Sunday, June 6, 2010

When In Montreal Pt. 1

Fri Nite: 9PM, May 21. The time chosen to meet at The Living Room and pack "Midnight Steel," the stand in for Good Friday Experiment's once mighty steed, "Blue Steel," who has sat idly in the driveway since an electrical meltdown back in the fall. The time chosen to gather the 9 musicians that were to make up Noot d' Noot for a 2 week tour supporting of Montreal. Down 1 from our 10 piece line up since Dookie Platters was to be wed 2 days after our return, the remaining 9 Noots agreed to meet on Friday night to insure a timely arrival in New Orleans for the Saturday night show. First call came in about 8:30 from Electro Siren aka Karima indicating she would not be home from work till around 11PM.

Even the most punctual folks were running behind schedule when I got my first contact with the percussion section. It was from B. Cruzan, the timbale player, and he was to inform me that Skins Malone, conga player extraordinaire, 1st chair of percussion, and OG Noot, was OUT. Not going. After all the work the band has put in over the last 3 years, at our most flourishing moment yet, dude tags out. He delivered this message to Cruzan, and has not been heard of since. 10pm. 8 Noots left, 4 at the studio.

Cruzan had to make some quick decisions: should he be the timbale player or the conga player? He hadn't practiced as the conga player, but thought it more crucial to the operation. In the end, he became some kind of combination of the two. He went back to his house and McGuyvered a new percussion station together and I went to get him. By the time I got to The Living Room with B and Circuit Diva, it was about 12am. The 7 of us headed over to Kirkwood to get the last passenger, Karima. Just as we were about to get on I-20 at 12:48am, she realized she had left her phone. Might as well make it 1am.

So we drove thru the nite to the outskirts of Mobile, AL and put a serious dent in the drive. Upon waking, the challenge of 8 adults trying to make group decisions became a very cruel reality. The first battle of the "Metabolism Wars" took place at Waffle House when 2 all star breakfasts were moved from plates into plastic containers and consumed in Midnight Steel. Suffice to say, who was going to eat what and when was definitely the most complex and sensitive issue of the entire journey. Forget about what songs you're gonna play or how well the show went. Folks gotta eat. The basic breakdown was the punker "Get In The Van" mentality versus the "I don't know what you think this is, but I'm not going anywhere until I have a meal." I'm not going to break down who fell on what side and who said what to who, because no one remembered any of it by the time we got to our destinations, and certainly no one remembers it now.

Anyways we were at the Howlin' Wolf by 2ish and meeting up with the of Montreal cats. In true rock n' roll style, Kevin was rehearsing with new drummer Clayton for the first time because he had been in LA mixing the new record all the way up until the tour. We had plenty of time to kill and headed off to the French Quarter. We didn't make it a block before getting our first drank.

Needless to say that swamp weather and an entire day of drinking took its toll well before the sun went down. Is it the weather that makes people get so faded? Maybe its the only way to combat that environment.

I don't know if it was because it was my first time seeing of Montreal or the crowd, or the heat, or what, but the New Orleans show stands out in my mind's eye as the most psychedelic of the tour. The way of Montreal set up their screens that night in a concave pattern made their visuals that much more otherworldly. Not to mention all the kids out in front of the club just gone. Not for the rest of the tour was the drug usage that rampant, and I think that is more a reflection on New Orleans than of Montreal. From inside the van, we watched this kid on the sidewalk, who couldn't have been more than 17, rip a blotter page and put the tabs in some tin foil and then gobble one himself. I remember as we were getting ready to leave, this car full of girls pull up on the sidewalk right in front of the club and then jump out of the car and proceed to dance circles around it with some craaaazy ass dance music blaring that sounded like it was from another planet. Literally a dancin' in the streets dance party! No other city in America comes anywhere near as beautifully strange as NOLA.

Sadly, we had to leave the Dancin' in the streets party because the next show was Austin and that's a pretty healthy drive. Got our 1st ticket about 45 minutes after leaving NOLA. Don't really remember where we stopped for the night, but the ticket had not slowed Jah Scorpion's roll just yet and by the next afternoon we had another one. Hit some bad traffic and tried to access the access road to the side of the highway just in time for a sheriff to block us off and start screaming at us. Amazingly, he told us to get back on the highway, avoiding a 3rd ticket. Got to Austin a little tense and just in time to soundcheck before the doors opened. Played at The Mohawk, which is a rad club in a rad music town. And there's nothing like some Austin breakfast tacos.

Onwards to Dallas, which is not so bad a drive. B Cruzan was still working out how to consolidate the drum parts to one player, and I remember us taking some risks in the set list. This was not our finest performance, but it made us really figure out what we needed to do for the rest of the shows. By Tulsa, we had a set figured out that we pretty much stuck with. We had left a drum trigger back in Atlanta, and The Late BP Helium went out and purchased one for us. This cat got us on the tour, looked after us the whole time, and even made suggestions as to make the set flow properly. He's what you call Good People, and we are very grateful to him.

Cain's Ballroom was one of my favorite clubs we played because the place has open since 1924 and is home to Bob Wills. This one cat had been working there since he got out of high school and was telling us about when the Sex Pistols came thru, David Lee Roth era Van Halen, and Cliff Burton era Metallica.
To get to rock my Rickenbacker bass on the same stage where Cliff rocked his, now that's something. The crowd response in Tulsa was really insane. All in all, a solid show.

The 9th Street Summerfest in Columbia, MO was next. It was a huge turnout, as an entire street was blocked off to allow for the outdoor stage. Good show. And then on to Buster's in Lexington, KY which was a great show, as we were joined by BP Helium performing as "Mecha-Dookie Platters."

Dream Sanitation got a pretty good repertoire going with Priceline and haggled us hotel rooms for the prices we were willing to pay. Probably the nicest hotel we got to stay in was in downtown Lexington, most notable because it was not a chain. A one of a kind place that had its own charm.
As we approached this 4 story hotel, I noticed open blinds in the corner on the top floor. It was late, I was tired, and of Montreal has an overwhelming amount of heads on sticks floating around their production. But what I saw certainly seemed to be a floating Yoko Ono head whipping around like some sort of witch or a startled stallion in the window. The closer I looked, the more flesh I began to notice surrounding this head. Suddenly, it dawned on all of us that now we were at a show, and this Yoko character in the window was the star!!!

It would have been rude not to watch, so we took in the slaying for a minute while Crab Louie offered a "thumbs up" to which Yoko reciprocated her own positive gesture. I went on inside but apparently a few minutes later, Yoko's counterpart wanted to get a part in the show, which sent everyone running for cover.

By now, we are up to the following Friday in our recap, more than halfway thru the journey. This is where we shall draw the line on Pt. 1.

1 comment:

James Joyce said...

Ticket #1 - $188

Ticket #2 - $148

May 23rd was not a good day for Jah Scorpion.