Tuesday night we played our first show at Arlene’s Grocery with our friends from the amazing indie-pop band Portmanteaux. Thanks to everyone who endured the unpleasant sting of the cold rain and wind to make sure we didn’t play to an empty room!
It’s probably easier to get a taxi on the dark side of the moon than on a rainy night near 42nd street in New York…which happens to be where we were coming from. We quickly realized the utter hopelessness of getting a taxi, so we called a service and were told a car would pick us up in fifteen minutes. Fort-five minutes later we were out on the street in the pouring rain trying to find anything with wheels that would give us a ride downtown to the show.
We finally managed to hail a taxi, but halfway through loading our gynormous load of eight small cases…that’s one small case with drum cymbal stands, two guitars, two keyboards and a couple of pedal board cases…the cab driver started to flip out on us, saying we were going to break his axel. Come on now…really! It was a van taxi, which is pretty much the standard now in New York, and could easily handle the weight of our equipment. I’ve seen commercials on TV where they throw one truck on top of another truck and haul it up a giant hill with big rocks and stuff. I think the general point of these commercials is to point out that you can put a ton of stuff in a truck. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the average car/van can carry more than the weight of five skinny rock dudes and their instruments.
After a bit of back and forth, our drummer, Michael, managed to convince the driver to let us finish loading all of the gear. Just when we thought we were ready to go, though, he wouldn’t let us all get into the cab. Our equipment fit nicely into the storage area in the back of the van, no fold-down seat required, and there was plenty of room for five passengers, but again, he said we were going to break his cab. I was finally able to bribe him with more money and he agreed to let us all in the cab. That’s when it hit me…no keyboard stand. For some reason, the forty-five minutes of waiting for the car service earlier was not enough time for me to figure out I had forgotten one of my keyboard stands in the rehearsal studio! Usually when you are moving equipment for a show, you inventory everything before you load out to make sure you don’t forget anything. It wasn’t until we were sitting in the taxi that I realized I didn’t see the stand get loaded. I jumped out and told the guys to head down to the club and I would catch up.
I went back to the rehearsal studio, and there it was right out in the open. This one tiny, but very critical piece of equipment was going to require me to take a second taxi, which would require another battle out in the rain to find one. One minor detail….my umbrella was in the first taxi! But it’s New York, which means on a rainy night you can’t walk more than ten feet down any sidewalk without finding a street vendor selling umbrellas. Within a few minutes I lucked out, got another cab and was on my way. I vowed never to forget the equipment inventory again. (This is both true and important to the overall story…read on.)
Once we got to the club, it was great. Arlene’s Grocery is a fine establishment. It has an impressive stage and sound system, but perhaps more importantly it has a second bar room with a fireplace…perfect for a rainy night. I was in heaven. My feet and legs were soaked up to my knees, but ten minutes in front of that fireplace, I was warm and dry…and ready to get on that stage.
The show was great fun…visit the video page for highlights. It was not only our first show at Arlene’s, but our first show with the new band. Michael Smith on drums, Ry Kenny on rhythm guitar and background vocals, Rafal Moskal on bass and Joe Belle on guitar. These guys are really a pleasure to play with, and I must say I’m proud to share the stage with such fantastic musicians. In addition to our set, which I think was the best show D’Simone has played to date, we had the pleasure of sharing the bill with Portmanteaux, fronted by the truly talented Allan Fox. We plan to play more shows together under the moniker “Bands with French Sounding Names” so please look for more show dates in the near future.
To add the perfect bookend to an outstanding evening, Michael, Joe and I hung out for a while and had a few drinks. When we were ready to go home, we called for a car, and the same car company that couldn’t deliver a vehicle earlier came through in spades with a brand new SUV! It was like a rock star ride back to the rehearsal studio. I would have called it the perfect end to a great night…adventures in travel, good stories and a great show. But wait…where the @$#&!!!! is my keyboard stand?!!!! Mother said I’d lose my head if it wasn’t fastened on. Well today I guess it wasn’t, and neither was that keyboard stand. Yes ladies and gentlemen…I left it at the club! And continuing my luck, a phone call confirms they still have it, so I will be retrieving it before our next practice, and knock on wood I will never forget it again!
As always, thanks for all the support. Without your ears to listen, there is no music.