define( 'AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 300 ); define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 ); define( 'EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 7 ); define( 'WP_CRON_LOCK_TIMEOUT', 120 ); CMJ 2009: Thursday 22 October

CMJ 2009: Thursday 22 October

Thursday was gig day. Our official CMJ showcase. Alan had arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I got a text from him saying he was eating breakfast at a place quite nearby called Kellogg’s Diner with his friend Kate (who’s recently moved to Brooklyn to set up the New York office of Future Shorts). So we went and joined them. Kev had some eggs of some description and I tried to opt for something healthy and went for a fruit salad and an apple juice. What was I thinking? Fruit doesn’t kill a hangover. Oh well, the coffee helped.

Alan had just purchased an incredible new digital camera – one of the Canon 7Ds which can take extremely high resolution still images but also stunning HD video. New York is the perfect place to try out a new camera and Alan was clearly in his element. The sun was beating down and so Al decided he’d head off and take the Staten Island ferry.

Kev and I on the other had decided it was time to do some shopping and decided to stay local as Bedford Avenue offers some great little shops. We ambled slowly in the direction of Jonny’s apartment and spotted a great little independent bookshop called Spoonbill & Sugartown. While I spent about half an hour browsing their selection of art, illustration and graphic design books Kev discovered that the side door to the bookshop led on to a small covered mall full of exciting boutiques. After another 30 minutes had passed I realised I’d not seen Kev for a while so I ventured out the side door to look for him. He was walking towards me clutching a small bag of records looking extremely pleased with himself – and rightly so – he’d just scooped a handful of 7″s including a Sesame Street vinyl with Burt singing his ode to his favourite bath time friend ‘Rubber Duckie’, Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ and the one Kev was obviously most excited about . . . a rare copy of a Tron story book 7″ – one of those ones where you have to read along at the same time as the soundtrack and turn the page ‘when you hear this sound’. Kev love Tron. Kev happy . . . Kev had also spotted some gems during his foraging in the mall and took me to see some kit synthesisers but what we was most excited about was a case full of effects pedals and vintage drum machines in MeMe Antenna the shop he’d bought his records from . . .

MeMeAntennaBelieve me this is in no way an advert, but MeMe Antenna has to be one of the nicest stores I’ve ever been in. It’s run by some very friendly, hip, young Japanese folks and the atmosphere was so relaxed and welcoming that I could have happily stayed there all day. Kev led me over to a small display cabinet in the corner of the shop that housed a tantalising selection of rare audio equipment. On the top shelf there was a Boss DD2 delay pedal and a rare Yamaha distortion pedal. I’ve been looking for a nice distortion pedal for my bass for some time now and I was instantly attracted to this one due to it’s simple rugged design. We asked how much – only $75 – with the current exchange rate that would be around £50. Not bad. I decided to run back to the apartment and pick up my bass so that we could try it out. Kev and I both had a shot through some headphones and it sounded great. An easy decision was reached, I bought it. The staff asked what band we were in and where we were playing so we gave them a CD, a flyer and said our goodbyes.

We were back out in the sunshine on Bedford Avenue and about to head in the direction of a guitar shop to buy some new cables when we bumped into Ziggy. When he heard about the shop with the vintage audio gear he demanded to see it. Less than 5 minutes after we’d last left and we were back in MeMe Antenna. The staff laughed really hard to see us again so soon. Kev had now been in the shop 4 times already. Kev and Zig eyed up the DD2 delay pedal. It’s rare apparently and they were strongly considering buying it. They asked to try it out – but of course they’d need to put some sound through it to make it work, so they selected an Amdek Drum Synth – just to test it. The assistant dutifully wired up the pedal, plugged in the headphones and handed them to Kev to have a shot. With one tap of the Amdek Drum Synth Kev was lost in a world of analogue. It was clear from that moment that we wouldn’t be leaving the shop without another purchase. For the next 20 minutes Kev, Ziggy and I indulged in what can only be described as ‘gratuitous synth bothering’. We were all clearly smitten with then Amdek Synth Drum and realised it’d be a great addition to our live setup. A credit card and $360 later, it was ours. We said our goodbyes once again to the staff and returned to the sunshine.

