside Cake Shop. Nope, declined.

What the fuuuuuuuuuck?!?!?

I call my bank. Can’t get through, keep getting cut off. At this point I’m thinking this is karma reigning down on me for not making it out to Union Hall since I was on the guest list, and it’s the last 10 days of the project and here I am, picking a band pretty much at random. Then I remember, that’s not it at all. It occurs to me that I received a replacement ATM card from my bank that I hadn’t activated yet. Oops.

So I grab some cash, take a couple deep breaths, and then head into Pianos about 15 minutes early for the Wolff show. There’s a total of four people in the music room while they finish setting up. When they start playing, 10 minutes earlier than their set time, I’m one of three people in the room. Then I think those people leave at some point and I might be the only on in the room.

That doesn’t last long as people continue to file in and out of the room throughout the night. Intrigued I assume by a guy with a tuba, and a guy on drums, and Planet Earth visuals being projected onto the backdrop of the stage. Or maybe it’s because the show was free. Either way, I was glad to be there, despite the annoying bullshit that happened before.

I checked Wolff’s myspace page before leaving work, as a Plan B in case I bailed on Starfucker. It seemed like an interesting band. Brian Wolff on tuba/vocals/samples/loops/effects pedals/everything under the sun. Steve Garafano on drums. Brian’s tuba is hooked up to his effects board, so every sound you hear (save for the live drums), comes from him blowing into the tuba, and manipulating the sound in real time.

Nothing is pre-programmed, but plenty of things are layered on top of each other. He even turned the tuba into a microphone sings through it. Truly fascinating as a fan of music, and pedal/gear freak. I think Steve was playing to a metronome as well, and he was fucking automatic. Like a human drum machine.

The music itself comes out like industrial/electronica. And the visuals really help the experience, especially during “Bull Elephant,” which I thought was the highlight of the show/rehearsal. That’s what Steve kept repeating throughout the night, ‘Welcome to our show slash rehearsal.”

Whatever it was, it was a really unique, interesting, fascinating, and fulfilling experience. And probably better than the two Starfucker songs I would’ve seen had I made the trek to Brooklyn.

4/9/09: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin @ Mercury Lounge (77/100)

April 10th, 2009

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I wasn’t expecting this show to be as packed as it was. Ok, maybe expecting isn’t the right word: hoping. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be as crowded as it was. So I wasn’t happy when I got to the club, straight from work. I left the office around 10:30pm, then headed straight over to the Mercury Lounge, knowing that when they say Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is going on at 10:30pm, they actually mean 11:00pm.

When I walked in, I immediately ran into a friend of a friend (Scott), and his friends (the names escape me). So, that’s a friend of a friend and friends of a friend of a friend, to be clear. Oh, and a woman I work with, too (Julia). All totally random. Which is nice, because at least if it’s going to be a late and crowded show, I may as well run into people I know.

I could see the room was going to fill up even more. People just kept pouring in. Naturally, I wanted to get some good pics. So I crept up to the front, but not close enough. Damnit, I hate when I can’t get good pictures. I snapped some off, then headed back towards the back. Way too hot up front.

I battled my way back to where Scott and his friends were, back at the sound booth, and then looked around. What the what? Why are there so many tall people? Why aren’t they shorter? Please? Please stop being tall? I can’t see.

Oh, and to the couple directly in front of me. If you could not only stop being tall, but also stop making out, that would be great. Mmmkay? Terrific.

Oh, wait. Looks like you brought some friends, and they’ve had a few drinks, and they’re all hugging and kissing and bumping into me every few minutes. That’s also terrific. Thanks. What the fuck is going on? Am I at a frat party at 3am when everyone just wants to make out to the band?

Serenity now

SSLYBY started out the set with “Pangea,” the opening track of their first record Broom. I fucking loved this record when it came out. It sounded really fresh. Every song was great. They certainly weren’t breaking any incredible new ground, but it was just one of those perfect records – unlike whatever I was listening to at the time. That’s a good three years old now, yet I had it in my iPhone up until maybe a few weeks ago.

I saw them on the tour of that record, and they sounded way more grown up this time. They still look 12 years old, but they sounded older. Anyhow, they mixed the set up between the older and the newer. I’m not as big a fan of the newer stuff, to be honest. It’s not even “new” anymore, really. But I’m not sure if this is because Broom was so great top to bottom, or what. But they sounded good tonight, and the show got better and better as they went through the set.

Which is why I stay until the end of the main set for each band I see. Because, to be honest, I wasn’t totally into this show at first – but it got better. By the end, I wasn’t blown away, but they’d done what I’d thought they would do – sounded like I imagined they would sound.

So I left happy. Albeit, a bit inferior about the fact that I”m 5′ 8 3/4″…not 6′ 2″…which would’ve been helpful. But I got a pleasant amount of rock tunes from a band I like. And I talked to Will, the guitar player in the band afterwards. He seemed to dig the 100 bands project. So it was a win-win.

Shit…it’s 2am again.

Nighty night.

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.

