Friday, November 27, 2009

I can still remember the fear of the unknown road. Ominous tales from the more seasoned musicians I knew warned that tour either caused you to quit the dream of being in a band or left you hooked for life. As we started touring it become apparent that we were of the latter breed. We became addicted to the weird bars and gas station stops and the random acts of kindness from strangers that we encountered on the road. It still shocks me how often people will answer yes to the question, “Can five doods you don’t know come over and crash on your floor tonight?” It’s the unplanned happenings that make the monotonous 6 hour/day drives seem like nothing.

Case and point: Kelcey got to talking to the woman next to him on the flight home from our first tour in the UK. Kelcey explained how he was a musician, and Diane, who was finishing a vacation by visiting Los Angeles with her mother, offered to put us up any time we were near her home in Vermont. Diane would later write to inform us that she had, as Kelcey had asked her to, checked out our music, and that the song Airplanes especially spoke to her as she had gone through a recent death of someone close to her. Three months later we are playing a show in Burlington Vermont and racking our brains to think of a friend or relative whose house we could commandeer for the night. Diane shows up at the concert and graciously offers her place, a beautiful home in the woods of Vermont with several open rooms where her children have long since vacated. The comfortable sleep space and homemade breakfast in the morning were incredibly rejuvenating to a group of exhausted people.

In the morning we said our thank you’s, took a group photo, and backed into the mud of her driveway, getting completely stuck. We tried everything to get the van unstuck and we’re at it for over an hour before the entire community began to get involved. A 70 year old woman and her grandson helped us put dry brush under the tires. In the end it took two tractors and two hours to finally pull the van free. Though it was still early by musician standards, we played an acoustic version of Airplanes for our new friends as a thank you, barely making it to our show in Montreal in time to play. But rather than frustrated, I felt completely refreshed by the experience, remembering why it is that we love the touring life.

Local Natives

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back at Silver Lake Coffee

I couldn't sleep this morning. It was one of the wonderful mornings where its just a little too cold outside my grey checkered Ikea comforter and just right underneath. My room falls on the side of the house opposite of the sun rising and combined with dark curtains, "in theory", should create a high ranking slumber cave of sleep. Yet, for some reason I couldn't fall back asleep. So after six or so weeks of playing shows Im back at my usual morning hunger better known as Silver Lake Coffee.

It was our first time as a band playing in NYC for CMJ. A similar yet not so similar SXSW festival for the east coast. We flew straight in from London and quickly had to settle into an all to perfect Brooklyn loft Matt somehow found on Craigslist for only $80/night. We were lucky enough to be asked to play six shows for CMJ. Two a day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

After a few of us had a New York argument with a number of grumpy equipment rental employees and after locking down a bruised and battered mini van to haul ourselves around in, we headed over to Fontanas for our first show. Jet lag is no excuse, but I would be lying if I said we weren't all feeling a little "out of the ordinary" when we starting playing in this basement. Overall, however it was a great little first show. I think the fact that our eyes were swelling shut and our heads were higher than a kite actually played into the overall good feeling of the whole set. A large thank you to our friends at Aquarium Drunkard for having us. That evening was our official showcase at The Mercury Lounge. We packed down some falafel and made it in time to see Patrick Watson whom Kelcey had been convincing us all to listen to for the past few weeks. He had such an amazing set! Everyone in the band were true artists and along with being a great performer Patrick was also a stand up gentlemen. Our set went over well and the sandwiches at Katz are over rated and touristy.

Friday's shows were a little bit later in the day and it was nice for all of us to enjoy eating yellow starbursts and sleeping in. We met with many of our UK friends/family at Santos for our Neon Gold/Chess Club show. The rumor was that Andrew WK of all people owned the bar and after noticing the 2-3 hundred large speakers literally covering the length of the side walls the rumors were confirmed. I think we were all a little bummed that we couldn't hang out longer with all our friends as we crammed into the van and headed to the next show right after the set. I had been emailing back and forth for some time about this next gig. It was described as a "brooklyn loft house party" and past that none of us knew that much... yet it somehow just felt like it was going to be something special from the get go. Our Mom van ravaged the rain soaked streets of back alley Brooklyn as we pulled up to our destination around 9pm I think. I want you to imagine the best and most unique loft house you've ever been to or seen and then forget about it because this loft was at least three times better than that. Somehow the 5 to 6 wonderful people who dwelled here manged to fit three stories inside the box. Each floor connected with staggering staircases lined with people. A kitchen full of veggie lasagna, waffles w/cream and a wooden swing hung with rope from the ceiling greeted us as we entered. An oak bar with a kind bartender served PBR's and red wine in the corner while good live music was filling the room and about 310 ears, which is 155 people, which is just the right amount. We met some new friends, played a loose set and Taylor randomly ran into one of his favorite artists there...which is an understatement. Thanks to Robbie and Brooklyn Vegan for letting us in. Good feelings all around.

Our first stop on Saturday was a Brooklyn Vegan show at Pianos which is also the same place where we played our first show ever in NYC. Then again, we have only played NYC twice ever, but I thought I'd mention anyways. We arrived at the venue early and started the day off with bloody mary's and good conversation. Straight after our show we had to high tail it over to Delancys for our last show of CMJ. Amidst the leaves and vines of a roof top jungle we scurried into a damp corner and put together a relatively on the fly acoustic set. Sound was being tweaked, songs were being ad libbed and we made up the set as we went. Matt managed to put together some percussion with his foot on a tambourine and his sticks playing anything in front of him. Ryan found a dead pig floating in the jungle pool while celebrating after wards.

We spent the next few days soaking in the rain, eating the sandwiches around the corner and learning the ins and outs of the L line. New York treated us all very well and across the board a memorable and significant experience. Thanks again to everyone who invited us out to play. We leave in 30min for our west coast run with White Rabbits.

Local Natives