Time was ticking on and we had to get ready for the evening. Earlier in the day I’d checked my email and discovered another update from Peej informing me that our showcase had been previewed in Brooklyn Vegan: “There’s a good lineup at The Rose in Williamsburg which is usually a jazz club but tonight plays host to four electronic-leaning bands. The one I really want to see is FOUND who are an artist collective/band from Edinburgh, Scotland whose sound ranges from celtic to glitchy funk. They are a little odd, in a good way, and I hear are worth seeing live.” I’ve been told that Brooklyn Vegan is kind of a big deal and I write up on their blog can be a serious boost to your credibility. I was beginning to think that our showcase might actually be busy.

roseZiggy went back to Monika’s to get his guitar and Kev and I made our way along to The Rose to drop off our instruments before moving the rest of our stuff to my friend Adam’s place where we would be staying for the remainder of the trip. We arrived at The Rose slightly before the load in time we’d be given by CMJ. We walked in and probably looked a little lost. A man sat at the end of the bar asked if he could help, Kev replied ‘I think we’re playing here tonight’. Big mistake:

‘You THINK you’re playing here tonight? You THINK? You think or you know? Because I’m Carlo and this is my place and I like the bands who play here to KNOW that they’re playing here. You know? So which is it? You think, or you know? Think or know. Think. Or. Know?’

I replied that I knew we were playing at The Rose and I’d even made flyers – I handed one to Carlo to prove it. Another big mistake. He took a quick look at the paper flyer . . .

‘It’s not called THE Rose. It’s just Rose. But WHATEVER.’

He forcefully held his thumb over the word ‘THE’ for the rest of the interaction. He invited us to hang out in the bar until the sound man arrived but we decided we’d rather go across the road and get some food. As we left we could hear Carlo mutter something to the man behind the bar and they both burst out laughing. We felt very welcome. But we quickly settled down with a beer and burger at a great place called Lodge just along the street. Kev and I were both keeping our eyes peeled for Alan and Ziggy as we’d arranged to meet them at The Rose (sorry Rose) at 6 pm. We were both secretly hoping they’d go into Rose and encounter Carlo. Within moments I received a text from Ziggy: ‘WHERE U AT?’. I ran back along to Rose to meet him.

‘How you doing Zig?’

‘Alright but this guy in there just totally bust my balls for the past 10 minutes.’

‘Oh yeah, how come?’

‘I dunno, all I did was go in and say “I think I’m playing here tonight”‘ . . .

. . .

After we’d eaten Kev and I hurriedly dropped our bags at Adam’s place and made it back to Rose in time to see a bit of the first band Binary Marketing Show who were amazing – they’re a four piece psyche-electronica band who reminded me of Caribou but with more youthful energy. They’re really tight and we all throughly enjoyed their set. It’d be great to get them over to the UK some time.

Then it was us. There was the usual stress of these industry showcases. You have very little time to set up, no soundcheck and everything feels rushed. Alan’s got an uncanny habit of disappearing to the toilet right before we have to play and I always seem to be standing on stage peering out into the crowd hopelessly looking for our drummer.

rose#2
We played at tight 25 minute set. It went well and the audience seemed to dig it. As promised the Domino USA folks had come along and they made a point of telling Kev and Zig how much they’d enjoyed it and said they’d put us on the guest list to see their band Chief play the following evening.

Each of us mingled in the crowd afterwards, handing our CDs and chatting to friends and punters. Ziggy got chatting to this one chap called Nassir who’d read the Brooklyn Vegan write-up and had felt compelled to come and see us. Sadly he’d arrived too late and missed our entire set. Zig handed him a few CDs as a consolation. Nassir was heading home to LA the following date, so he bade him farewell and we went off to drink some at a dive bar further down the street known as Trash.

It was quite an uneventful evening for here on. We drank and listened to 90s rock at ear destroying volumes. Kev and I left with Adam at about 2 am.

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