|December 30, 2005 - The Elevens - Northampton, MA - with: Mark Mulcahy and Bourgeois Heroes|
Brian says: Ok, then. Haven't written a gig diary in many moons.
We knew the night
would be special for a variety of reasons.
Update: 2 memories of the gig that just popped back after 16 hours of regressive therapy at $200/hr:
1) the name I came up with for Mark and his basic band: Mark and the Beardos. I think I was so pleased with my self that I didn't tell anyone.
2) Henning's alt. lyrics to Punk Rock Girl: they order some hot tea and the waitress answers "no, we only have rice".
So last Friday night, we played a set of music bookended by those
utterly charming alt-universe teen pop mag heart throbs Jason &
Elise and the smoove sounds of Markmellifluousmulcahy. It was a strange
delight to hear a Flaming Lips chestnut sung so perfectly on-key.
And what a band. Having Ken Maiuri playing drums is kinda like having
a guy who can throw a 95 mile per hour fastball straight over the
plate pinch-hitting in the 9th inning while the Jewish Italian .350
hitter sits at the bar but it's all good. Kennie does it all. Add
Kevin O'Rourke to that impressive list of fellas who can play bass
and sing well simultaneously. And the versatile Trenholmenbusch to
fill out the sound in any way imaginable and you can't go wrong. Well,
you can have a monitor melting and emitting a burnt plastic odor and
take 80 minutes between each song but when the music starts, it sucks
Well, that's what happens when Ken is involved in the set list generation process. He keeps us sharp, always poking us in the ribs with whynots? and whatifs? I can't say I made it through all of 2005 without breaking a string but I came pretty close and it was hardly traumatic. Dave Trenholm graciously lent me his guitar and I missed only half of "She's Getting Anxious," a song that could've sounded fine without my part anyway. I did sit out the manic romp intro to "Heart Of The Sunrise," not because I dislike prog-rock, though. I probably do dislike it but the truth is- I just don't know it. I've never heard this particular piece and admit it would've taken me much time to learn that little bit, only to be doubling what Henning already could do. Maybe in the future if we play 15 seconds of some Lynyrd Skynyrd song (now that's my cuppa classic rock), I'll be down but I was outta my element with Yes. My own 15 second contribution, "Here Comes Subordinate Clause" delivered whilst Henning was in the process of fetching a capo, spoke to SFTD's geeky side, which was all but obliterated by the 15 seconds of prog. Leave it to a teacher to be uncool. In case you're wondering:
Here comes subordinate
clause, here comes subordinate clause
-Anthony Westcott (1971-)
Henning Says: The week between X-mas 2005 and New Year's Eve was full of music. We had two School for the Dead practices (with different members at each), on Fawns practice, and one Mark Mulcahy practice. Also, during that time, I was learning the SFTD covers and a number of new Mulcahy songs and covers. All this with an annoying burn blister on my guitar-pick-holding-finger.
It was a great focused week. I had the Friday of our gig off from the day job and I spent some of it learning the bass part for the Bourgeois Heroes song, "Judy". The rest of the day I spent gathering all of the equipment and notes and merch and miscellaneous folderol that we needed for the gig.
I arrived at The Elevens at 6:30 (I think) and turned on the lights and unlocked the doors and let Ken in. We set up the drums and keyboards and amps and the rest of the band came in and we were all amazingly delighted to see Dan Richardson walk in with all his magic sound-mixing equipment. Yee! Dan was doing sound for the whole night! Makes sense, since he's worked with all of us before by mastering our recordings and what-not. My night improved greatly, once I saw Dan I stopped worrying about the sound system entirely.
Once everything was all set up, the Mulcahy band did a nice extensive sound-check. It's always so good to be able to play a little on the stage before the crowed comes in, instead of the usual rushing and panic leading directly to singing in an unfamiliar situation.
A whole mess of people showed up at the show. Thank you, everyone. I'm not so good at mingling and thanking people in person at shows since I am always so consumed with taking care of details and logistics, and running through lyrics and chord changes in my head. But, thank you very much for coming.
It was really nice to see Jason and Elise (Bourgeois Heroes) again. They looked well, you can stop worrying. Their show was excellent and I was wonderfully delighted to get to play a song with them. Thanks, BH.
Our set was super fun, from the corner of my eye, I could see Max jumping around (I think he was out on top of the monitor at one time, too - was that real or a dream?) and from my other ear I could hear all the sparkle and melody from Ken's double keyboard synth attack. The set flew by in what seemed like seconds. At one point, Tony came over to my side of the stage and I somehow ended up switching guitars with him twice, mid-song. Brian, during the breakdown of Omnivore (one of the break-downs), made Dan erupt in a fit of laughter with his shotgun-falling-down-a-staircase drum fill.
I loved playing "Punk Rock Girl". I've said it before and I'll say it now. I wish I had written that song. Perfect in so many ways. Word was that upon the first few notes of it, the crowd let out an audible "awwww" sound.
"Heart of the Sunrise" was surprisingly powerful and the audience's reaction was far greater than I had hoped. I have to take acception with Brian's "precision for the sake of precision" take on that song. To me, that music is all melody and atmosphere. I can understand how being thrown into it from out of nowhere and being asked to learn it could force one to dismantle it into mathematical pieces, but I don't believe it was written that way or intended that way. Again, like most music, it all comes down to the situation of your introduction to it. Either way, it was really fun, and I got a lot of nice comments on it from people afterwards.
The Mulcahy set was good fun, too. His songs are so good and the music flows so freely and man oh man, so I love playing "Waiting for Superman".
Thanks everyone again, for coming to this show - it was the best possible way to end the year.