Green Rooms and Restrooms: The Bowery Ballroom
Idiocy from the Van: Cooch Potato
Lisa has become a master of Priceline and she pulled off the equivalent of snatching the Hope diamond out of a sow’s ass. We got to the city in time to check into our hotel, which was a sweet boutique place on the Lower East Side with all kinds of art good art everywhere and the rooms quirky and unique from each other. The lobby was on the 14th floor (probably the 13th – stupid superstitious witch burning butt munches) and had a 270 degree view of the city, a rooftop bar slimily occupied by young bro-fessionals, and a sweet outside pool way up the air. The next day Lisa and John hung out in the pool with two delightful fellows already enjoying flowing wine at 1:00 in the afternoon, one of whom leapt into the pool in his Calvin Klein undies. They enjoyed slapping John on the ass, making fun of the people in the pool at the hotel across the street because their pool was only on the seventh floor, (“Bitch who are you? Who even are you? Look at them down there”) and telling Lisa that, “she is hilarious” when referring to John. It sounded awesome and I’m a bit jealous I missed it.
We were all excited to play the Bowery Ballroom because of its reputation. And in this singular case, our hopes didn’t even come close to the experience. It’s a beautiful space with a wrap-around balcony, great old windows, and a completely modern and clean stage. There was a dedicated sound person, monitor engineer, and lighting tech waiting for us. As Chuck put it later we never had to ask for anything. Everyone was just really good at their jobs. To give an example of their dedication, there was a moment during the show where my curly cable had wended its way between two full cups of beer. I don’t know what they were doing there. I don’t touch the stuff. Anyway, reinforcing a lesson you’d think I’d have learned a long time ago, i.e. attempting any moves made famous by Pete Townshend will end poorly, I jumped with the intent of both my feet leaving the ground. In a perplexing, unexpected, and frankly impossible to predict sequence of events my cable knocked over approximately 32 ounces of liquid. The monitor engineer sprung from his cave of engineering situated at least 10 feet above and beside the stage. He slid down the ladder like Mr. December in the firefighter’s calendar of beefcake and stanched the remarkably deep pool of liquid flowing towards all kinds of electricity. Heroic to say the least. And beyond that, the venue provided all kinds of hummus and delicious food in the green room. Just because I guess. It’s not like we’re at the requiring hummus to go onstage level of success. We’re more at the I hope what the audience throws doesn’t hurt too much level of success.
The Paranoid Style only hinted at what they’re capable of in Albany and took advantage of the big stage and sound of the Bowery to utterly destroy the place. There is nothing better than a band throwing down the gauntlet before you play. It’s not a competition at all; it’s just pure motivation. If you’re ok with getting blown off the stage then give up or join the Filk circuit.* Onstage I got to work with the monitor engineer in a way I never had** and it was revelatory how well I could not only hear specific drums and the bass, but in a way that made it possible to play more cohesively with everyone else. We were so worried that enough people wouldn’t show up so as to not get invited back to the club, but thanks be to the AMIDYC*** an audience filled up the place nicely. And I don’t know what it is about NYC crowds, because one would expect with the classic gruff no-nonsense reputation of the locals that they would stand there with arms folded and scowl, but they are arguably our most enthusiastic audiences anywhere. And it’s like that every time. So to sum up: gorgeous, super professional ballroom experience, artisanal hummus, a lovely generous audience, one of the best nights all around we’ve been lucky enough to have as a band.
And then boom – day off in the city. A teacher friend just happened to be in town so we met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, had drinks on the rooftop garden, looked around and generally acted all swish and sophisticated. John and Lisa swam. Chuck left the hotel, decided it wasn’t to his liking, and went to Starbucks. Joe, from what I can gather, spent the day shooting craps in an alley off of Delancey trying once again to erase a 90 year old debt to the Sicilian mob his grandfather racked up one wild weekend in 1936 while attending a National Cash Register sales conference.
Even with a sweet deal, Manhattan is a damn expensive place to be, so we decamped to Providence that evening to begin our brief New England foray.
*It’s a real thing.
** I hope he calls. Do you think he’ll call?
*** All Mighty Invisible Deity of Your Choice – Pronounced: Ahmadick