NYC - I give up. I don't say that often. But I'm saying it. Between the no smoking in bars and the inability of booking people to set up a night that flows, the music scene in NYC, well, sucks. It just does. Is it the economy? Is there just too much to do in NYC? There's always been too much to do in NYC, but once upon a time, there was a thriving live music scene here. Ok... so why do I give up on the Big Apple? Well, we played Le Bar Bat on October 2nd. The group before us was a cool big band playing jazz. But they played up until the time we were supposed to start and the sound guy didn't stop them. So the sound guy rushed US (as if it were our fault). We didn't even get to say "checking, one, two" on the mics. Literally 30 seconds to acclimate to the stage. And then, we didn't even get to play our entire set. The cover charge was 10 bucks. Marco ordered a coke at the bar. It cost FOUR DOLLARS. For a coke! So I'm thinking if I just paid 10 bucks to get into a place to see a band, the sound better be good. It was not. I was told by a fan that he could not hear the vocals at all. Plus, I had a cold. I was sick. I'm complaining. There's no one to blame. But it just doesn't make any sense to me. The band after us were good at what they do - but COMPLETELY different style of music. So I'm thinking I paid 10 bucks to hear a band I like. The sound sucks and it's 4 bucks for a coke. So I want to get my money's worth - $14. I should at least get 2 hours out of $14. That's a movie AND a tub of popcorn AND a coke! But NooOOoOOOoOOOO... the sound is awful. I can't enjoy the music. There's no consistency to the night. The next band is not my cup of tea. I'm outta here. Logical. But what do NYC venues do? BLAME THE BANDS FOR THEIR FAILURE. I just don't get it. Maybe the smoking ban isn't a bad thing. Many non-smokers whom I've spoken to say they love it! I guess it was just a bad night. Sorry for complaining!! The rest of this DEAR SURFER is of a different tone, I promise....
On the 4th, we did our first LIGHT THE NIGHT walk of 2004. What a treat! And I'm not just talking about the great sound system (our own sound system, by the way, with yours truly doing sound!) The people, the vibe, just fantastic. This was Amy's 3rd gig with us and she was fabulous, although she had a "new girl" snafu that day. We rehearsed the night before, so I let her borrow my car (a/k/a "ET", a/k/a "my primer coat gray hooptie made in '85") to get home. She lives in Astoria right by the Triboro bridge and she got home with no problem, but coming back the next day, well, let's just say she was a little late! But it was all good. Except the weather. Rainy, windy, miserable. We had a nice stage on which to perform, though, and the walkers seemed to appreciate our presence. In fact, we gave out quite a few promo CD's and made some new fans. So, like I said, it was a treat!
The following weekend, we did Light the Night Walks on the 11th and 12th. Camari drove in from Columbus and Sheila drove in from Buffalo with a friend and everyone stayed at my house. Lots of driving. The 11th was interesting. No stage and not enough light. In the middle of "Safe to Fight", the generator ran out of gas. It took a few minutes to get a refill, and shortly after, someone knocked the extension chord out of the generator. Obstacle filled, for sure, but we did our best! The 12th was a blast. It rained in the morning, and it wasn't looking good weather-wise. But it worked out for the walkers, we played, we had a great time, we had fans present who requested "sweet sugar honey" and "Jerking My Chains" and sang along (which always feels good); and afterwards, Sheila, her friend Chris, and Camari got in their cars and made their 7 and 9 hour trips back home and straight to work the following morning. I'm not so good at tooting my own horn, but I do believe we're one of the hardest working bands around!
The 18th, we had 2 shows. The first was the LIGHT THE NIGHT walk in Jersey City. Always fun to play home base, and convenient! A little chilly outside and no stage this year, but still a good time and an excellent turnout of walkers. After the walk, we had a gig in NYC - Original Sessions put on by the Love Sexy people. This time, it was held at a place called Limerick on 23rd St. Thanks to Amy's peeps, to Denise and to Michael for coming out and supporting.
I sat in with the Dana Shellmire Band from Boston on the 25th at Le Bar Bat. Thanks to Leon & Kirstin and Howard and Marco for coming out. It was ok... the sound wasn't good, the room was absolutely freezing cold (as Howard said, "It costs money to turn on heat".) I heard Le Bar Bat is closing on Jan 1st. Pity.
Finally, this month, tons of people have asked me when we're playing next. And we have nothing booked right now until January, and that will be in Pennsylvania. So I don't know when we're playing next in the NY metro area. We're working on it! I'm trying to get us a booking in Hoboken and I'm also working on Desmond's. That's it for this month.
Remarks? Comments? Please put 'em in our guestbook
Letters from the past:September, 2003
August, 2000 (from Marco)