Sunday, June 21, 2009

tee pee gig, yo

I played a house show in Salem last night with The Underlings, Phantom! And The Shy Seasons. (Here is Ed Cole's take on the night, as well.) It was funky group house with graffiti on the walls, no interior doorknob on the front door, and chunks of foam and other assorted scraps sorts of bungied over a window opening. Alex, one of the residents, fried up veggie sausage while I played my set in the kitchen nook, mostly newer songs and some older almost-discarded ones that haven’t made their way into rock band sets in the last two years. I’m glad “hey hey librarian” has seen the light of day. I think it is a hit. If I quit playing acoustic sets I start to feel like I have mittons on when I pick it back up. Do a few and I feel more like I have gloves on.

The Underlings were fantastic, better every time. Tight, but relaxed and having fun. Great to see some Salem people getting into that. Phantom! was a local band and they kicked major ass, something like Mudhoney crossed with the Vines at hyperspeed with hyper psychic brotherly togetherness. I saw them group hugging right before they rolled out. They royally killed it and people were going nuts. It’s not something you see often, not enough. It’s the mushroom analogy again. Bands are like mushrooms, they appear when tenuous factors converge. Blink and you will walk by. Go looking for them and they’re hard to find. It has to be something you get inside, sort of, like walking in the same woods on a regular basis. The walls were sweating and the guitar player came close to knocking himself out on an I-beam multiple times, jumping around. The only time you could see the band clearly was when flash bulbs were going off. The Shy Seasons had a tough slot going after them--they are a more contemporary rock band, really good too, with cool textures coming from keys and well-played guitar effects. A band in the Radiohead lineage. A year from now that house may be razed. Hopefully bathroom will have been cleaned at least once if it’s still standing.

Also, there was teepee in back. This was my first tee pee gig ever, the fires within tended by an energetic young guy in a full buckskin suit. I heard some bongo sounds and an upright bass (tall tee pee). It made me think of Ken Kesey. Eugene has formalized quirkiness in a kind of dull way, but Salem is erupting with funky stuff, great bands, kooky flow. I took lots of pictures and some movies on my camera and hopefully they’ll turn out. Thanks to Ches’ke (of Salem instrumental duo The Insects, for hooking up the show.)

Tom and Lisa Nunes helped make the whole thing happen by loaning all four bands a mic, a cable, and stand, for use with an old bass cab that was serving as a p.a. Emergency gear bail, thank you Les Nunes. I kept my eye on the stuff and made sure it didn’t end up in the 5 gallon tempeh chili pot, nice to see them and talk a little bit at 11:30 before they went to bed. They’re working on a new record with a full-time drummer and Tom is staying busy recording bands.

Classic rock radio was in a sweet groove out of Albany while I drove home swigging a Blue Amp. 106.3 is a pretty good classic rock station. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” segued into “Song is Over,” “Tender is the Night,” and “Cut My Hair.” I was wired for quite a while and read my book when I got home. Watched two episodes of Saving Grace before hauling myself out of bed to get constructive in some way or another. Typically, an hour or so of TV in bed helps me fire full-tilt into serious putzing and chore stalking. (Joe Rudi the GMC is vacuumed, no cool ranch corn nuts under the seats.)
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