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state champs tour diary pt2
- Subject: state champs tour diary pt2
- From: "James R. Covey" <JRCOVEY\!/ac.dal.ca>
- Date: Tue, 13 Jun 1995 15:17:33 -0300
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 1995 11:07:41 -0300
From: "James R. Covey" <JRCOVEY\!/AC.DAL.CA>
Subject: state champs tour diary pt2
To: Sloan Net <jrcovey+sloan\!/ac.dal.ca>
MONDAY MAY 15
we hit the road, heading for providence.
three of the champs go in the rental; yan, catano,
and i go in yan's car. we were supposed to meet
up in the "hip" area of town -- "bayer street" or
"sayer street" or something. no one really knew
or bothered to check. we never found it, the
other guys did. it turned out to be "thayer
street." yan and catano i end up wandering
around the financial district of providence,
weaving through all the office buildings. the
place seems deserted. we stop for coffee and then
walk some more. around 6pm we head over to the
concert venue, "lupo's heartbreak hotel."
pavement are on stage, soundchecking. we can't
believe our luck. they do "rattled by the rush"
(a song which they don't perform at that night's
after they finish we meet bob nastanovich.
he's totally friendly. when he finds out that we
drove down from halifax to see pavement he puts us
on the guest list, and offers to let yan recharge
his video camera backstage. while backstage, yan
helps steve malkmus figure out that the door he is
trying to open is locked. :-) we sell our
tickets for $10 each to kids waiting outside, and
walk back in as pavement's guests. woo-hoo!
the opening acts were dirty 3 and come.
dirty 3 blow. there's no way of getting around
it. i just cannot understand why there is
starting to be an indie buzz around this band.
it's a trio: drummer, guitarist, violinist. no
vocals. the songs are all instrumentals, long
ones. they do four numbers, and the violinist has
to give explanations of what the songs are
"about," or at least he seems to think so. the
"explanations" are *so* lame: "this is about a
friend of ours who died, and now we can't have a
beer with her any more, and that's not cool."
ouch. throughout the songs the violinist, in his
tight white jeans, turns toward the drummer and
shakes his rump at the audience, pumping his fist
in the air when he's not fiddling. i don't think
we should forgive them just because they are from
come were really great. thalia zedek's
voice is just as powerful live as you would expect
from their records. they did stuff from both
albums and some new songs. the arrangements of
the songs, though, didn't vary a smidgen from what
they are on the records. so even though the band
was completely equal to reproducing their amazing
studio performances, they didn't go beyond that in
the set. so i guess the only thing that surprised
me about come was that they didn't surprise me.
pavement were simply amazing. from the
moment they started that guitar doodling at the
beginning of "grounded" i knew it would be a great
gig. they slowly built up the intensity of their
show over the first five songs, and hit a high
point with "at&t" followed by "cut your hair."
they did a *lot* of the songs on _wowee zowee_ and
i found that some songs i hadn't paid much
attention to really came to life. in fact, there
was hardly a song they did that wasn't an order of
magnitude better than the recorded versions. it's
obvious they've put a lot of effort into their
live arrangements. pavement's stage set-up was
kind of interesting -- everything's arranged to
make things easier for malkmus. :-) he gets to
face the rest of the band, and he just kinda
stands there and strums and sings most of the
time. it's the other members of the band who jump
around, and especially bob nastanovich, who seems
to be sort of a cheerleader. his job seems to be
to hype the crowd up. he shakes tambourines and
shakers, screams into a mic at various appropriate
moments (even does some of the screaming that
malkmus does on the studio versions), plays his
moog and sometimes does some drumming. he's
pavement's utility player. :-)
they threw a couple of old nuggets into their
set: "summer babe" and "shoot the singer." but the
most amazing performance as far as i was concerned
was "fight this generation." it was *so* much better
than the _wowee zowee_ version, just incredibly
dramatic. and then the pairing of "range life" with
"serpentine pad" in the encore was pretty inspired
after the gig we approached spiral stairs
and gave him a state champs t-shirt, which
(apparently coincidentally) features a chair
designed by his favorite architect, or so he told
us. he also agreed to do a video interview by
mail for catano.
