BRIAN'S GIG DIARY - 1999
(With notes by Henning)
Brian: The Aloha Steamtrain web site is pleased to present this month by month account of all our gigs from 1999. When possible, I will use actual quotes (these passages will be in actual quotation marks) from my personal diary, but many of those accounts focus on related stuff which is really quite interesting, but no business of yours, dear reader. So, just the facts, ma'am. We begin our story 368 days before the end of the world. I hope you enjoy.
Henning: That's right, Brian, nice work. I added a few things here and there as well, just whatever memories I might have had. I don't keep a diary (because I'm not a troubled teenage girl like Brian) so I don't have many details.
December 29th, 1998 - Live on the "PIPELINE" radio show, WMBR, on the MIT
campus, Cambridge, MA
B:Nerves, no crowd, no booze, but going out live to 1000 listeners. All this made
for an intense, high-energy 40 minutes. All of the WMBR staff (Bob, Andy and Ian)
were really into it, so I hope that means we get a few people to come to TT's
H: It was raining and warm that night. We traveled through long deserted basement
hallways. The radio station crew was incredibly professional and the sound that
they got out of that old board was amazing. Performing was strange both Russ
and I had a strong urge to speak between songs, as though it were a concert,
but we could see no crowd. It was a refreshing change to feel at ease in the
competent hands of the sound mixer, usually we get some kind of strange mix
in these kinds of situations.
December 30, 1998 - TT the Bear's, Cambridge, MA
B: We played early (8:00) but had a good crowd, made up of many friends and family.
"We played a pretty tight, and well-received set".
December 31, 1998 - First Night, Northampton
B: Dance recital space above Fitzwilly's. We played 2 sets, for a crowd who were
made to leave their shoes at the door, or risk detention from the Headmaster.
A jolly crowd. Russ got his picture in the paper because of it. We made many new
fans that night.
H: Had to get all our equipment up the caged elevator run by an official elevator
operator. Strange show in a small dance studio that felt like an elementary
school gymnasium. The crowd was comprised of children and people who had no
idea what to expect. This was all part of a big First Night celebration sponsored
by the town. The sound was terrible but there was a lot of room for milling
around while playing. There were some crazy dancers there, a lot of people signed
our mailing list and we got a great new fan from NYC. You never know who might
January 2, 1999 - Arlene Grocery, NYC
B: 6 1/2 hours of driving for 35 minutes on stage, and a knish at Katz's. And
to see friends and stuff. Why do we do it? Are we crazy? Or do we just love what
we do? You tell me. HINT: We keep doing it over and over.
We recorded 12 basic tracks for "For the Innocent You", with Thom Monahan at the
controls. Slaughterhouse Studio, Hadley, MA. Check out Henning's Slaughterhouse
Sessions for more info. Recording
January 16 - Amherst Brewing Company
B: Sound problems kept this from being a great gig, but we still had fun. 3 sets,
unexpected friends, and a drunk Russ having to be scooped into the car.
January 17 - Mama Kin, Boston, MA
B:Big, big club, small, small crowd. It was a Sunday--whattaya expect?? Lots of
pictures, though. In a matter of weeks, Mama Kin was no longer. Must've been my
January 21 - O'Brien's, Brighton, MA
B: Back in Boston to wrap up our tour. O'Brien's.... all I will say is we were
tired and the mood just wasn't right. Henning and I went for a pleasant walk,
H: It was nice to see some old friends from Boston here. The show was rough,
we played too late, and the sound was terrible. I remember two guys at the bar
singing Aerosmith songs really loudly, welcome to Boston.
January 23 - The Baggot Inn, NYC
B: Wow, was January a crazy month, or what?? Here we are in NYC. It was warm and
balmy for January. We are all getting to know each other quite well on these long
rides. This was a fun show at a great club. Great sound, great crowd. It was a
special night, as well. Russ met a very important person that night, and a friend
of mine celebrated one year of living in the USA.
January 29th - Tic Toc Club, Springfield
B: The month isn't over yet!! With a crowd of 3, there's nothing to do but indulge
in the free beer. Among that crowd of three was the VIP, Mr. Mark Mulcahey.
