(Jason Lent has forsaken the island paradise of Hawaii to follow us around for a few months. I have happily placed the tour diary in his capable hands. It should bring a new perspective to our ramblings.)
First impressions being what they are, I walked into tonight’s venue somewhere in Syracuse, NY and my flip flops stuck to the floor. The stench of warm beer, puke, and really warm beer permeated every surface. Too shoddy to continue as a movie theater, someone had the grand idea to remove the seats, drop a PA system on the floor, and start booking bands. To their credit, the venue staff worked hard to mop and straighten up during sound check.
Tonight’s crowd was fairly small but the beer specials made them sound like a Roman army in Margo’s monitor. Lost in the repugnant smell of the club and the noise of the bar was some fantastic moments of music that were not missed by those paying attention. “Shining Moon” came on strong early and “Stranger Here” reduced my notes to comic book adjectives. Pop. Bam. Pow!
The acoustic set made it clear that the quiet material was destined to drown in the drone of the bar. At that point, Nigel Tufnel slipped into the sound booth and turned everything up to eleven. A three-song run of “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” “Dark Hole Again,” and “Murder Tonight In the Trailer Park” to close the set was triumphant over the steady chatter. When “Lost My Driving Wheel” began to close the night, the din of the crowd had subsided and everybody took notice of the music on stage. Finally.