Wednesday, July 29, 2009

China Pics!


We are back on our home soil, safe and sound. I've been updating my Flickr account with pictures from our tour of China. 

Check it out!: Flickr


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blocked in China

In Beijing now, looking for an american breakfast and pandas. They don't let us use blogger over here, it's blocked. I figured out how to write this post but it's a real hassle so in the meantime you won't be hearing very much from us. Expect lots of pictures, video, and some wild stories soon enough though. cheers!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

make the muzik with yr mouth

Toronto, it's been grand.

We're poking around at Chuck's house. Pat ventured out in the interminable rain to get some health food provisions a little while ago. To be fair, it didn't rain yesterday until later, and we spent the bulk of our day off at another Midas learning more bad news about our brakes, that we thought were fixed forever in Colorado on our last U.S. tour. But apparently, if you do a bad job fixing the brakes, they never. quite. get. fixed..uggh. REFUND!

It might just be time to put the old girl down...

Things got better later once we hit Kensington Market, where it felt a little St. Marks NYC, a little hippie college main drag, and a little Jamaica, but better. Everything was closing down for the day, but the mashup of crusty punks drinking on the sidewalk, immigrants running souvenir shops and arty white people populating cafes made me feel like we were finally seeing another side to the city that we missed last time we were through.

Earlier we ate at Mitzi's and were interviewed by a 17-year old writer for the Singing Lamb. Her brother had made her a necklace out of t-shirt scraps that looked just like our stage decor, pretty rad. Definitely our youngest interviewer, and hopefully our unsolicited inspirational/guidance life advice wasn't too heavy...

At the interview, I ordered THE ULTIMATE BREAKFAST SANDWICH (their name, not mine). It was, in reality, a PRETTY GOOD breakfast sandwich, and featured kimchee, eggs, bacon and red pepper aioli. Bill is threatening to call me "KIMCHEE" from now on since we decided to have band nick names. His is "SNARE".

Both shows went off without a hitch, despite it being that generally crazy festival thing (NXNE) where we're trying to wire up all our piles of gear on a wet stage in half the time that it usually takes for all the cables and pedals to get connected while a harried sound person is trying to find where the DI box is buried. We have a lot of experience playing weird, rushed, no sound check situations it seems. It's usually ok, as long as there's not some bummer music being played over the PA before we play. But I digress, I think people liked it, and some kids came out a second time last night for our 2 AM set at The Silver Dollar Room. I kept cracking loungey night club jokes all night, but I don't think anyone got it..much like the other jokes I mumble when we play.

David Chapelle, Iam not. Maybe I am more like David LaChapelle??
So then my jokes are more like this--

Another weird thing that happened on this tour was because of this crappy place in Boston called PA's Lounge. I don't recommend anyone play there ever, and generally don't think people do play there or want to go there. Our show was fine, the sound guy was super nice, and this kid Nathan helped us jump on the bill last minute, but he ended up getting burned because the real booker wasn't there and the club takes the first $130 from the door for 'booking fees'. So he paid us $50 out of his own pocket because the club tried to give $45 to be split between 4 bands! None of the locals were paid and the other touring band were paid out of pocket too.

Pat had SOME WORDS with the owner about fairness and we went back to Mark's house a little dejected.

So guess what happens before our first Toronto show! Some ANONYMOUS bar owner in Boston calls Sneaky Dee's to tell them that we destroyed their club and will graffitti Sneaky Dee's too! Fortunately the bartender who answered the call is also a touring musician and thought the call was super petty, and even called the Beer Mug in Erie for us--where we're playing tonight-- to warn them about a crank call from this guy. WTF?

For the record, we don't tag bars. BORING.

