Says: on friday night the school
for the dead splinter group (henning, brian, ken) played space
in portland, ME as part of jose ayerve's fifth "coaxial festival."
the set consisted of:
space is a beautiful place. a cross between flywheel's
li'l back gallery and a one-room mass MoCA. they had an exhibit
going called "touch," which featured a lot of interactive
art. for example, there were pizzas on the counter before the
show and henning and brian and i touched them. they'd been sliced!
so we ate a lot of the slices. mmmm, spinach and garlic.
the evening's bill included a local band called
the hot tarts, then us, then a solo acoustic set from mr. spottiswoode
from england by way of NYC. the show was wrapped in the cellophane
of performance art...our man ayerve came out in snorkeling gear
and stomped around the concrete floor in his slappy plastic flippers,
and got hoisted by four folks and carried around the room while
he pretended to swim. also he stood in the center of the crowd
and poured a cup of water over his head. stuff like that.
i'd played the festival the previous night (thursday)
with spouse (a TOTAL blast for me, one of THE best spouse sets
i've ever been a part of...the band lineup was jose, j.j., mark
schwaber and me...we headlined, and ended the night with jose's
soon-to-be-released song "space," on which i get to
play bass. it has a cooler-than-shit coda, and while we were rocking
it i noticed out of the corner of my eye that mark had thrown
himself to the floor against his amplifier, wringing psychotic
howling feedback from his guitar. he was going nuts! the rest
of us followed his lead, or rather got happily drawn into mark's
inspired vortex of chaos...wow.)
my point was going to be that the thursday night
coaxial had so-so attendance, but the friday show had twice as
many folks, the room was hopping. opening the night was the hot
tarts, a punky/groovy trio whose lead singer flubbed lyrics, broke
a string, and acted scattered and amateurish between songs (my
most lasting image of her is her screwing her face up and sticking
her tongue out of the side of her mouth, as in, "ooops, what
a dummy i am!")...yet, when she sang, she had a great charismatic
voice (very kim deal); she had that "special something."
the trio was really good. cindy, on drums, kicked
ass. she had a jazzy element to her playing, and also a little
max weinberg-ish poise, all the while keeping everything solid
and indie go-go-rock. she often used a cowbell as part of her
beats, and not in a cock-rock way. anyway, the hot tarts should
play in northampton some time, i think they'd go over really well
they definitely went over well at space, with
a lot of fans in the audience, hooting and dancing. plus, we found
out later, they were featured in the portland phoenix with a front-page
photo and very positive review.
henning, brian and i, i got the vibe from the
crowd, were uncool by comparison. it took a bunch of songs before
people seemed to warm to us, and eventually there were some dancers
for us, too. we played well, though i had mysterious monitor drop-out
troubles, which made me feel sort-of removed from the performance.
we played about as rocking as we could. henning
began "one lady dancing" at the fastest clip i've ever
heard for that song, but brian and i kept up and bashed through
it, hyperspace sonic-slam polka style...same thing with "thug"
-- the tempo was off-the-rails. nutty fast. very fun breaknecky
stuff.i was sloppy but happy. i forgot the stop-short ending of
"omnivore" so i screwed that up...but it was overall
a strong set.
afterwards we drove by wimpy's, a take-out window
on a side street that jose hipped me to, telling me they had great
french fries. he was right! (fat crinkle cut, very tasty (russets?),
fried to near-perfection) i'd had my fill the night before, and
it was too damn cold for henning to care about getting out of
the car and standing waiting for a burger, so we headed out toward
we searched for warmer (indoor, for a start) late-night
eats, but it was 11:58 p.m. and everything was closing in our
faces (friendly's, tim horton's non-drive-through), our attempts
made more comical since henning's car's back doors don't currently
open, i guess debbie broke them (joking!! they'd been pre-broke
and henning forget to mention it to her)...so everytime we stopped
and got out at a new restaurant, i had to climb over the front
seats and clamber out of the car that way. you wouldn't think
it'd be so hard, but i flailed and floundered over the driver's
seat every time.
so once back to the motel, henning and i made
a vending spree in the ice machine hallway, buying various bags
of junk to bring back to the comfort of the room. we watched dave
attell's "insomniac," which was really funny. he's a
likeable guy, which is refreshing in this television age.
it was a great
time in portland...thanks, jose!