January 30 - Bay State, Northampton, MA
B: Back on home turf to finish out the crazy, productive, eventful month. And
this show was, "great, powerful and energetic". As are most Baystate shows, so
who am I kidding?? A drunken crowd of about 150 danced the night away.
February 6 - Greenfield Winter Carnival-The Armory, Greenfield MA
B: Armories, with their high ceilings and hard interiors, don't make for great
acoustics. And this was a shining example. It was fun playing such a big stage,
but people afterwards were asking if Russ was singing in English! We did 2 sets.
H: This was about the worst place you could have a rock band play. This belly
of a whale was like a giant coffee can. You know when you sing in a coffee can
how it sounds? Now imaging cramming a whole band in there, shrinking yourself
down, and going in and listening. It was a cool LOOKING place, though. As much
as I hate to beat an old rock and roll cliché, this was a Spinal Tap moment.
February 13th - Amherst Brewing Company
B:Like all ABC shows, a 3 setter. All I recall from it, thanks to the diary, is
that "Russ, though getting over the flu, ended up wigging out and banging on my
toms at the end of (All My) Juices" I do recall laughing heartily.
February 27 - Baystate, Northampton
B: Our talented friends "Fat Buddah: from Providence RI opened.
February 28 - Academy of Music, Northampton
B: The "Really Big Show". This was a benefit for the Northampton Arts Council.
It was a HUGE honor, as we got to play a mini set on the historic stage, in front
of 800 people. Nervous?? Pshaw.
H: This was a take-off of The Ed Sullivan show featuring all different variety
acts, we got the honor of playing the part of the Beatlesque rock act. It was
great to play on such a huge stage with serious lights and sound. And there
were free snacks in the green room.
March 10 - Lakeside Lounge, NYC
B: What a great venue this place is. Good sound, cozy atmosphere, only one band
per night, a great view of the pedestrians, and an awesome drum kit. It's easy
to play a relaxed show here, and we did. "Well played, well-attended" Ari Vais
was there in a tie.
H: We picked up a few New York fans here, who we later let down by showing
up late for an Arlene Grocery show.
March 27 - Baystate, Northampton
B: ST. PATRIOTS DAY!! Boston's: Helicopter Helicopter opened the show. We celebrated
our favorite holiday by writing its official anthem. Russ must have gotten naked,
many women must have looked sexy, many men and women must have danced, many drinks
must have been drunk by the band and crowd.
H: For some reason we always seem to have great shows when Helicopter Helicopter
opens for us at The Baystate. Our music is not really very similar but they
just exude rock and roll and it seems to osmatize into the crowd. Our St. Patriot's
anthem, which was a whim, I tell you, lodged itself in the heads of a few folks
who claimed they couldn't escape it for weeks.
April 14 - Swing Cat, Northampton
B: A benefit for the late Monkeyhouse--everyone's favorite mastering/duplicating/everything
H: Corey from the Monkeyhouse had a nice old guitar that he was bringing around
having everybody sign. The Monkeyhouse had helped us out a great deal with Girl
Planet and I had worked with them earlier with Humbert and with Tony Westcott
when we were doing Papercuts. It was a shame that they were put out of business
by an unscrupulous partner's thievery.
April 17 - Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
B: The famous all-women school invited us to play their annual Spring Concert.
We closed the show, which turned out to be a bad thing, because the rain, which
held up all day, through 4 other bands, came down on us. But the women were very
appreciative, and invited us to a party, which we couldn't attend.
H: We were very excited to get some free dining commons food but something
happened and suddenly they were ordering us a big pizza. This was such a strange
show, here we were on a literal girl planet, and its cold, raining, and windy.
Only a few die-hards could stick it out. We played in a lovely ampitheatre.
But we were facing backwards through the huge Stone Hendge-like pillars facing
a giant white tent. It was fun to play anyway, I recall looking back during
our last song and seeing water splashing off of Brian's cymbals as he played.
The rain was coming in sideways. We did manage to pick up a few free records
that the radio station was getting rid of.
April 18 - Earth Day Benefit--Pulaski Park, Northampton
B: A beautiful day, beautiful people, beautiful cause. Ahh...
