Drove from Nashville to Charlotte, passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Definitely the best part of the drive. After a little research I found out that it’s known as “America’s Favorite Drive.” No show in Charlotte, just dinner with friends Bob and Laurie, and a lullaby for their two kiddos.
Pulled into DC around 1pm after an uneventful 6.5-hour drive from Charlotte. Here come the pedestrians! Sightseeing pedestrians. Pedestrians who stop to take pictures in the middle of the road. Made for some stressful driving, but half the time I wanted to see what they were pointing at anyway. “Don’t hit that pedestrian while checking out the White House…”
Arrived at The Red and The Black at 5pm to load in and get out of traffic. Transitional neighborhood with an obliterated street in front of the venue, littered with orange barrels, but a great room, hardwood floors with tin walls/ceiling, 1-foot stage and a bar in the back. Video coming soon:
Also on the bill were Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned, and headliner YARN from Brooklyn. I really liked YARN, would be fun to tour with them since they’re playing a lot of the same instruments found on my solo album.
New York bound to meet up with the boys from Runaway Sun! Arrived around 1pm after driving through Baltimore, Phily, and Trenton (it’s amazing how close together these states are). Monica slept through Delaware. “I’m in Delaware…”
Stayed with my childhood friend Matt Pace (DJ Mr Nice Guy) at his modern Williamsburg apartment. We were about a foot shorter and beardless the last time we hung out, but some things never change.
3pm, we arrived at Best Buy in Union Square. Oh the traffic. Oh the humanity. Monica dropped us off in front, possible only because of some episode with an ambulance and police cars holding up traffic. Best Buy was huge and bustling. The stage is in the middle of the music store section, which Best Buy introduced in 2008 and carries a selection competitive with Guitar Center. Rob Corddry from Hot Tub Time Machine was in the audience. I love in-store performances. Cactus Music, Best Buy, it doesn’t matter, they’re fun. One second people are browsing and the next they’re your audience. It’s great. Andrew W.K. talked about how much he enjoys their awkwardness in one of his interviews, and I believe it, they must get more delightfully awkward when you’re famous and people come to see you perform and get your autograph right after buying your album. Musicians are salesmen for their album, but when you play an in-store it takes the pressure off the salesman role since people are there to buy stuff anyway. If they like your show, they’ll buy the album. Here’s a video that Monica snapped of us on my Nano:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
We arrived at Arlene’s Grocery at 7pm to load in. They boast the best and most extensive backline equipment in NYC, and it ain’t no lie. The most famous person to play Arlene’s to date is Lady Gaga, but they’ve also seen the likes of R.E.M., Dashboard Confessional, The Strokes, and Jeff Buckley. Live recording of the show coming soon. The bartender at Arlene’s told me that places like his are a dying breed due to skyrocketing rent in NYC. The main room is about the size of Houston’s Continental Club. We had a strong turnout, and we took the stage with something to prove. New York City! It’s rough here, right? People will boo you off the stage if you’re not excellent, right?
Neil Diamond has said, “You always know when you’re playing Texas,” and he’s right. NYC has nothing on a Houston audience, they pay attention up North way too easily. In the middle of the set, some guy yelled, “Take your shirt off!” Coming from Houston, I told him, “You have to earn it.”
After running into News on The March in Brooklyn and walking around Times Square and Central Park West, we headed over to Legion Bar in Brooklyn for our show. Show went very well, lots of family and friends showed up and we the other band had cancelled, so we played for three hours. Moby’s bass player Hagar Ben Ari was in the audience.