I'd pretty much resigned myself to summer with the paint cans and yard equipment, just me and the other cases hunkered down in the garage. The best part is hanging with the old sheetrock and other debris - they know they're on the way to the dump so that shit parties like there's no tomorrow. Yeah, it's alright out here. But I heard a rumor that there was a show or two coming up. Word on the cement floor was the kids were going "stripped down", leaving some of the equipment behind. That figures, I thought - Archery Bag gets a day out while me, being way down on the B or C list, second string, waits it out here but hey that's cool.
Well it turns out it's me they want. See I'm a Utility Bag, which means I'm adaptable. So next thing I know we're headed down to Hoboken, to one of the final shows at this old club these two have played at off and on for many years, separately and then together. Hell, it sounds like they even almost hooked up at this place about seven or eight years ago at a Yo La Tengo Hanukkah show, whatever that is, where one of her old bands reunited and he was a special surprise guest. Then they did get together and the rest is history or at least a footnote in a Wikipedia entry. The place apparently has been responsible for dozens of love connections, along with many happy memories of this show and that blah blah blah - I'm just glad to be out on the road again.
There was big excitement in the van because they were opening for Ian Hunter and his band and this had them both in a state. I remembered on my first tour, it must've been a few years back, Amy & Eric met up with him in a radio station and couldn't stop talking about the guy. Seems he's a big hero, so sentimental issues aside the thought of seeing him play in a proper small rock club had them buzzing.
I don't want to bore you with talk about the weather but let me tell you, it was hot. The lady half believes part of the mysterious charm of "Maxwell's" had to do with a) the lack of mirrors in the restrooms and b) the ungodly heat in the basement dressing room. The great leveler - primping an impossibility and no performer could ever look better than the audience in this joint.
Then the sound, awful onstage but magic for the people out front. It's a matter of trust - the whole place, audience and band and the always decent soundman, pulling together. The club owners, Todd and Steve and any others whose names remain a little more obscure, treating everybody straight up for decades.
But again, that heat. I was worried after soundcheck when Mitch the soundguy was helping bring the cases down to that graffitied inferno downstairs. I kept real still near Ian's piano...
And voila! I was ringside for the entire show. I haven't enjoyed myself so much since...since Winnipeg at least. I hear there's another show with Mr. Hunter coming up this week. Hope I get the call again for that one. If not, I don't know - I think I saw Ian giving me an approving glance as I stood calmly yet ably by onstage. Wishing I'd had cards made up - ah well, it's in the hands of the gods now.
A nice guy filmed this from just on the other side of the monitors