H: The Figments played before us. Folks were sitting on the ground watching
the bands, little kids were running around. There was a raffle. I didn't win.
April 23 - Arlene Grocery, NYC
B:Curses, CURSES the bloody traffic. We missed the show. We were late. It was
not our fault.
H: Yeah? Who's fault was it Brian? Don't start with me.
May 1 - Northampton Music Festival (NMF) - Swing Cat, Northampton
B:And God, did a ton of people show up!! And God, did we give them a show! God
replies: "Yes, and yes, Brian. Now SHUT UP AND GET OVER YOURSELF!" Sorry God....
H: The Northampton Music Festival was a success all around. The weather was
perfect, the bands were great, the crowds were great, it was even well organized.
I have never seen or will ever see this many people in The Swingcat again. The
disco light dazzled us all.
May 8 - Williams College, Williamstown, MA
B:A small, prestigious school, in a picturesque town, in the upper left corner
of MA. Claim to fame?? Fountains of Wayne. We were treated like royalty by the
students, and tried to return the favor by playing half way decently.
H: Really friendly kids here, we played in a nice fancy sort of student lounge.
First time I ever played a show while there were people on computers in the
back of the room. The Williams folks were kind enough to buy us dinner in town
and supply us with drinks for the show. I really liked this show one of my top
May 12 - Sharky's-Nashua, NH
B: The club was part of a strip mall, and, uh....it was part of a strip mall.
H: A strip mall kind of club, this one.
May 28 - Amherst Brewing Company
B: Dear Diary: "..got off to a problematic start. 1)we didn't know if Joe would
make it from his other gig in Framingham and 2)Henning locked himself out of his
car. Luckily, within 45 minutes, both Joe, and AAA arrived and we all breathed
easy. Then another problem: Murph was supposed to deliver Joe's amp at 9:30 and
it was now 10:10--so Russ did a couple songs solo. The Murph arrived. YAY! We
start our first real song and my snare breaks--AARRGGHH!! Murph runs across the
street and gets me one of his in 3 minutes. YAY!! Finally we properly start. We
play 2 sets. The second set was awesome, and for the last 6 songs, we had 15-20
people up front dancing."
May 29 - Huke Lau, Chicopee, MA
B:This is the world famous Polynesian restaurant/club/ bar. It is as elegant as
it is kitch. And it is HUGE. We played 3 sets. We had our own luxurious dressing
room/lounge. We had a good quality crowd, and pretty much played everything we
know. Oh, and a psychedelic light show behind us.
H: I'd have to disagree with Brian on this and say it's more kitch than elegant,
about a million times more, and I love it. I recall a very loud girl who just
June 4 - Baystate, Northampton
B:Back again?? It's never "just another show", but I truly remember nothing about
this show, besides that I wore eyeliner, and heartbreak was in the air.
More recording at Slaughterhouse studio, with Mark Miller and Thom Monahan. Recording
June 18 - Brewer's Fest--Tri-County Fairgrounds, Northampton
B:The first of several fun-in-the-sun Summer festivals. Well, the beer was outstanding.
Russ and Caitlin enjoyed a sloppy, meaty meal. I left and bought some sunglasses
that I hated the next day.
H: We got the worst slot of the festival I think. Thursday at 5:00. Who's
out of work and at a beer festival at 5:00 on a Thursday when they have the
whole weekend in front of them? The pastoral view of the Holyoke range made
up for the lack of people.
July 3 - Baggot Inn, NYC
B: A double header for me, as I also played with the Figments. It was, I believe,
147 degrees outside. NYC was a ghost town because of the holiday weekend. But
we had fun. And that's all that counts, right? RIGHT??
H: A Rock and Roll night for me as I was already in NYC recording some tracks
on the last Humbert album. I drove over to The Baggot, played the show, and
drove back to the studio. I felt rage that people had to live in such a horrible
environment on such a hot day. I couldn't believe everybody wasn't just murdering
July 17 - Ostrich Farm
B: Private party at the Ostrich Farm, home of the amazing... Ostrich Farm--way
out in Ashfield. Fun, mosquitoes, beer, hammock, mosquitoes, the Drunk Stuntmen,
fireworks, a can of OFF, ahhh.......
