New Adventures In Hi Fi
Any Tuesday night that begins with Brooklyn Lager and Excedrin is bound for ruin. And yet, somehow, I found some sort of small triumph in the end.
The world famous Nadas were in town. (In fact, I can hear them snoring downstairs as I type.) If you don’t know them, you should. They’re a terrifc rock band from Des Moines, Iowa. I hung with frontman Jason Walsmith at Sundance, and was supposed to be on the road with them this weekend. But when the tour fell through, and they booked a small acoustic in Brooklyn and invited me to perform, well, I was dubious. I mean, New York, DC, South Carolina, and Tennesee had fallen through, why should I be stoked for a little show in Brooklyn (seeing them perform notwithstanding)?
Big M-Fin’ Rock, that’s why.
I met the guys at Laila Lounge on North Seventh in Williamsburg. I had no idea what to expect of the night. All I knew was that we were supposed to perform at some sort of hootenanny or something called Whisky Breath. I was lacking such confidence as to whether my musical skill set would be needed that I left my guitar at home. But when I got there, and they asked me to play a half hour set, well … snap! What am I gonna’ play!?! And for whom?
Now, I’ll be honest: I’d had a few beers, which barring The Smith Family, is unusual prior to a performance. Still, I think I did pretty well. I didn’t really have time to get nervous, or whip up much of a set list. I performed “Live Forever,” “Harder To Believe,” “Intent On St. Paul,” “California,” “Radio,” and “Dear Elizabeth.” I was pretty loose, kinda’ bobbin’ and weavin’ around the small stage. My voice sounded pretty solid. I was kinda’ surprised. I haven’t performed solo in months (the living room show doesn’t count; if I’m not comfortable here, I shouldn’t be performing).
Then Jason and Mike hit the stage. Snap! You can tell these mo’ fo’s have been singing together for years. They’re voices blend effortlessly. And their songs are straight up my ally: earnest, melodic, and beautiful.
And then the big surprise: my man Ivan Sandomir was in the house! And slated to perform! What a small town! What a bonus! He performed with me at Rockwood a few weeks ago. Awesome guy. Sings like Jeff Buckly. Beautiful voice. And so chill. Good man.
And then — get this! — Christine asked me to play some more! Man, at this point I’m three sheets to it, and I’m meeting all these great people, and chattin’ up a storm and havin’ a grand ole’ Tuesday night in Brooklyn, but what the hell! Have you ever known me to say no to the stage? I whipped out “Anna’s Lost Her Mind” (a lost gem from “Out of Your Head”), then went for broke with “Shiver,” milking that last line (“So I’m leavin’ today …”) and strumming furiously until I had nothing left. It was time to go.
Find some pizza, find the Manhattan Bridge, get uptown, drop the Nada fans at The Warwick, grab Heather’s Aero Bed, find a parking garage, and then …
And then here I am. It’s well after three o’clock. On a school night. Me? All I had was my cell phone, a shaker, and plans to see some good friends perform. Next thing I know I’m holding the money note until the veins on my neck are nearly bursting. And I’m looking into the light, and I’m smling. And I’m saying, “Rocknroll’s an adventure, Heather. An adventure.” Some days, you just don’t how it’ll turn out. And they’re are the good days.