I got up at 6:40 to be at work for 8. I worked 8-2:15.
I was home by 2:25. Fed the cat, packed my bag, and at 2:40, was
putting my stuff in Henning's car. Phew.
No wonder why I fell asleep as we were turning on to route 495.
I woke up 15 minutes later, refreshed and ready to listen to the
new SFTD for the second time. We were making mental notes and
anyway, driving is the best way to listen to music. I think I
shall always remember that ride to Portland.
In Portland the big building displayed the temperature: 8 degrees.
We found the Space, greeted Jose, met some folks, ordered pizza,
soundchecked and hung out in the green room while Jose told us
all about the planned hijinx: the raffle, the scuba wear, the
I won't repeat any of Ken's commentary, but I will agree that
The Hot Tarts were very enjoyable. Cindy the drummer was great,
and she also complimented my playing. Ken says "Weinburg"
I say "Watts". No upstanding drummer would enjoy being
compared to Weinburg. (There goes my chance at being a late night
talk show drummer--that's fine, I can't smile for that long).
Our show: energetic (when Ken and I are a rhythm section, there's
a lot of egging on), loud, probably a little sloppy. Though Jose
said that mine and Ken's harmonies were dead on. I was tired and
not feeling all there. But I loved, loved the vibe in the room.
People laughing, hugging, smiling....I so wish it was warm out
because Portland is a nice walking town.
Cut to: Days Inn. Sharing beds, watching TV, lights out.
Cut to: morning. Room is way too hot. I turn down heat. First
one up, I shower and dress. Others follow. Ken and I go down to
the contintal breakfast. SO MUCH MORE than a waxy apple, a green
banana, grey coffee and a hard bagel. This was a feast. I had
a nice banana, an english muffin, oatmeal, juice and coffee and
a danish. We watched the news on a big screen TV. Henning soon
We regrouped in the room and checked out. Good byes in the parking
lot, pictures taken, and we're off on a chilly chilly sunny morning.
Portsmouth: Campaign '04. What excitement! I'm fairly wrapped
up in this election, though I haven't chosen a favorite. I had
24 hours of Edwards-mania after hearing him on the Press Club
or something. I initially liked Kerry (like months ago) but, but...
I began to really like Dean, but now the press is treating him
like he's insane...and Kucinich is too cool for the mainstream.
Wanting him to be president is like wanting (name your cult band)
to sell 12 million records.
So we went to Bull Moose and I bought wimpy, lush Brit pop of
yesterday and today: the aforementioned latest Belle and Sebastian
and "Idea" (1968) by the Bee Gees (Nice Price!)
Henning Says: It seems like forever since Brian
and I went on a road trip to a show. Back in the day we use to
travel a lot more. These days even when we do have a an out-of-town
show we usually take two cars, Brian's and mine, so we never ride
together. It was fun. We listened to Ken's improved order of songs
for The New You twice. Once in almost complete silence and the
next time we talked about it as it played. We listened once more
on the way home with Ken and I think we came to some good decisions
about two songs to leave off. We'll talk about it with the rest
of the band soon.
I felt more focused musically than I have been for a while. We
played two great shows, reviewed our almost completed new album,
had a bin of brand new T-Shirts, and got some very nice press
in a town we had never played in before. Also, in Portland we
spent some quality time with Jose Ayerve who is always a well
of inspiration and motivation.
Ken did an
impressive job picking up the bass for our show in Portland. We
were our original touring trio from two or three years ago when
we went south down 95. He even filled in some of the missing Tony
riffs here and there. Whenever we play as anything but a five
piece, I always miss the missing ingredients but it's also nice
to hear the songs in a new light. Keeps you on your toes.
1. photobooth curtain
2. soup of the moment
3. back to school
(raffle for "telecaster")
4. disgruntled lover
6. one lady dancing
7. something's taking over
9. wichita train whistle