Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What time does Daft Punk go on?

Man, what a big 'ol pack of dildos the weather has been lately. It finally broke, and not a moment to soon, in time for our island show in Toronto. Last year they held The Virgin Fest at the same spot. It blew not unlike the wind. There was all manner of debacles surrounding the ferries taking us to and from the island, and at the last minute the water levels were so low that trucks on boats were entirely ruled out. I remember a good many things breaking and I have vague images of a number of us piling onto a water taxi in the middle of the night dragging cables, lights and whatever else got left behind. This time around was pretty much a breeze.

I still had pangs of separation anxiety from leaving my sleep number bed behind in Montreal. I could lie on that thing for weeks just cranking it up to 99 then back down to 4 then back to 99. It feels like you are floating in the ocean.

After a few hours in the baking sun I navigated the golf cart across the island to the ferry to the van back to the bus. A three hour tour my ass. The buses were parked up behind a club called the docks, which is one of the worst places on the face of the earth. The last time I did a show there I had an unrelenting cold and had to nap for most of the afternoon. I woke up about six minutes before the band was due onstage and had to run through the crowd to make it in time. At the end of the night I also watched someone (presumably someone who is no longer alive as he tended towards daredevilship in most if not all aspects of his life) cut through the neutral leg of a 400 amp power service with a pair of garden shears. I know that sort of sounds like 'blah blah blah blah garden shears,' but just imagine licking a wall outlet, then multiply that by 1,000. All of that aside, I still cringe when I see the docks. The single upside is that there is a really excellent Japanese grocery store across the street that sells dim sum and all kinds of foreign awesomeness. I got some powdered Pocari Sweat. It's delicious and gatorade esque. I guess it never caught on in the states because it has 'sweat' in the title, which is just unappetizing. That, and when properly mixed it pretty closely resembles a large glass of ejaculate.

And I caught up on the latest Engrish. The Japanese r to l blunders are a good laugh from time to time, but nothing tops a flowery, paragraph-long rambling clutter of nonsense that just makes you feel tired trying to figure it out. It amazes me, really. I don't think I've ever had the confidence to really just go for it in a language that I have no experience with.

It was baking hot in the city.

And pretty lush out on the island.

The show went really well in spite of the evening humidity and near-biblical swarms of insects that were attracted by the lights on stage. It's a curious thing to watch a band play, and be able to tell with absolute certainty, from fifty feet out, when one or more of them has just swallowed a bug. Our exit from the island was pretty epic. We strolled into a waiting black SUV which blew through the exiting crowd, and dropped us at a nondescript dock on the island. We hopped on a little boat and tore across the harbor, then onto the bus and straight out of the country.

We were off to Maryland for a day off. Nick and I went to see The Strangers at the mall. It seems like I've spent the better part of the last two weeks in malls and parking lots. I have had better days off. I bought a pair of shorts since Maryland in the summertime is pretty close to Saigon or maybe Calcutta. I also ate dinner at P.F. Chang's. I don't really want to talk about it. It's all fun and games until your realize that you've taken the joke too far, and are actually eating shitty Chinese food in a mall parking lot. The show was at some run down old theatre that seemed to be on its last legs. I was surprised to learn that Frank Gerhy put his stamp on this one. It must have been well before his titanium period, and lifetimes before he was building things that cost $500 million. I'd estimate that this theatre could have been thrown together in a weekend with about $200 of lumber and green tarps.

It looked nice in the dark though. I got to see a few pals, which will always turn the tide of a difficult day. I hadn't seen Becca in about a year. She is half Mexican, and her email address is something about a 50 percent fiesta. She is good people.

We were off to Brooklyn that night for a show at McCarren pool. When I lived in Greenpoint I was always really drawn to the old, vacant pool. I found some old photos a while back of the pool on the 1930's. It was bursting with people on a hot day, all decked out in funny little trunks and bathing caps. When they re-opened the pool for concerts a few years back I saw a few things there, Low and Iron and Wine, I think. Needless to say I had been looking forward to this one.

I braved the heat, which is just as unpleasant and unrelenting in New York as the frigid winters, and walked through my old neighborhood. Everything was intact, and very much the same. The old brownstone that Lexi and I lived in on Kent Street hadn't changed a bit.

I walked around and sweat through a few changes of clothing before putting on shorts and tracking down a pair of flip-flops. Sometimes it's nice to be back. Brooklyn in the summertime, and in small doses is alright by me.

The show was a bit of a snowballing disaster of chaotic goodness.

There had been lots of banter about thunderstorms, mostly because it has rained at least once every single day of the tour. Sometimes twice, and sometimes nonstop for hours upon hours until the streets flood with the tears of let down fans. Just kidding, it's mostly rain. So, 3/4's of the way through the show the wind picked up and absolutely out of nowhere the skies opened and, like turning on a faucet, dumped cold hellish rain down on us.

The place cleared out instantly as the wind picked up and the lightning got visibly closer.

My good friend Blasco, who had come out to see me, looked not unlike a drowned rat after being caught up in the downpour. There is nothing more unsettling that a wet, grumpy Frenchman. He stuck it out like a champ, though, and helped me pack up a bit before we wandered out to a bar to dry out and tie one on.

Bus call was at 4 AM, so I decided to ride into the city and see some old friends.

Matt and I hung out at a bar for a bit and caught up. Actually we basically just laughed for about an hour about the time he photoshopped James' head onto the body of one of those adult babies. It was really one of those amazing moments where everything is just right, the planets align, and you happen to find a picture of a chubby guy who already looks exactly like a large baby( and who you in fact call 'big baby' behind his back), and paste it onto a photo of a full grown man wearing a diaper in a crib. Amazing. Then we walked over to my friend Ryan's house who I haven't seen in ages. I could only describe that encounter as pretty similar to the scene in Boogie nights in Alfred Molina's house when he's been up for three days doing cocaine and listening to Sister Christian, and just when you think it's gotten pretty strange a half-naked Asian boy wanders out of the kitchen with a handful of lit fireworks. Yeah, it was pretty much exactly like that. He played video games on one of his six foot-high televisions, and really only vaguely acknowledged me when his bastard dog nearly took my arm off.

I'm taking it easy in Philly today. I plan on letting my rainy, sweaty clothes air dry while listening to Bonnie Prince Billy until I pass out, fully clothed, on my big, Ritz Carlton bed.