3/17/09: Herman Düne @ Mercury Lounge (54/100)

March 17th, 2009

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Weird, two nights in a row of bands with umlauts in their names: Herman Düne and Mötley Crüe. But that’s where the similarities end. Herman Dune has more in common with Borat than with the Crüe. More on that later.

I was back on my home turf tonight, a small indie rock club downtown. The trip down memory lane was a blast. Sunday and Monday were like being on a vacation to my youth (and Midtown). But today, it was time to get back to work.

Speaking of work, I went straight from my daytime office to my nighttime”office.” And thankfully, the Herman Dune show was early. Slotted for 7:30, which means 8:00, at least on a Tuesday it does.I’m really getting good at timing things out, I have to say. Got there in time to grab a spot to stand, and they started within five minutes or so.

At first, it was just the singer/guitar player: David-Ivar Herman Düne. He looks like a cross between Santino from Project Runway and the guy who played the cameraman in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, except he’s not a Sikh. And his accent is interesting and charming, and can sound a little like Borat sometimes, except he’s not Kazakhstani (ok, neither is Sasha Baron Cohen). Maybe it’s just his delivery? Not sure. Plus, isn’t he French? Or Swedish? Or from Israel? I can’t figure it out. Too many conflicting details on the Internets. Anyhow, these are probably stupid American comments, admittedly. But that’s what I was thinking, so that’s what I’m writing.

Doesn’t matter. A crazy amalgamation like this wouldn’t be able to write songs like Herman Düne. Fun, quirky songs about things that might sound sappy or trivial coming out of someone else’s mouth.

The club was pretty packed for a Tuesday. But I’m starting to see that this doesn’t matter. If it’s a good artist, there will be a large crowd – regardless of what day it is. A few songs in and the percussive half of Herman Düne, Néman Herman Düne, was on stage. They started to rock out a bit more. It was good, but all I could think about was how happy I was that it was an early show. And what I was going to pick up from Whole Foods on the walk home: Rotisserie chicken? Or hot bar buffet? Tough call. Hey, I felt guilty about it, if that’s any consolation.

They eventually played their big hit “I wish that I could see you soon”,and managed to pull it off without backup singers and the extra instrumentation. Which held true for all their stuff, since they only perform as a two-piece.

They played for about 45 minutes, did one last song, and then the house lights and music came on, but the crowd didn’t go anywhere. The band looked a little confused as the lights went off again and the music stopped. But they retook the stage anyhow, and played one more song. And that was the end. Of the show, and my night. It was time for some QT with my couch, after a stop at Whole Foods.

I got the rotisserie.

03/17/09 – Herman Dune – The Mercury Lounge

March 17th, 2009
Herman Dune
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
8:00pm - 21+ Buy Tickets
217 E Houston St
New York, NY, USA 10002

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3/5/09: Rustic Overtones @ Mercury Lounge (42/100)

March 6th, 2009

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I think I’ve yawned more times in the past 42 days than in my whole life. I’m not kidding. I think if there was a way of adding up my entire 32 years of yawning, and compared it with the last 42 days – the latter would be victorious. Damnit, I wish I would’ve thought of that from the beginning. I could’ve been counting the yawns and put up a tally next to the $$ I’ve spent so far. Something to consider going forward. Maybe for the last 50 shows? I’ll have to think about it.

Man, another tired one. It seems like every alert, energetic night I have is followed by twice as many exhausting ones. Tonight was one of those nights. It didn’t help that this was the late show, with the band slotted to go on at 11:00pm (which actually means 11:30pm). It also didn’t help that I was in bed after 1am last night, then woken up by the cat at 7:30am, and then worked until 10:30pm tonight – heading straight from work to the Mercury Lounge.

None of that helped my diarrhea of yawns. How’s that for a visual?

I was interested in seeing what Rustic Overtones was all about tonight. I mean, it’s not my usual type of thing. But that’s good, because that’s all I seem to be seeing lately: my sort of thing. And I said I didn’t want to make this an indie rock marathon, so…hang on, I have to yawn (seriously).

Ok, sorry.

So I was down with seeing a band like Rustic Overtones tonight when my friend Al Risi said he could probably get me on the list for this show. Yet another shout out to him for hooking it up tonight (and many others so far, and to come). Rustic Overtones are a jazz/funk rock band from Maine. Yes, I think they are officially the first and only band I’ve seen from Maine. At least to the best of my knowledge.

They were very good musically. Fun, energetic, polished, tight, solid — all that shit. They had a 3-person horn section (2 sax, 1 trombone), with a keyboardist, bass, drums, and guitar/vox. I didn’t know a single song going in, but it was clear most of the rest of the Merc did. A lot of Rustic Overtones fans in the crowd tonight. It was like a white person dance party in there. Lots of awkward movements combined with jumping around, headbanging and all sorts of randomness. That’s what you get when you get jazz/funk from Maine, I guess.

The place started to clear out about 75% of the way through. Right around the time the singer thanked “all of you who came on purpose.” I didn’t come on purpose. Actually, I guess I did. Just a different purpose.