And bands aren't just a reason to sell drinks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ah June in April, day after day of rain, New England feels like England and I'm asking myself what's up with this...but I know in July, while touring around China, I'll be wishing for this perfect sleeping weather.
After great nights in Brooklyn, Providence and Burlington, VT we are in Amherst, MA at the University. There's a new student parent dinner going on right beside the room where we are playing. We had to stop sound check after some of the organizers looked through the glass windows of the doors at us like "what the hell is that racket!"
Now, they're all settled with, say, their chicken cordon blue and ice burg lettuce.
Last night in Burlington, VT we had such a rad time. This kid Nick threw the show with his friend Toby in a big raw brick, wood floor rustic gallery and cafe space. It sat on the edge of town where they have the local farmer's market, just on the edge of the rails. All the artists were extreme, using noise and circuit bending as their forms. They didn't just push buttons either. They got into it. There's something awesome about watching someone grip a contact mic and freak out with it. It's maximum minimalism.
We went on after the sixth performer. There was supposed to be seven more after us. The audience was really feeling it and so were we. It was a Sunday night in a really welcoming town and there we were, partying down, completely oblivious of this thing called Monday. Anna was wearing her cape she wore at Death By Audio and the jump suit.
She looked awesome.
And after we were done we felt awesome, until the cops came. And it was over. Sorry to those who didn't get to play. Let's reconvene in the fall.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

High Brow, Low Brow

The Stars Like Fleas PopRally show at MoMA last night was a success!

Here is a funny blog recap that uses the word hipster as synonymous with anyone in a costume.

I will admit, the feather costumes caught me a bit off guard too because I had a dream the night before that I had black wings and was cawing like a crow, so they made me nervous?
According to my favorite reference--
The Dictionary of Dreams: 10,000 Dreams Explained
by Gustavus Hindman Miller, "To see the wings of fowls or birds, denotes that you will finally overcome adversity and rise to wealthy degrees and honor."
(High five!)

Theo Angell was the choir director for the performance and did a bang up job of signaling us with cue cards that read "STATIC", "FIST FIGHT", "SMALL BIRDS", "PTERODACTYL", etc.
while the band made all these magnificent swells and lulls with their horns, harp, drums, singing, violin, keyboards and guitar.

It was really fun to participate in an event like this, built around music and art, but without the usual amount of pressure I think we have when we perform as TAP.

Singing while moving through all the floors of the museum felt so simultaneously natural and surreal. At one point, we were split into three groups and Theo led us in this kind of Dada doo-wop in the round singing.

He seems like a calm and friendly person, that radiates a very clear and kind energy. You know, like yoga teacher good vibes? Choruses of people singing have awesome energy too. I think I don't spend enough time around church choirs or glee clubs.

During the intermission, we swiped as much wine and fancy hors d'oeuvres as we could before the choir got scolded by catering. Thank you MoMa for the goat cheese and apricots, mini quiche trios, and Mediterranean inspired shrimp and hummus cocktails. Thank you, Ryan for the SPACE cookie. Usually I don't eat during a show, but this was definitely more of a giddy celebration than anything.

space cookie?

After we finished, there were tiles inscribed with "It's Treason" to be handed out to the choir and audience. My phone was dead, so no pictures, but there should be plenty up and around soon. I liked overhearing one man describe the tile to his friends as a "real tile". It's nice to give people something tangible after they experience something unique, uplifting and fleeting.

Since we never had a proper dinner, Lori and I decided to throw healthy dining out the window with a trip to Crif Dogs. And she went even further with a last minute reservation to the semi-secret sister bar Please Don't Tell.

The reviews for this place are pretty mixed.

But it was really the right mix of high and low brow following a good 6 hours at a museum.
Lori ordered champagne and I had a drink called "A Beer and Smoke" which is a michelada priced about the same as a NYC movie ticket. The cheaper, doctored up with hot sauce version was my drink of choice last summer in Chicago, but this was better. Although, I think sometimes I just want a really good spicy Bloody Mary with some olives, celery and bacon for garnish.

Definitely the theatrics of the bartender (I hate, hate the term "mixologist") were entertaining. He made a big show of slapping down cocktail shakers and stirring two drinks at once. One cocktail even required he spray some flavored liquid through a stencil over the top of the foam. When he served it he shrugged and said it was "too Vegas", which I agreed with. I chased my drink with a deep foil crater of tater tots and accompanying cheesssse sauce and jalapenos. Total gut bomb hangover today.

Points to the bartender also for having an accent that seemed to waver between England and New Jersey, looking good in his black vest/blue shirt uniform combo, casually dropping a Freemason reference, and not upselling.