H: We love Ostrich Farm parties! Follow the torch lit path up the hill and
through the woods and discover an enormous roaring fire. Pass the color lit
fountain, go into the greenhouse and stumble across a hot tub full of people.
Walk over to the converted garage, there's a band playing. Upstairs there's
a pool game going on. And everywhere around you in the dark small groups of
July 22 - The Grand Band Slam
B: Courthouse courtyard, Northampton--because we are winners. What did we win??
The best Alternative blah blah... So, we got to play for 20 minutes after Ostrich
Farm (those guys again?).
July 23 - Summer Fest '99
B: Same place, same time, this time, played for 90 minutes. Oh, it was hot. This
was called the SUMMERFEST.
H: I love these outdoor shows. The people sitting in the grass. The view from
the stage of the whole town. The kids playing in the fountain and dancing. Friends
and strangers all around enjoying summer.
July 30 - Amherst Brewing Company
B: It was their anniversary party, but unfortunately, Amherst is a dead town in
August 3 - Live on WRTC, Trinity College, Hartford, CT
B: My brother in law John hosts a show, and he was kind enough to invite us on.
We did about 6 songs, chatted, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
August 7 - Alyssa and John's Wedding
B: Stevens' Estate, North Andover, MA--my hometown, and site of my sister Alyssa's
wedding. We entertained the guests at the end, and did 2 sets of mostly covers.
But we had 'em dancing!!!
August 12 - Taste of Northampton
B:Its fun under the stars. We played a LONG show for the eating people down below
us. They liked us, no one choked, but they whooped it up. A big ol' local crowd.
August 13 - The Baystate, Northampton
B:RUSS' BIRTHDAY!! And I'd say we celebrated in style. That's what I'd say, although
my memory doesn't serve me at all. And my diary is preoccupied with other things.
August 19 - Cheshire Pub, Cheshire, CT
B: What nice folk live in Cheshire!! We enjoyed hosting their Open Mic, and in
return, the at-first-skeptical crowd took to us quite well, thank you very much.
August 31 - TRANSPERFORMANCE LIMEYPALOOZA
B: Look Park, Northampton--the annual "TRANSPERFORMANCE"--every band was a different
British band, and we were the stars. We were The Beatles!! We wore ties, then
suede, then moustaches. We were 1963, 66 and then 69. We did a total of 7 songs,
and played to about 1500 people. Only upstaged by the Drunk Stuntmen's performance
of The Wall.
September 2 - Tri County Fair, Northampton, MA
B: Ferris wheels in the distance, the smell of cattle in the air. A host of empty
folding chairs in front of us. Oh well.
September 11 - Amherst Brewing Company
B:There must have been some great start-of-the-semester parties, because no one
was at this show.
September 18 - The Sportspage, East Hartford, CT
B:We played before a hip surf band, called 9th Wave. My brother in law John saved
the day, by getting mics and mic stands, at this ill-prepared, but well-attended
H: I'm not sure what to make of this place. Seems a Bob Seger tribute band
would be more fitting than us. Nobody there even knew that there was a band
playing, until we showed up, and then some of our fans. Terrible sound system,
very unorganized gig. But the crowd was very receptive and it was interesting
to play a show with one microphone. I found it difficult to play some of these
songs without singing my parts.
September 25 - The Baystate, Northampton
B: I dunno what else to say. Perhaps we debuted a new song?? It came after a full
week of mixing at Slaughterhouse, so we were all kind of burnt out.
October 1 - The Call, Providence, RI
B: We were guests of the amazing FAT BUDDAH, and played to a good, attentive crowd.
We dig Providence. Really and truly. I was approached by a rep from "Czech Rebel"
beer, which I'd been drinking all night, about a possible sponsorship.
October 7th - Oliver's Tavern, Boston MA
B: My friend Joni was there, which brought the mood up. My car was broken into,
which brought it back down again. Someone had some hooch, which brought it back
H: Oliver's Tavern is not a music venue really and it didn't seem like anyone
expected us. A sketchy night.
