CMJ 2009 ::: 6 days / 5 nights


Day 0, Tuesday ::: With X-Cargo securely attached to old Brownie, we leave Ferndale relatively on time, scooping up Stevers in Woodbridge on the way. We start the night with the Jimmie Rodgers Train Whistle Blues cd.  It's all about hobos and railroad bums and brakemen, getting us in the mood for 6 days of transient living.  Also some Merle Haggard.  Makes sense for the flat expanse of Ohio Turnpike.   Speaking of which - that turnpike has the best rest areas.  Quite restful.  Burgundy & Aaron opt for BK as it is the only vendor open.  Please note that prices have risen substantially on said roadway.  Our one-way fare went from $6 in May to over $15 this time. 


Day 1, Wednesday ::: Wake up on top of a mountain in Clarion, PA.  Make our fancy waffles at Comfort Inn's fancy waffle bar.  Lovely 5-hr drive along I-80.... mountains, Gandalf.  Fall colors, deer carcasses, another ride on the Jimmie Rodgers express. Pick up our badges & gift bags in Washington Square Park.  Quite different from years past, with a DIY kinda feel to the whole thing.  Last time was convention-y @ the Hilton on 6th Ave in midtown. Pretty cool that Amp Energy (drink) sponsors both CMJ & Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Nothing worthwhile in the bags, other than the festival guide and a pick.  The bags themselves are kinda cheap and tacky too.  Well - there are 2 CDs, have to give them a spin.  Tonight's show is at Public Assembly (used to be Galapagos - the charm factor isn't there, no indoor lagoon nor ambiance).  Nice crowd. Not a bad night, though the on-stage sound was the pits. Vocal monitors completely useless.  Burgundy has one of his patented 'When Good Cables Go Bad' moments.  Dinosaur Feathers folks are really nice.  LGM labelmates The Secret History share a keyboard stand & a tambo with us.  Thanks to Clyde [Twenty Seven Media] for putting this event together, and for the pizza too. Thanks to Steve for the 1/2 pint of Jim Beam. So, luck of the Irish, Broadcast & Atlas Sound are playing right next door at Music Hall.  Burgundy gets there in time for the entire Broadcast set, hoofing it back to our comfy digs at The Gretsch [Guitar!] Building.  Aaron & Stevers split with friends putting them up.



Day 2, Thursday ::: Start the day off just right with coffee & baked goods from Marlow & Sons.  $3 for a plain old coffee, but it was really great plain old coffee. Today turns out to be lots of walking, exploring Williamsburg (a perfect day for it, nearly 70). In all the time Bem & I lived in Brooklyn we hardly ventured there.  I like it.  People are constantly ripping on it as a hipster paradise.  First of all, the word hipster has to go.  What does it even mean?  And as Burgundy observed, 'Would you rather live like hillbillies?'  (Full disclosure: I've always wanted an urban farm). Secondly, from an outside perspective, it seems to have the right mix of grit and culture.  Other things: We take Penny (our daughter) to the dog park. Bánh mì (vietnamese sandwich) from An Nhua. Weird little east river urban reclamation park to watch the waves roll in. A stop @ Main Drag Music for the two-tiered synth stand. I share a Kombucha with Steve.  We end the night with our CMJ showcase at The Rose.  It's a cozy and quaint little bar, usually a jazz club.  Multi-patterned rose wallpapers, cushy sofas, generous drinks.  Seated cocktail tables and a shoebox of a stage. A fairly inappropriate place for full band to play, but we make the best of it. I make the worst of it with a mistuned (not tuned, really) A string on the first song.  We play 'Beat City' tonight and one guy in the audience knows it.  In fact, he was a member of the John Hughes fan club and owns the single.  He buys our CD.  Also, a PR guy from Sonicbids is in the audience.  He later interviews us for a promotional piece.


Day 3, Friday ::: A day off.  A trip into the city via the JMZ.  We rendezvous at the CMJ Artist Lounge on Bowery.  Asahi beers.  Bem gets a haircut.  It's probably safe to assume we had the only toddler roadie at CMJ. Burgundy considers a massage, but doesn't like when people touch him here.  Or there.  Later, Bem makes a purchase at A.P.C. Penny gets a wooden F Train for her set at the Scholastic Store.  Stevers, Burgundy and I scour UNIQLO for deals on sweaters, jeans, socks, unmentionables -- then we head back to The Gretsch for some wine and unwinding.  We end the night at Diner, right across the street.


Day 4, Saturday ::: It is pouring.  2pm show @ Spike Hill.  Very strange (and quite frankly unappealing) to play in broad daylight, and completely sober for the pending trip home.  The stage setup is, shall we say, unvconventional.  From left to right, drums in the corner.  Then synths, guitar, bass.  Nobody in front of their own amp.  No synth volume.  Monitors are again pointless.  Maybe we need some punky versions of our songs to get through these situations.  We pack up in the rain, grab some Döner kebab sandwiches for the ride out, and hit the BQE.  Stevers decides to stay one extra day, hitching a ride with a buddy.  It's just as well that somebody stays to drink up our tickets.  3 hours later we cross back into the wilds of Pennsylvania.   It's an absolute torrent of rain... there are cars off the road.  Our speedometer isn't working, just like it always doesn't when it rains.  Anybody have a diagnosis on this?  Then the wind storm kicks in. 


Day 5, Sunday ::: Wake up in Cleafield, PA with a belly still full of burgers (Aaron did pizza) from Denny's Beer Barrel Pub.  Nobody takes the 2 lb burger challenge.  But Burgundy says, 'Next time, your ass is mine.'  Probably helpful to say it to the burger, not the waitress.  It felt like an authentic ramshackle roadhouse, up on a hill with a dirt parking lot.  We wonder how many beer barrel patrons have driven their sedans, Alvy Singer style, right over the edge and down into the gulley.  So back to to-day... continental breakfast at the Rodeway Inn consists of coffee and donettes.  Ok.  I do chocolate, Penny does powdered.  Lunch at Au Bon Pain on the t'pike, again - not bad for road food.  We listen to the newly remastered Abbey Road -- doubtful as I was, it really is quite an improvement. Also Zoos of Berlin, Elliot Smith XO, and the required Jimmie Rodgers. We cross the Michigan border (Great Lakes! Great Depresssion!) around 4pm. I pick up some school lunch supplies @ Western Market, running into Carey & Emily Gustafson at the meat counter. It's a nice welcome home, and we're just in time for a night cap and a fire.

1 comment:

Quillen said...

Punky versions of songs for shitty sound situations sounds good to me!