Monday 20-Mar-2006

Survived Irish Hell Weekend with no more damage than a cold picked up from some bandmate, and a bit of sore neck (as in re-developing a violin hickey):

Thursday night St. Pat's Eve @ The Grand Canal, Boston: After fortuitously finding a legal space on Canal St. even though there was a Bruins game on, I was amused walking into this Irish pub b/c I realized it was the same space where Joann, David (flaming ex-roommate) and I used to go for Sunday brunch when it was a gay club. Customers were 20s-ish, many there to watch an NCAA basketball game. Lots of punk-slamming dancing from several guys. The band had managed to talk Amy (one of our two uber-fans to whom Pete now pays gas $ to come up from Onset to other shows so that they will dance and encourage others to) into being the designated driver for the road trip to Sugarloaf, so after the show they loaded up the rented u-haul and borrowed passenger van and she drove them up @ 2am. I happily went home to bed, since I had no reason (not being a skier) to arrive until show time.

Friday St. Pat's: Got up around 9, finished packing, and left ~11am. About 5 hours to drive to Sugarloaf (it's up nearish the Canadian border) what with pit stops and intermittent speed zones in rural wide spots in the road. Found the apt. they gave us, in Stratton about 7 miles from the resort - the guys were there nursing various bumps from skiing (fortunately none that impeded playing instruments). The club was quite decent: I managed to find something edible amongst the bar food (mushroom ravioli with cream sauce); the sound guy and his gear were both very professional (he's there all season, so everything was set up well) - stacks of speakers, mucho monitors, very willing to work on getting the mix right and adjusting during the show. The crowd was a mixture of 20-somethings and older, quite ready to dance. The "Bud Light (music sponsor) Girls" had incredibly short plaid micro skirts (they were giving out shamrock beads, like Mardi Gras). I got a room and bottom bunk with no roommate in the apt. - showered @ 2am after the show to avoid any morning rush, since the guys took their time coming back - something about bartering band tank-tops for the bar girls on return for getting their bar tab halved.

Saturday: Got up ~6:45am, as we had to get to the resort by 8:15am to appear on cable TV to promo the day's shows. It was a small basement room, but we managed to crowd in and play three songs (which made the producer happy, as the Violent Femmes - who were also playing another resort room that night - were due on after us but refused to play anything). I learned that I'm capable of looking cheerful at that hour, and not too fat on TV, but my hairdresser was not in a good mood during this last cut. Talked the engineer into making a vhs copy of the show for us.

Went back to the apt. and slept for a couple more hours (even after a double latte from the resort coffee bar), then did an apres ski show 3:30-5:30pm. Pete managed to be creative with some songs since there were little kids in the lounge ("Hey you mother-f**kers" became "Hey you, everybody") - learned that while people think our music is danceable they can't really do it in ski boots.

Ate more mushroom ravioli, watched the repeat of our TV appearance on the bar TV, decided I was having an allergic reaction to the band apt (it was dirty and overheated) so stayed in the lounge loft reading until time for the 9:30pm show. We were all feeling rather worn by this time, and the first set was hard b/c most potential customers were at the Violent Femmes show. But people started coming in about half thru the 1st set, and the place was hopping when we started the 2nd set, so we were re-energized. A middle-aged guy thought my fiddle style was influenced by Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders. There was much craziness as the Bud Light Girls gave away a set of skis to the person who managed to accumulate the most beads. By 12:30am the band had once again drained a club's Guinness taps. The booker wants us back next year.

Sunday: Up again ~6:30am, packed and left by 7:30am for the 6-hour drive to Holyoke MA, as the contract said load-in @ 2pm. The guys and van left about an hour later. I arrived in Holyoke just before 2pm, then spent nearly an hour trying to find a way to get to the bar, b/c the city parade's route bisected the city, ramps off I-91 were closed, and I was on the wrong side of the route. Finally got a cop to direct me around the back way. It didn't really matter since the bar didn't even open until 3pm! It was a big, though rather scruffy, place, with a restaurant on one side. People started filtering in from the parade almost immediately. The wife of the bar owner came in between sets and asked if we were going to play "The Unicorn Song", etc. so we weren't sure we were the type of "Celtic" band they wanted. But again they loved us, and want us back sometime, not necessarily St. Pat's. Pete felt I wasn't loud enough there (using our amps and our PA for vocals), but I maintain he's going deaf and everything is too loud. I did crank my amp for the last set, to the point where I could not stand in front of it even with 20dB earplugs - I can't be doing that, so if he wants more they are going to have to figure out decent eq'ing of me through the PA. Left ~8:30pm, got home ~10:30pm, unloaded J's Subaru which I'd used for the trip, and crashed.


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