42 days down. 58 days (and roughly 500 yawns) to go.

3/2/09: Maps & Atlases @ Mercury Lounge (39/100)

March 3rd, 2009

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I’m back, baby! I’m back!

My cold isn’t totally gone, but I’m back up and running, and so is the site. I’m feeling good. 38 days under my belt. I’m rested. I had a great shoot today. There was a blizzard in New York. Life is good. 

How is a blizzard a good thing? I grew up in Minnesota, and it reminds me of home. 

Ok, Maps & Atlases. I won’t be writing much about this band, because I’m not all that familiar with them. They’re math rockers, I know that. They’re from Chicago. I know that, too. I have some of their stuff, and I like it. But I don’t know what else to say about the band. The show was good, I guess. It was math rock – so the changes make it tough to groove t. But it’s good to listen to, I guess.

I can tell you what I did before the show, which feels like as much a part of today as anything. I had a TV. A fun one. Shot some green screen TV spots in a studio in Manhattan. Turns out, green screen = fun. Fun because you can just set up the camera and rip off jokes. No location moves. No major propping or rehearsal time. Just two guys, a car, a green screen and however many spots we can get through. Fun times. 

The shoot flew by, we shot like 13 spots in 8 hours, had some drinks afterwards and then I ran down to the Mercury Lounge. I left the bar around 9:15, got to Mercury Lounge around 9:35, watched the show and was back at my apartment by 10:40. Amazing. 

This was my night.

I did feel like I missed out on the blizzard, being on a sound stage all day with no  windows. I was sorta bummed about that (again, the Minnesotan in me). But whatever. It was a great day, and I was done with music by 10:40 – saw a good band, right up front near the stage. 

Music addiction = satisfied. 

The band wasn’t amazing. They were good, but I’ll forget about them soon. No offense. But they’ll be another band in this whole crazy journey. And I don’t have shit else to write about tonight. I am glad the blog is back up. I’m sad to see that I dropped down to fucking 17 hits on Sunday, and like 30 something the day before that. All time lows for the site. Thanks for that one, Media Temple, you fucks. I went from 760 hits last week, to 675, to 259, 160, 37 and 17 – the last two, mind you, during days that the site wasn’t even up. But I’m back now. Back to tackle days 39-45. 

Bring it.

3/1/09: Two Dark Birds @ Mercury Lounge (38/100)

March 2nd, 2009

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Again, Sundays suck.

Especially when you work most of the day, then go home, put together a radio show, and then have to head out to a rock show…at 8:00pm on Sunday. And on the heels of what’s supposed to be a massive winter blast coming NYC’s way.

I don’t buy it. In fact, I bet my dad $10 on it. He said we’d get 12 inches by morning. I said he’s nuts. We’ll see. Anyhow. Today was weird. Not like a Sunday at all. But Sundays aren’t Sundays anymore for me, anyhow.

I worked most of the day, then got home, recorded the radio show (sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but it’s pre-recorded) and then headed out to the Mercury Lounge around 8pm. I don’t need to tell you how much I didn’t want to go out on a Sunday night. I’ve used this blog to complain enough about that as it is.

Two Dark Birds was the band I was headed to see. I got a Facebook message a few weeks ago from this guy Paul who I used to work with. He’d learned about the 100 bands project from my postings on Facebook, and said he was managing this band Two Dark Birds, who had a show coming up at the Merc. I asked about a guest list opportunity. He said that might be tough, but he’d buy me a beer. Which he did.

Thanks Pauly.

And he wasn’t the only person I knew when I got there. Two other co-workers were in attendance: Ian and Lisa. And Annemarie was supposed to be on her way. I swear. I thought this project was going to be just me watching show after show alone – not the case at all so far.

The Merc’s website said show would be at 8pm, but I  knew better than that. I left my place at 8, thinking they would go on at 8:30. They did.

Their music was pleasant, pretty M. Ward-ish. Or maybe that’s cuz the singer looks like M. Ward. Either way, it was nice and pleasant country-rock/folk inspired shit. Mellow and hell. Perfect for a Sunday night.

Paul told me interesting back stories on a few of the guys. Paul knew the singer (the M. Ward-looking guy) since back used to play in a band named Punch Drunk back when he lived in in Minnesota. I asked “Uncle Tupelo-inspired band name?” to which Paul responded, “No, Minutemen. I think.” Solid either way.

Another anecdote:

Paul was at the show with an ex-bandmate from years ago. Turns out they both played in a band with the bass player on stage (who played one whole song fretting the notes with a Red Stripe bottle – interesting). Then, he told me the pedal steel player owned his own studio in DUMBO (neighborhood of Brooklyn). And the drummer’s wife started the Off-Broadway hit STOMP.

Ok, but could they play a decent song?

Turns out the answer is yes. Two Dark Birds aren’t going to blow you away. But they’re not going to disappoint, either. They’re chill, and nice. Just what a guy who has been sick all week needs. Just before getting what’s supposed to be the winter storm of the year.

I don’t buy it. I think my dad will owe me 10 bucks by morning.