NYC: Wednesday – Rockwood Music Hall

Kev fists a wall monkey

We’d arranged to meet the rest of the gang in Williamsburg for breakfast but me and Al were pretty peckish when we woke so we ate the Whole Foods leftovers from the day before (fried egg in a croissant – it’s not been a health food trip). Then we hopped on the Metro for a short ride over the Williamsburg bridge to Marcy Avenue where we met Kev and Ziggy.

Zig had hung out in this neighbourhood quite a lot last summer when he was over at the Omi music residency, so he lead us to an amazing little place called Egg for a second breakfast. Their menus are online, read them and salivate. I could eat there every day. Alan had the Country Ham Biscuit, Kev the Grafton Cheddar Omelet, Ziggy the Eggs Rothko and I had a bowl of granola and yogurt. I know. I was trying to be healthy. What was I thinking? I sat and looked at everyone with a bad case of breakfast envy. Soon Shea’la, Gav and his friend Davie joined us and we all chowed down.

After breakfast we split up. Gav and Davie went off to check out a friend’s recording studio, reputed to be full of classic analogue gear and old skool drum machines. The rest of us went on a tour of Williamsburg’s best thrift stores and second hand shops including Buffalo Exchange and Beacon’s Closet. Buffalo Exchange is a chain of second hand clothes stores with shops right across the US. It had some nice stuff, but not particularly exciting. Beacon’s on the other hand was intimidatingly large, and full of amazing clothes from the last 50 years. It would be easy to spend a long time and a lot of money there. Unfortunately for us we had neither but I did pick up a few choice items for gifts. Alan peeled off on his own at this point to go check out the sites in Manhattan.

After all that shopping it was time for a drink. We found this great little rock bar on Bedford Avenue called The Charleston who had a happy hour deal offering a free 12″ pizza with every drink. How could we refuse? We drank a pint of Brooklyn Lager and ate cheese and tomato pizza all for only $4. The pizza was freshly made with a rustic hand thrown base. $4. My kind of place. Shea’la had to take off and drive for two and a half hours back to Providence but our gig wasn’t till 1 am so me, Kev and Zig decided there was nothing else to do but drink (it was about 5 pm).

After a sloppy game of pool we went over to Monkia’s place (where Kev and Zig were staying) and drank beers for a few hours. Like much of Brooklyn, the apartment block is a converted warehouse and has a roof garden with incredible 360 views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens – from up there you really feel like you’re in the city. We’d made a vague plan to walk over to Williamsburg bridge to see the lights of Manhattan turning on at dusk, but we abandoned this after around the third bottle. We opted for the train instead and went to meet a bunch of folk in a small Italian restaurant, Frankies, where Monkia works.

Then on to the Rockwood Music Hall. The name of the place conjures up a spacious, prestigious old building, but in fact it’s tiny and would look packed with around 50 people. Fortunately for our set, we only had 20. Monika‘s band played first to a busy room of around 40 people – and were great – a four piece with trombone through fx pedals, upright bass, drums and Monika on electric bass and vocals. They played a kind of off-beat jazz pop with hints of Björk in the vocal melodies. It was their first gig together but you wouldn’t have known it and they gave a confident performance.

Then half the bar kindly emptied out for us. You can’t blame them, it was after 1 am on a Wednesday night. Despite the alcohol we played the tightest set of our US tour. The banter with the crowd was hilarious particularly the man who slept all way through the set. I don’t know how he managed it, as he was right beside Alan who positively batters the drums. Payment for the bands is by a donation in a hat passed round during the set. We earned a respectable $50 which we drank after the show.

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