No more sweating. There's always that. After more than three weeks of humidity and cruelly toasty stages, roads, and vans, we're back home in San Francisco, shrouded in fog as we've learned to expect during July. My first year here I remember trying to watch Independence Day fireworks and just seeing a glowing fog bank. Green clouds are moderately interesting, but they smack of nuclear holocaust. I avoided the whole shebang this year in favor of wine and hot dogs in a sweatshirt.
And it's all over. The tour, I mean. We finished our first sojourn on the East Coast in New York, two shows back to back (there was talk of a third, but that would've been a logistical nightmare), plenty of good food, soft couches, and horn honking. The first show, at Sin-e (pronounced Shin-A) was a sold out, good-timey one, with two absurdly poppy bands bookending our set (Tally Hall & the Gaskets). And let it be said: New Yorkers rock out. I wasn't sure if they would, even had heard testimony to the contrary, but they hooted and danced and, you know, that makes playing a show all the more fun. Cities with grouchy nod-alongs don't get remembered as pleasantly as places like Baltimore, New York, Salem, and, of course, San Francisco (to name a few). So thanks for that, NYC.
The thing is, what can you say about New York that hasn't been said a hundred thousand times? It's the most sung about, written about, loved, hated, and griped about city in the country. You visit and you see a fraction of a fraction of a percent of what's there, unlike those towns in central Arizona where a gas station is the pinnacle of high culture; not that I have anything against Slim Jims and Abbazabbas, of course. We did our best to do New York things: We saw French transplants yelling in the street over their 1-0 win against Brazil while South Americans in yellow jerseys sulked away, drunk at 5; we drank $8 beers in a la-di-da hotel that tasted identical to the $3 beers we had moments before; we got elbowed on the subway, ate bagels, cursed indiscrimantly at passers by.
And we played another show. This one was at the Knitting Factory, which, if I may be frank, was a worse venue than Sin-E. There are a few reasons for this, not the least of which was that there was another show on another level on the building, which boasted roughly 1,000 bands competing for some unknown prize or another, which I'm going to guess was not having to be in another battle of the bands for the rest of their lives. The show itself was damn fun though. Anytime you break a melodica, you've got to be proud; except that you've got to buy a new one, which is borderline depressing. I need that money for food, not mouth pianos.
The next day, we returned our borrowed gear, pillaged, gutted, and docked the Whaleship Essex, and spent our evening in some dinghy Chinatown bar where we knew the bartender and could assured that drinks would cost roughly eight dollars less than they did at that fancypants hotel. And ate Indian food. Popeye and I agree about very little, but we have bonded about Saag Paneer on numerous occassions. Yes, I realize I hallucinated these occassions, but bear with me. He's actually an incredibly nice guy if you don't kidnap his woman or recommend he does a little bicep work.
Now what? Well, we have a homecoming show at Bottom of the Hill on the 15th and we'll be writing new songs, relaxing, and, god forbid, I may be working again. But let's not talk about that, shall we? Just typing it gave me a small but intense seizure.