Is it a huge problem that I'm listening to Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape" as I'm writing this? Absolutely. I'm about to listen to Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" instead, which is probably the complete antithesis of "Sweet Escape".
In my previous post, I just started to talk about the genius of Josh Oxford. I will elaborate in a bit. But first, here's another "It's such a small world"-ism: Josh played drums in Jordan Del Rosario's first band, and Jordan Del Rosario happens to be in a band called Cheers Elephant, which features Matt Rothstein on bass, who happens be my sister's boyfriend. Isn't that just crazy?
Anyway, Josh is from Ithaca, NY. There has to be something in the water up there. Not only is he a consummate drummer/percussoid/marimbaman, but he also plays piano like McCoy Tyner or something. His solos are breathtaking, melodically and rhythmically radical. It's like he's stuttering out sentences on that marimba, and he's one of the few musicians I've heard that knows how to put a period on the end of those sentences. He even has perfect pitch and he can improvise singing in twelve-tone! In fact, I can guarantee that Frank would have hired him.
The drive to Troy was another cold and lonely one, but we arrived early. We managed to get a great 2 hour practice in before the show. We run through "The Dog Breath Variations" about 5 or 6 times and it starts to sound great. I relaxed for a couple minutes after practice and decided it was time for dinner. I remembered that there was a place about 4 doors down. It's called Jose Malone's, which I am pretty sure is the world's only Mexican-Irish fusion restaurant. Can you even imagine that combination? Potato Burritos? I ordered a Salad Tostada and a Vegetarian Chili for after the show.
When I headed back to the venue I suddenly had a flashback to the last time we played there in January. There were a group of hecklers on the top left balcony who gave me the finger the whole time and would shout such absurdities as "Rye Fuckin' Bread!" and (this is a personal favorite) "Your smiles are superficial!"
As soon as this thought entered my brain, I looked up to the balcony and there they were! The good news about these guys is that the heckling comes from their serious love of our group, but it's still awfully confusing while playing a show. This time around they made tie-dye shirts with featured a detailed caricature of Frank wearing silly glasses. They were so adamant about us wearing these shirts on stage that one of the hecklers somehow made it past security and laid the shirts on the couch backstage.
We get onstage around 9:30 or so maybe, and play a pretty slamming first set. Practice makes perfect! I look towards stage left and I see a guy in the audience with a shirt that looks like a digital VU meter (if you aren't a nerd, look it up). In fact, I notice that his shirt is a real live VU meter with LED lights and it's monitoring the decibel level of our particular rock concert! Apparently he purchased it from a website called softhut.com. I just had to take a picture with him during the set break. I walked up to him and said, "You have no idea how much we love that shirt." He was a nice guy, and we took a picture of me looking baffled while pointing at the futuristic wonder shirt.
We did another slamming set and called it a night. During our breakdown someone had the idea to put Michael Jackson's "Number Ones" on the sound system. I did my best Thriller bridge section dance. If you dont know the moves from the video it's "clap, jiggle horizontally, shoulder shake, clap, zombie hands". The fans were wonderful and generous as usual. One girl randomly ran up to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Boy, I love Troy.