Sometimes you go see a band that you like and you leave the show wondering if you’ll ever be able to listen to their albums again. I have to give Say Hi To Your Mom a little credit, because Ace of Clubs has some really shitty sound. But I was not exactly blown away by their performance. However, it turned out to be worth it in the end because it was there that I heard about a mythical performance at a bbq in wburg by none other than John Vanderslice. I have been sucking on the Pixel Revolt crack pipe ever since it arrived from deep discount.
Anyway, we left Ace of Clubs and figured we might as well head over to Mercury Lounge and see what the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah situation was…there was a huge line. But, it was pretty early so we decided to wait and see what happens. It was a vaguely entertaining wait, highlighted by some schmuck from Pitchfork screaming down his phone about how he's not on the list, and "I'm from PITCHFORK MEDIA", then finally getting the person he needed, actually saying, "ladies! come with me" only to return with said ladies 45 seconds later and explain that he's not the hot shot he thought he was, and James Iha. Cut to 2.5 hours later. I am whining up a storm, because I am tired of standing and CYHSY have already started. But we are at the front of the line. If two more people leave, we can go in. We manage to get inside in the middle of their third song. Certainly worth the wait, but the crowd didn’t seem to have much energy. Ambulance, Ltd. came on later and we stuck around for it. I’m not totally sold on these guys, they seem to really want to be the Rolling Stones. The bassist makes a good face, though, he looks like he’s gargling. Anyway, they totally won me over with a spot on, super loud rendition of Neil Young’s “Everybody Knows this Is Nowhere” (la, la, la, lala laaa laaaa).
The next day I brunched at Schiller’s Liquor Bar for the first, but certainly not the last, time. Although I discovered that I do not like Welsh Rarebit, those dudes make a wicked good cuppa. And the space is the kind of place you want to sit in for about 4 hours or so and just zone out. I love zoning out.
We walked up to the High Line block party, which was pretty OK. They were out of t-shirts, so I didn’t give them any money. But we got free Smart Water (although I had to listen to 5 minutes of drivel about why smart water is so much better than toilet water), and Izzes (clementine flavor!!), so that was cool. I walked over to Union Square and hopped on to the L.
It is a testament to how much I Love John Vanderslice that I went not one, not two, but three stops into Williamsburg to see him. He was literally playing in someone’s backyard. I got there just as Eric was finishing up his last song, and JV came on about 15 minutes later. We were both wearing ringers!
He played a great deal of Pixel Revolt and finished with an audience participation version of Time Travel Is Lonely. I really wasn’t sure how everything would translate to just JV and an acoustic guitar -- I have never worried so frivolously. I had shivers up my spine and my skin felt electrified through most of the show. Standouts (although everything was great) were “Dear Sarah Shu” (which may be the best song ever) and “trance manual”. JV was very entertaining between songs, as well. There was some discussion of a moth flying into a friend’s mouth and the friend’s lack of willingness to admit something had actually happened. Apparently he just swallowed it and kept on singing. It reminded me of the Radiohead show in Montreal last year--no, shit, that was two years ago--when Thom was surrounded by flies and moths because of the lights and he said there were flies all in his teeth. JV urged us to buy Pixel Revolt from him because he was tired of carrying them around, I almost bought another one to help the brother out. He showed us his new tuner, and promised us all that the party would not stop when he finished playing. No, there would be a dance party. A dance party with R. Kelly. Anyway, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it was perfect. I was standing about 20 feet away and all the people in front of me were sitting, so I had an unadulterated view, and the weather was beautiful.
I took the G train home and was lucky enough to witness the following:
As we arrive at smith/9th, a couple (teenagers?) were playing in the last carriage. He was outside the door, she was still on the train. She was shrieking and laughing and he was confused. Eventually, they closed all the doors, which she seemed to know was coming. But then as the conductor started walking the length of the train to look for people, she started frantically banging on the door. When he reached her, he went on a rampage: “What the hell you doing playing around? You’re going to Church Avenue.” He was very unhappy, and I was kind of pleased to see this chick get hers, she was clearly a pain in the ass. Then he turns to the boyfriend and says something to him about why the hell is she still on the train and then asks, earnestly, “Is she retarded? Is she? Is. She. Retarded?” It was brilliant. Finally, he let her out and she (proving that something is definitely off somewhere) starts accusing her boyfriend of pushing her into the train, which he clearly had not done. So that was amusing.
With barely any energy left, I hauled my ass back into the city later that night for Walking Concert, who put on a pretty lively show. I feel sorry for any band I see right after I’ve just seen JV rock the backyard. It’s unfair, but true.