October 10 - NMF October Fest
B: Mini NMF at Grandstands--Another double header for me. But both the Figments
and the Steamtrain played strong, energetic sets, while on the 5 televisions,
I watched the Red Sox score 23 runs against the Indians.
October 13 - Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA
B: A noon time show, in their cafeteria. Noon, under fluorescent lights, sans
Joe, sans my proper cymbals/stands, I guess we pulled it off. We had fun and were
treated SO well
H: This was a funny show, very strange to play so early in these conditions.
Seeing how young all the college kids looked made me feel a little older than
I would like.
October 30 - Northampton Brewery
B:Halloween Show. Loud, drunken, 3 sets, Go Go dancers a foot away from me, hundreds
of people in costume. The most fun I've ever had playing a show. Exhausting, it
was. But worth every minute.
H: What a great night. The surrealism of all those costumes and lights is
so cool. Halloween has to be the best night to play shows. The crowd is very
uninhibited because of their costumes and it rubs off on the band. Bruce did
an excellent job on the sound as always and we played a lot of great covers
which I really enjoy.
November 5 - Flywheel, Easthampton, MA.
B: Flywheel is a hip, all ages performance space. We were honored to play there.
And we gave the kids something to talk about. And I read Rimbaud in the reading
H: I enjoyed playing here, it was teeny crowd but the were all so enthusiastic
that it made up for the size. And there were lots of free little leftover Halloween
November 12 - The Living Room, NYC
B:Joe's case of fiesta pants forced us to perform as a trio on this night. In
any case, we played after a couple of super-mellow acoustic acts, so we were hoping
the crowd was in the mood to be woken up. And wake them up we did. We played a
tight 40-minute set, and were begged back on stage to do an encore. Very nice
club, the Living Room. Amy Fairchild's brother begged us to repeat "Beggars in
Los Angeles", but repeats are against our policy, so we did "Mrs. Goodfriend"
instead. We made many new fans that night.
H: This was really nice venue, the people seemed to go there for the music.
It was a nice, friendly crowd that was attentive and responsive. The sound guy
was very nice and accomplished as well. It was different playing with Brian
directly behind me, we had no eye contact the whole time. But it was a nice
relaxed show all around.
November 13 - Amherst Brewing Company
In writing this diary, I realize that, like a sports team, a regularly-gigging
band goes through winning streaks and slumps. November finds us back on the winning
track. Joe was back with us the next night for the always gruelling, usually rewarding
3 sets at the ABC. Songwise, this night resembled the Halloween show--we pulled
out some funny covers, and played most of our own tunes. This was our best ABC
show in a while. Screaming, dancing, whooping and carrying on, were the people.
November 20 - The Baystate.
B: Our final show at the beloved Baystate for the millennium. And a very worthwhile
one, too--because it was very different from any of the others. First off, we
had L Ron Chud on guitar, in place of the busy Joe Boyle. He did a smashing job,
but more on him, later. This was also a special show, for the opening act was
Church of Betty, from NYC. They began with "No Reply" by the Beatles, ended with
a 10 minute, hypnotizing tabla solo, and filled the space in between with many
examples of innovative, exciting original pop. For our set, we played the first
two songs as a trio. For the next song, the barely-a-week-old "Listen", we introduced
Mr. Chud, who played the rest of the set with us, and did Joe's parts justice,
in his own inimitable way.
H: Yes, it was a very different Baystate show than recent ones. L.Ron played
wonderfully and his energy fueled us all into putting on a more raucous rock
show than usual. We fulfilled a request for Before I Come, which we hadn't played
for quite a while and it went over very well. The new song, "Listen" sounded
great. Lots of very friendly faces, lots of dancing. Church of Betty was really
good, a strange nice sound they have there.
December 1 - The Underground--Trinity College, Hartford, CT
B: This was a last-minute show. Though we had only 2 days to prepare, we pulled
it together, and all four of us (including Joe) played a swell show to a moderate,
but enthusiastic college audience. We were opening for North Carolina's MAYFLIES
USA--who played an awesome set of Big Star/Badfinger-like pop, with hooks and
harmonies to spare. Thanks again to brother-in-law John, and Brian Sinclair for
setting this show up, and supplying us with a bootleg of it.
