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It had been probably two years since we'd played Durham, and even longer since we played Pinhook (upwards of 5 years?). The stage got moved since last time, and it's greatly improved the space. After a brief soundcheck, Chris and Greg and I went down the road to Bull City Burger and had some excellent food. Durham was humming nicely. The town will always be my (not-so) secret crush. When we got back to the club, I was stoked to find they have Slingshot cold-brew coffee at the bar. I commenced to poundin the caf, Rollins-style.
Beloved Binge were really sweet. I talked a bit with Eleni about the travails of middle-age music fandom. (That seems to be what I wanna talk about with other musicians these days. Hmm.) We laid out our merch. BB went on and entertained thoroughly. Very fun band. Eleni sings and plays drums, Rob plays guitar and sings, and they have a bass player who's wife was expecting like, the day before. Trooper! Eleni played something that looked like a lute for one song, and also played a guitar WITH a DRUMSTICK, like, as part of her kit, which was wild. About halfway through they surprised us by covering our "Blizzard Of '92." That was a first. Really got me smiling.
Wood Ear were quite a bit more straight ahead. (We again picked a diverse lineup to join us.) Their southern-meets-indie rock was well-crafted and singular. And their drummer used traditional grip (!) on a few songs, which tickled Chris and me to no end. We're nerd like that. Then we played:
1. Randal Lloyd Comes Home 2. River Town 3. Sara + Laura's Vampire Song 4. I'll Do The Money Tonight 5. Dickinson Ave (Song Of 27) 6. Reunion Show 7. Victory Girl 8. States Away (Nikki's Song) 9. By Respectfully Declining To Appear 10. The Terrified Alumni 11. Too Much To Ask?
So yeah, basically the new album with the new(er) song for a half-time show. My DX-7 kept cutting out, which led to some quick, unsatisfying improvisation. (The end of "Victory" isn't quite the same without the shreddin'.) But the crowd was focused and energized and we had a good time. (And we already have a return date--August 1st. The love affair continues!)
Thanks to everyone who came out, rocked out, bought merch, showed us love. Especially the Pinhook staff and Eleni and Rob. Y'all made us feel like we might be a band of two cities after all.
Next up: back in Raleigh at Slim's Downtown on July 18!
KINGS, RALEIGH NC
Our first show of 2013, and the first in about seven months. We certainly did all we could promotions-wise; the few days preceding the show included the album listening party at Amplified Art, a great Grayson Currin review in the Indy Week (with picture!), and the digital release of the album itself via Band Camp. There was a lot of light on us, more than there'd been in a long, long time.
(Side note: another source of excitement was the evening's dovetailing with the opening of The Garland, Kings's street-food establishment on the ground floor. Chris and Greg chowed down and gave thumbs up.)
So I was glad to see old Chris Jones behind the soundboard when we got there for soundcheck. Chris J goes back aways with us; he even did some sub-drumming for Chris D on a few out-of-town shows back in “the day.” His casually humorous demeanor was just what I needed in my haze of promotion-drunk self-consciousness. And, of course, he made us sound like Flaming Lips with Phil Spector.
I was well-met by Anne Polesnak at the merch table. Anne plays cello on the record and is an associate of SuperFan. She organized our offerings (four CDs now, plus t-shirts, hoo-boy) in a pro-effing-fessional manner and started whooping it up immediately with Jo Gore.
Jo and Derek, ah yes. When we were orchestrating what could reasonably be called this “comeback” show, we purposefully chose a diverse lineup. Derek Torres heads up the heady, hooky, semi-electro-tinged group T0W3RS, and did loop-heavy solo set of mostly new stuff. I dug the slight 80s sheen on a lot of it. Very nice fellow, too. Chris and Greg and I had a good time chatting backstage with him about the fleeting nature of boyhood music fandom—can it be recaptured at 42? Or even 25?
Jo Gore & The Alternative were next, and as their soundcheck indicated, they are basically a shit-hot soul outfit that struts their stuff with virtuosity and energy. Jo had us laughing and head-bobbing throughout, but with a very deep, full, nearly operatic vocal capacity. (I jumped on stage with a tamborine and tried to keep up, adding harmonies to "Columbus County.") And her band had the unusual distinction of trombone and two guitarists (one strictly acoustic and one strictly electric). And one of those drummers with the conga and the chimes and the shakers--love it! Lengthy, dynamic solos abounded and astounded. As players, we clearly had our work cut out for us.
At about 12:15 we went on and did:
1. Randal Lloyd Comes Home 2. Sara & Laura's Vampire Song 3. Reunion Show 4. I'll Do The Money Tonight 5. Victory Girl 6. River Town 7. Dickinson Ave (Song Of 27) 8. Hella Jean 9. Whatever Day It Is 10. This Side Of The Bridge 11. I've Been Riding With A Ghost 12. Two-Headed Boy
"Randal" opened with a quick musical quote from Slayer's "South of Heaven," in memory of the departed Jeff Hanneman. “Reunion” is new, kind of a bilious, Smiths-esque monolith. “Ghost” is a Jason Molina song we did for his passing. And the Neutral Milk Hotel classic “Boy” was Greg's idea from a while back that we were very happy to soup up.
And speaking of the people, thanks to all who came out. A last-minute benefit up the road at Slim's might have pulled our attendance down a bit (and deservedly so—good cause, great bands), but we had a decent and jazzed-up crowd of faithful. Folks were picking up Kickstarter goodies, others were buying the new CDs and Greg-designed t-shirts. And HSFIC (Head SuperFan In Charge) Katrina kept the merch table--and really the whole place--humming with positivity. We at Goner HQ can't imagine having gotten this record through the last mile without her help. Great to be on the SF Team! Overall, the show vibe was just what we'd hoped for after our months-long absence from the stage. Very grateful.
Next: Durham and The Pinhook, June 29th!
(written by Scott)