TUESDAY MAY 16
we hit the road again, this time bound for
the big apple. we enter manhattan around noon.
in the process of driving all over manhattan
looking for our hotel, i see lots of landmarks for
the first time: the u.n., times square.
eventually we check into the ramada. six of us in
a room booked for three. no one ever calls us on
that while we're there. there's two double beds
so two people have to sleep on the floor. so here
i am in manhattan for the first time in my life,
and what do i do? take a nap. meanwhile, the
guys head off to guitar shops and the empire state
building. after two hours of sleep i head out to
times square. i go into mcdonalds and buy a big
mac (something i never do in halifax) and i sit in
the best 2nd-floor window seat and just look out
at all the signs and all the people in the square.
that evening there's a pavement show
around the corner from the hotel. everyone has a
ticket except for me -- i joined this tour after
the new york show had sold out. i try my luck
with the scalpers. the lowest i can get them to
go is $40. someone tries to sell me a ticket for
$70. i laugh at him. i say $30. he laughs at
me. oh well. i go back to my hotel room and
watch the hockey game and read my novel and write
in my diary. i realize that at this moment i
actually appreciate the rest more than i would the
show. once is enough for me.
WEDNESDAY MAY 17
we head out en masse about noon, on foot.
after a walk through central park we arrive at the
guggenheim, but most of it is closed for
renovation. we visit the two floors that are
still open and i see a kokoschka called "knight
errant" that captures my imagination.
we take the subway south to the village.
we look around for the jay-ferguson-recommended
record shops. kim's underground is pretty cool.
they have lots of 7" singles but i hardly
recognize any of the bands. then we go to this
store called "generation records." for not being
an indie shop, it's pretty cool -- no vinyl, but
lots of rare cds: bootlegs and stuff. wayne buys
a pavement live bootleg. i buy superchunk and
stereolab cds. quicksand is playing when we walk
in, later it's the melvins. the posters in the
display window: ramones, clash, smiths, cure.
there's a multiply-pierced boy in black running
the register and i see him offer a smoke to a
street person who walks in. they seem to know
each other, this seems to be a regular ritual.
we visit a "hip" clothing shop called
"andy's cheepees" which is way out of our price
range. we also stumble across kim's west, a 2nd
location of kim's underground, where andy finds
himself a pavement t-shirt. then, we found
another indie store that had the best t-shirts
yet: archers of loaf, pavement, shellac. i
finally get a pavement t-shirt in the design that
i like (they weren't selling them at the
providence gig, but the guy selling them was
wearing one). the guy at the store, which was
called "rocks in your head," apparently drums for
azalia snail. but then, who doesn't.
when we get back to times square that
evening, we have some of the best pizza i've ever
tasted. then we all crowd back into the hotel
room. this, of course, is the appropriate moment
to debate art and interpretation. the four-way
argument/discussion that ensues from yan asking me
to define "stream of consciousness literature"
threatens to drive both andy and wayne crazy.
after that peters out, the topic switches over to
religion and catano, who's well versed in
philosophy of religion it seems, has some really
insightful things to say. it occurs to me that
we're all pothead philosophers without the pot.
that's life on the road with a straight-edge band.
THURSDAY MAY 18
late in the morning jon and andy and
myself head for the MoMA (museum of modern art).
they have a bruce naumann exhibit on, and david
bowie is on site to check it out. when i spot
him, the guy he is with is sketching a sculpture,
and some teenage girls walk up and, without asking
permission, take a photo of bowie and then run off
seeing my favorite seventies rock star,
though, was not nearly as thrilling as seeing my
favorite painting, _vir heroicus sublimis_ by
barnett newman. i spent some time just standing
there and looking at it. meanwhile, jon had found
his precious mondrians and was experiencing the
same sort of thrill. there's also plenty of van
goghs and picassos and yes, more kokoschkas. i'm
starting to really like this painter's work, even
though i don't know much about art and i'd never heard
of him before this trip.
on the way back to the car that afternoon,
we stopped by the rockefeller centre. it was our
last major landmark visit before we left town. is
it true that there's a wider rich-poor gap in
manhattan than in guatemala?
_James R. Covey <jrcovey\!/ac.dal.ca>_ sloan net is a discussion of the
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