H: I love colleges. There's hardly anywhere better than a campus center or
student union at night. The Underground is a cool little room hidden in the
back of the student union. Appearantly it has quite a history in Connecticut
Rock and Roll, you may have actually seen it in an MTV video or two. Which is
interesting since it is such a tiny space. A crowd of 30 would look big here
amongst the plush sofas and steaming cups of tea. One enjoyable highlight was
when the two guys in the front compared us to the Soft Boys. Second time that's
happened, and I didn't even think more than two people knew about the Soft Boys.
December 3 - Lakeside Lounge, East Village, NYC
B: Apologies to those who were told by us that this was a 9:00 show. It was really
11:00, but you all really did want 2 extra hours to bevy-up anyway, right?? And
did we pack the place?? I'd say we did. Some old Noho friends, some new NYU friends,
and a host of strangers came to see us on this warm Friday night. We played as
a trio, manager Don came with us, and got his famous friends like Amy Fairchild
to come. Amy really dug the show, as did my oldest friend Matt, who I look forward
to seeing every time we play NYC. Other than that, I think everyone else had a
good time. I know I did. Henning??
H: Oh, sure, I had a great show. It was a very friendly atmosphere, there
were some lovely familiar faces, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I
felt bad about some folks who came early expecting us to go on at 9:00 but nobody
so much as complained. I got to spend some time with friend and Recording Engineer
Extraordinaire, Paul Oliveira. And the ride home was enjoyable as well, I haven't
laughed that much since the last episode of Strangers With Candy.
December 4 - Party. Plainfield, MA
B: There was a ton of Noho bands at this party - The Figments, Yanni DiFranco,
Ostrich Farm, the Drunk Stuntmen, Broker, and a host of others. Mal Thursday got
in a fight, there was a bonfire, people seemed happy, we played a 35 minute set
with L.Ron Chud. Other than that, the only thing that separated this from any
other party was that it was way the fuck out in Plainfield.
H: Well, I spent some quality time with L.Ron during the 45 minute ride to
and from the party, which was nice. I enjoyed hanging out with The Figments,
hadn't seen Matthew in quite a while and Trace was nice enough to let me use
his Bass Amp. I consumed some crackers and bread. The ashes from the bonfire
looked like snow. I don't actually think I heard a note I played or sang that
night but Tao Jones was dancing and that's good enough for me.
December 11 - The Crow's Nest. New London, CT
B: We were cordially invited to be a part of Connecticut College's annual FESTIVUS
celebration (or so the students would have us believe). In any event, we arrived
on the picturesque campus, seemingly ready for anything (after all, the show had
a 1:00 am starting time). What we weren't prepared for was the bevy of beauties
(oh, and some guys), all dressed to the nines and well intoxicated, raving it
up all over the campus center. Various rooms were designated as a dance club,
a karaoke bar, and a movie theater. So, then: where the hell did everyone go when
we started playing?? Suddenly, as we began our show, you could hear a pin drop
throughout the building. Oh well, we said--we're having fun, and it's a paying
practice. We decided to "stretch out and jam" on a few songs, until we realized
we're not so good at it. Throughout the first set, a couple of loners came in
to check things out, and a small gathering had formed outside the room. We were
about to end the first set with "Girl Planet", when, out of nowhere, a dozen or
so kids came running in, and danced the rest of the night away. THIS MADE OUR
NIGHT!!!Led by the charming Sahar, the mixed group talked w/ us between songs,
signed the mailing list, we autographed a broken drumstick, and we decided to
skip taking a break, so we could continue to watch the people have a good time.
NOTE TO THE FANS--you see, here, we must point out that we like watching you,
the fans, perhaps more than vice versa. The better time you're having, the better
we play. This has been one of the important lessons we learned this year. We love
and appreciate you all so much. Henning, now I'm all choked up. You'd better fill
in the rest.
H: Oh brother, you speak the truth, sir, but you're embarrassing us all with
your gushing. We all had a good time at this show. The small group of dancing
folks saved the day and the guy who requested The Jam and Joy Division renewed
my faith in everything. Scott, the organizer of this event was very nice and
accommodating. The house they had supplied for us was haunted but adorable.
