THE LATEST is back in the Windy City safe and sound after a six day tour to the East Coast. Here are some highs and lows...
1. Just outside of NYC, we learned of the death of Mana "China" Nishiura. She was killed in a van wreck between Baltimore and Brooklyn while her band DMBQ was on tour. This affected us in many ways; primarily for the terrible loss of a creative spirit, also because we ourselves were simultaneously spinning through the area in a band van, and because her band was staying with our friends Shellshag with whom we had a gig scheduled for Sunday night and with whom we planned to visit during our stay in NYC. Needless to say the Shellshag crew were preoccupied and could not play the show on Sunday. We didn't get to see those guys but they all were in our minds the rest of the journey. China we miss you.
It's tough to write on after that awful news but we must, mustn't we?
2. Moe's Bar in beautiful downtown Cleveland, OH was a good place to be. Frankly we weren't expecting much out of Cleveland. We didn't know anybody there and we had a tough time booking a gig. It was also a Wednesday night. Yet the good folks at Moe's, the ex-Houstonian bartender (cute!) and "Moe Jr." the current proprietor (more handsome than the Moe's proprietor of TV fame), went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The crowd was a good handful more than we expected. Moe's is a very small bar, recently re-opened with a new ambition to be a hip destination for live music. It doesn't have much of a PA and even less of a stage but what it lacks in amenities it makes up for in spirit. The folks at My Minds Eye Record Shop were also very accommodating: Thanks Charles! Thanks Steve!
3. Our Boston hosts, Ross and Emir, had homemade macaroni and cheese ready for us our second night on the road. That's good stuff. If you ever have the opportunity, take it. THE LATEST gives a BIG shout out to Ross, Emir, Roy and Athena for their gracious Boston hospitality, good food and tunes. DJ Athena spun tunes between bands at the Midway Cafe. Her mixes were recorded and made for great listening for the ride home. We played with the local band Keys to the Streets of Fear who played bluesy avant garde punk rock set up in front of the stage below the lights, pretty good stuff.
4. Blackies is the place to go for dogs and burgers in the Cheshire, CT area. This is Mikey and Ross' old haunting grounds. I highly recommend a visit to Blackies. They make their own pepper relish - that and spicey mustard are the only hot dog condiments readily available and that's all you'll need at Blackies. Mike's mom and dad showed up. Momma Fitzpatrick brought her homemade pepper relish which held up very well to Blackies. I had two dogs one with Blackies relish and one with Momma Fitzpatrick's. Heaven.
5. Saturday night we were uptown at the Ding Dong Lounge. I was a little concerned that we were a bit too far uptown at 105 street but the Ding Dong is just around the corner from Columbia so the students were out. It's a cool little bar to boot. Turned out to be the best turn out of the t-t-t-tour. I was proudly surprised to see a Houston flyer in the bathroom - an old punk rock Xeroxed thing for the Butthole Surfers at Numbers. That took me back. Got to see some family and good friends. Turpentine Brothers followed with a solid garage punk set. Nice guys and a gal - I hope they make it to Chicago soon.
6. THE LATEST spent the day in New York City baby and a considerable amount of time at the Legendary WFMU Record Fair. We could have spent the entire day there and all of our money (the latter being the reason we did not do the former). This is a great event and well worth the price of admission. I picked up a Fred Frith gem, a W.C. Fields album and some Chicago blues.
7. We got a pick on Mr. J Toubin's new New York Night Train Webzine. This is gonna be a great zine and you should get in on the ground floor while you can still say you knew it when. But more on that in the next post.
8. In Boundbrook, NJ at our last show of the tour, I finally got a decent live recording of THE LATEST and that was the best thing to come out of that show. We played at a sports bar on a Sunday night to the members of the other bands. At least they didn't suck: No Pasar from Jersey City and Northern Liberties (lead singer had some DaDa moments) out of Philadelphia.
Thanks to everyone who put us up and came out to see THE LATEST. BIG BIG Thanks to L Robertson who didn't know what she was getting into but her southern graciousness shown threw nonetheless!