September 19, 2003 - Koffee Too? - New Haven, CT - with: Vitamin Tramp

Brian Says: It's nice to wake up feeling like you played a good gig that people appreciated the night before. Go Yale!

After suffering through another ill-attended, ill-run show, SFTD approached our New Haven gig at Koffee Too like abused, hungry puppy dogs. Maybe this time we'll just get a treat and be able to trot away without the proverbial kick in the arse that sometimes accompanies it.

And Koffee Too, on all levels, was a treat.

The small stage, and how to make the most of it was the only obstacle. Once we started, the tables were full of attentive, smiling, singing folks, who were also intently doing their activity pages.

We played softly (brushes, Ning on acoustic), but still rocked the numbers that needed to be rocked. I could hear Tony very well, and he was playing some beautiful lead parts. The sound he was getting was great too.

Afterwards the merch was flying outta there, money going one way, CDs and t-shirts another.

So, basically, we've found our crowd: young Ivy Leagers. And we do well in intimate settings. Smart kids, smart music. Somehow we'll find it, the rainbow connection.

Which kind of hits upon what Max and I were talking about on the way down (basic marketing 101)--how smart things need to get dumbed down and given a gimmick before they become popular.

For example: The Pixies=not cute, not popular. Nirvana=cute and popular.

See how ridiculously smart I am? Writing blandly about the most obvious facts of life?

Oh, here's another one: Yale=attractive humans. New Haven=great pizza.
We'd love to come back to the area.

Henning says: I have to agree with Brian that our show at Koffee Too in New Haven was redeeming. The night before we had played our third in a series of empty rooms and that begins to wear on one's confidence.

Luckily, the boys in Vitamin Tramp invited us down to New Haven. Especially luckily, they brought along a whole bunch of their friends and fans.

We squeezed in as much as we could on the tiny stage and, even though Max didn't have much room to jump up and down, it eventually worked out. I played acoustic and Brian played with brushes, it's a pretty small and wooden room and certainly not a rock venue. Luckily, Vitamin Tramp had brought along a sound system and had it all set up and ready to go.

The view from the tiny stage was great. Directly in front of us people were seated and either working on their activity pages or watching (some were even singing along to a bunch of the songs.) Behind them were more people, some standing, some milling about. Behind them was a large wall-sized window looking out onto the busy, busy York Street sidewalk. It was a beautiful, warm evening out there and droves of people were continually walking by. Lots of them stopped and watched a bit through the glass. Behind them was the road where cars were slowly cruising past and behind them were the walls of the castle-like Yale buildings.

It seemed that as we played, more and more people were getting sucked into the show and by the end we had a perfect, captive audience, even one of the guys working at the counter in the other half of the place kept peering through the little portal between rooms to watch us.

Vitamin Tramp took the stage after we got all of our stuff moved off and they played a two and then three acoustic guitar set. The audience knew their music you could tell, applauding when particular songs started and singing along.

I caught up a little with Chris from the Space and I met two folks who I recognized as having seen me at my solo show in Lychfield. Each time they came to see us we had more members. First, me solo, then the trio at the Space and now a four piece.

Outside, groups of Yale jock-boys and jock-girls paraded past in togas. Although, Brian, I don't think that too many of the people in the audience were actually Yalies.

Tony and I went to a pizza place after the show and got a couple of slices and a slice of life. While sitting there, Tony pointed out a table of students that were quite obviously from very wealthy backgrounds. He then told me that earlier he had heard one of them talking about how his father had sold his Jiffy Lube stock before the business took off. The kid ended his story by saying, "We could have been richer than we already are."

It was interesting seeing these kids. I swear, one of the girls was a princess of some kind and when they left, one of the boys buttoned up his blue blazer and grabbed his briefcase - just another Friday night out at college, I guess. "Dude, move your briefcase, I can't get to the kegger."

Tony Says: Henning summed this one up pretty well. I'll only add that the pizza I ate was one of the best slices I've had in years and years. New Haven is of course known for its pizza but for me part of it had to do with the novelty of the slice. It was a "gyro slice," which meant white pizza covered in strips of gyro meat, onions, tomatos, and feta cheese. And the rich kids I overheard talking- Henning left out that one of them was a girl whose dad was a professional golfer. Just when I was starting to envy these rich, well-dressed, young college kids who have everything going for them, I realized the note of sadness in her voice when she explained that, due to extensive travel being a part of her pop's chosen career, she simply doesn't get to see Dad much.

Oh yeah, and Brian, I agree AND disagree with you. The Beatles, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Hemingway were all artists who had enormous popular success but also were seminal innovators. Then again, you also have their contemporaries in their respective fields like The Velvet Underground, Luis Bunuel and Virginia Woolf, who were just as influential but nowhere near as popular. So there.