Many mark their summers by days at the beach or tan lines. This summer I seem to be collecting festival days, which are typically on weekends, thus my weeks are filled with work while my weekends are filled with well…more work. Thankfully, I will argue, I have one of the best jobs in the world if you happen to live and breathe music, so punching the clock on an 80 hour work week suits me just fine.
To give you an idea here are my notes on a typical weekend:
Wed: 8/1/07: Received call from Guitar Hero. They are in for tomorrow night’s party. Not a lot of time to pull this off, but can’t wait to see the PASTE crew battle for guitar supremacy. Rumors are already flying around as to who might play. There’s a plan to surfing with G. Love in the morning before the flight if we can get up early enough.
Thurs: 8/2/07 Did not get up early enough, spent to much time trying to learn Kiss’ “I Wanna Rock and Roll all Night” on Guitar Hero which I had never played before. I chose this song because it is always stuck in my head thanks to my tunes toothbrush which plays it through my skull, literally.
Barely make 10:30 flight. Flying these days is worse than going to the dentist or D.M.V. You figure with all the advances in the human race they’d figure out how to make the experience of flying bearable. I have no fear of the actual flying part; it’s all the other inefficiencies that permeate every aspect of this bastion of incompetence and buffoonery that scares me. Scares me because I might go all Courtney Love on some one wearing a plastic pair of wings and fake epaulets the next time I’m stuck on the tarmac for 5 hours.
I am a mountain and ocean kinda guy so Chicago has always puzzled me. I call the one person I know who lives here, an old high school roommate, from the cab from the airport and asked him where I should go and what I should do.
“Hmmm let’s see you could check out the shops downtown, great shopping”
“Or, you could eat a sausage and people watch at the lake.”
Listen friend, there’s a hundred degrees of hot air and humidity crushing my soul, there’s nary a zephyr to be found anywhere in the “Windy City”, and the overdose of Aftra masking the various odors emanating from Jabba the Hut of seat 5B is still singeing my nose hairs. I’m only in town for one night so put on your thinking cap Mr. I Heart Chicago and tell me what to do with the three hours I have to kill before I start go host a party in a dark bar until the wee hours of the morning
“Well, we there’s a bar on every corner.”
Great, thanks, see you at the 20th reunion.
Make it to Subterraneans, great venue, lots of history; someone says it was an old whorehouse, so it’s gpt that going for it. The highlight is the funky horseshoe balcony. It made me really wish the Polyphonic Spree would come in and do an acapella version of “Loving Cup”. Oh, one can dream.
Set up the Guitar Hero on the main stage while Matt Hebert of Haunt sound checks; we both ended up playing Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”, although he is actually playing it while I’m merely fumbling and bumbling on a piece of plastic.
Haunt’s opening set is fantastic. I heard his name a few times from my music freak friends, and of course the recent PASTE sampler, but it’s good to know that we aren’t the only ones who dig him as he won the slot by kicking ass with the thousands of people on OurStage.com. He’s a sweeter version of Richard Buckner and deserves every bit of success. Check him out at: Haunt
He’s followed up by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah front man Alec Ounsworth who after a few piercing acoustic gems brings out Elvis Perkins who he ran into at dinner asked to come by and play a few tunes. In typical Paste Party style the looseness of the evening is the true highlight, and underscores the point that the best music is always unplanned. The two swap guitars and Alec brings out the harmonica as the two weave and bob around each other’s tunes.
The night continues with another gob iron player, G. Love who, coincidentally, was a few years ahead of Ounsworth at the same Philly area elementary school (which also produced Eric Brazillian of The Hooters who also wrote Joan Osbourne’s big hit “What if God Were One of Us”, so stick that in your trivia pie) .
In typical free flow fashion G. Love brought the good time hop and holler to the night. Seeing him solo with just his guitar, harp, and a folding chair, it’s amazing how much of a pure entertainer and showman one needs to be in able to get a room bopping the way he always does. People take G. Love for granted, because he’s so consistently fun, and I mean fun in the decadent, smile infested, wink and nod, bust your ass and get the girl in the end kinda way. As I’ve said before, he’s the sound of summer, pure and poetic.
Check out the new PASTE podcast to hear an interview we taped as soon as he walked of stage.
Walk out of the bar at
with my trusty musical sidekick, Toad. We go off in search of food. Sparing the adventure aspect, suffice it to say we find food and beverage. So much so, that we end up a bit “discombobulated” and take a cab a whole block and half to the hotel around
. Ignore Toad’s advice to stay in the cab and go straight to the airport for my
flight. Instead I go to the room for a quick “rest”. The result being I tip another cabbie $20 bucks on a $35 dollar fare for passing cars in the LEFT hand breakdown lane doing 80 mph in morning rush hour traffic and making the forty minute airport run trip in twenty five minutes all while BLASTING Fema Kuti. Needless to say I find something great about Chicago, Cabbies.
Land in Boston and drive to the Newport Folk Festival.