And the security guard was kind enough to recommend Rosie's, a good diner, for
breakfast the next day.
December 17 - Husky Blues, UConn campus, Storrs, CT.
B: You blinked and you missed it. We were on a bill of about 327 bands at the
CONNCEPT Holiday Party. Bands started early in the evening and went until about
sunrise. Thus, everyone got about 15 minutes to show why they were put on this
planet. We played at 1:00 am, did a bombastic 5 song set, networked a bit, and
drove into the night. We enjoyed the party, the $1 beer, the supportive vibe and
stuff. A man jumped on stage and took some action shots from provocative angles.
H: CONNcept is a collaboration of Connecticut musicians who are kind enough
to allow us to be members even though we are from Massachusetts. The Holiday
Party was chock full of CONNcept folks. We met old friends and a few new ones.
These people just love music, how else can you explain 23 bands playing in one
night and people staying for the whole thing. It's always nice to play at Husky
Blues, they have a good sound system and the people there are always very very
nice. One highlight of the evening, The Spores gave me a cd and T-Shirt and
so I learned that Indie-Pop is alive and well in Connecticut.
December 31 - Elks Lodge, Northampton, MA
B: Now who here has never imagined themselves playing a rock and roll concert
in front of a gaggle of wild elks? Well I have many times, but it still hasn't
happened. As a part of Northampton's annual First Night celebration, we performed
2 sets in the late afternoon in front of an appreciative all ages (and I mean
ALL ages) audience. Dozens of shrunken elk heads on the chandeliers looked down
upon us all. A German audience member asked L-Ron what an Elk was, and though
the answer was given as a joke, I think the German man believed it and returned
to his seat. I hope he soon learns the truth. That there are elks and there are
Elks. Between the two sets we signed autographs and moved a few units. I was told
by a woman that i have the coolest drum kit in Northmpton. Otherwise, we played
well, though it was kind of hard to really groove "Dancing Queen" while everyone's
asses are sitting on folding chairs. It was a bit like auditioning for something.
But for WHAT, Henning??
H: For life, my friend, for life on the outside. This was one of our few shows
held on pagan worshipping territory, the crowd, however seemed just as out of
place as we were in this lovely but strange setting. We played to First Night
celebrators sitting in neat rows of wooden chairs in a small wooden room. It
was fun, the kids dug it, the adults snickered along with our seeming irreverence.
We sold a bunch of cds.
December 31,1999 / January 1, 2000 - Northampton Brewery
B: Noho Brewery shows always leave me completely spent, half deaf, and so happy
to be alive and a working musician. By the end of this show we had played a total
of 5 hours on New Years Eve/Day. The Noho Brewery always knows exactly how to
throw a party, and this night was no exception. Everyone was so happy, 100x happier
than the Londoners I'd seen on CNN earlier, who all were gazing passively at their
enormous New Years fireworks display, seemingly unimpressed. However, tonight
I believe we (or at least I!) impressed quite a few. The first 2 sets I wore a
suit and tie, and for the third I changed into black velvet women's clothing.
Russ wore a diaper (Depends) for the second set. The only drag was that some beer
was spilled and shorted out L-Ron's amp. We carried on, and finished the last
30 minutes as a trio. But a hearty thank you to Mr. Chud.
H: I saw those London Fireworks on TV, too, Brian, I was impressed. They looked
pretty amazing. But, I can't really think of a better way of ending and starting
a new year than playing a show. And this was a really fun show. We were all
pretty tired from the Elks club but I don't think it really effected us too
much. There were a lot of friends and happy strangers in the crowd and we were
all there for the same reason, to bring in the new year together. There was
a whole lot of dancing going on and we had learned a bunch of tunes specifically
to promote that (Dancing Queen, Heart Of Glass, Safety Dance etc.) Our countdown
went smoothly coming straight out of an extended version of Prince's 1999. Shampagne
was passed around and party favors were in full force. Jayce did an excellent
job on the sound and even surruptitiously joined us with his own microphone
on Rain by The Beatles. I feel very lucky that I could spend the first two hours
of the new age playing good music for a happy, dancing room full of people.
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