Friday, August 25, 2006

Strawberry Shortcake, Boston, & NYC

I might just admit that this tour is really about cake from different regions rather than our band.
We did perform in Boston in a club with a similar feel to those located in Seattle's Pioneer Square, amongst sports fans and lovers of Aerosmith. Having the last slot is really underrated. I think it needs to be further underrated. We played at the Bulfinch Yacht Club, and the staff were quite nice. The bands who shared the bill with us were the Angelica Bombs, 1986 UK, and Fairmont. Playing shows involves a LOT of waiting around, so Rob and I have our trusty backgammon set. The problem is he accuses yours truly of cheating, while he is meanwhile moving his trusty chip 6 rather than 5. He contests this, naturally.

That night we drove onward to Rob's cousin's wedding in Vermont, and camped for a couple of days at Jamaica State park. The wedding was full of booze and love (they go so well together!) and we had a great time. slopes, but I wouldn't want to set up a permanent residence. I need a little trash in my landscape, a little dirt in my coffee. We went to the coop in Brattleboro, a nice place with tons of great sandwiches for the vegans. Kicking off the theme of uptight coops, one particular employee told us that because we purchased our sandwiches at the front register, we couldn't backtrack and eat in their seating area - we had to have purchased them there. I say, Vermont is infused with fresh air and hilly greenCan't we show them our receipt?!
To which she replies, importantly, NO, won't do, sorry, it's the rule. We go out the door and proceed to head right back to the seating area and hang out there anyway. What courage we displayed that day!

After Jamaica we headed to NYC which made me a little nervous due to never having driven with a 15 passenger shuttle van in Manhattan. We (Rob) pulled it fact, I saw a new Rob in this city. Gone was his normal careful and methodical driving style, and born was Rob the NY taxi. I couldn't believe the moves he was making with our van. Swerving in and out of traffic, cutting people off, not blinking a large eye at cars darting in front of us. Then the problem became where to find gas in the city since we were almost out and there didn't appear to be public parking. Chinatown was complete with gas ($3.20/gallon) so we put a little in to make sure we didn't stall on the Manhattan bridge or something.

In any case, we found our way to Bluestockings, a great activist bookstore/cafe in the lower East side of the city, and discovered they did not in fact have much food. Luckily, a vegan restaurant was next door and we ate there. On what we are now calling vegan row, we found Moo Shoes down from there and checked out the store we'd always heard about. Back to Bluestockings, which was now packed with about 60 people, and no extra seats, waiting to hear who we did not know. Since it seemed like a popular event we held on and stayed, somehow ending up in the front row when seats were added. Introducing the speaker was Calvin Johnson, who you know from his solo stuff and Dinosaur Jr. The speaker was in several punk bands througout the years and on Dischord Records (fugazi's label). He presented his new book, the Psychic Soviet, I believe, with much playing of the USSR's former theme music, if you will, upon a childrens' record player.

Onward to my cousin's home which we finally found in a nice brooklyn neighborhood with plenty of Italian families. We explored NYC in the next couple of days, treating ourselves to both Peanut Butter cake at the Atlas Cafe (3 stars out of 6) and Strawberry Shortcake with fluffy white frosting at Teany (Moby's Cafe) made by Vegan Treats I believe (6 stars, pic to come soon). NYC folks are very friendly and more ready than mapquest to give you good directions when lost. As a new band, however, do not expect to make any money, including sympathy money, playing the town. At the place we performed, each band must draw 10 people for their act in particular before making any % of the door. Sounds like a low number, but when you are unknown it is insurmountable. Again band order is critical, and we played right after the local act The Ordinary, who had drawn about 40 people, but these people were not going to stick around on a Tuesday night to see a band they didn't know. We also shared the bill with The UnTied States, a great band out of Atlanta who will be playing our favorite pub Joe and Jo's soon, so check them out. Nice fellas and interesting music, changes, etc.

Though the crowd was minimal, the sound at the Trash Bar was excellent, and the club is located steps away from one of the best lil' vegan fast food places, Food Swings. I had the "fish" sticks, and Rob had some sort of meatball parmewhatever sub thing. Quite good. The butterscotch soymilkshake was crazy thick and tasty, perfect after a hot day and before a show.

Before leaving NY, we went up to the ParkSlope area and explored the neighborhood. We were happy to find a "Food Coop" on Union because we wanted to buy a rice dream chocolate rice-cream bar. We walked in, but did not get far before accosted by the coop staff. "Hey! Wait a minute! You have to be members to shop here." We explained,
We're from out of town but are a member of a coop in Seattle.
That doesn't matter, they explain. You have to be a member of this one. We explain that normally coops recognize each other in other parts of the country, as part of their being COOPS and then they cut us off saying, "must be nice to be in Seattle. I'll have to go there." Not listening to us saying that it isn't just Seattle, this is a nationwide thing, they offer us literature on why they won't let us shop there and send us on our way. Luckily, we found a less militaristic "coop" down the road, where we made our purchases and left. We also found a great bookstore and bought a few used books.

We moved along to Syracuse, where we'll be playing at the Empty Cup tonight and the Veg Fest the day after tomorrow at 3 pm. My time on this computer is running out, so over and out for now,

=mz binge


Sven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sven said...

I've always felt like the central reason I go on trips, when it comes right down to it, is to eat. Sounds like a good reason to tour as well. Love the friendly staff you encountered at the UNCOOP; so much for those ideals.

Sven (toujours mangeant a Montreal)

Anonymous said...

I'll have to visit that coop when I'm in NY this week. Maybe the Seattle line will work the 2nd time. Where was it again?