Now two shows into their tour with Robbers On High Street, The King Of France drummer/journalist Michael Azerrad checks in with another installment of his tour diary.
The second date of the tour: the Iota club in Arlington, VA. Joining the tour is our regular keyboardist Matt Durant, who’s a great musician, a true rocker and a wonderfully unhinged individual. Also on board is our great old friend Don Piper, another tremendous musician and a way pleasant fellow, who’s playing bass with us. Up until now in concert we’ve been just keyboards, guitar and drums. That gave us a certain angular, architectural attack; bass guitar will fill out the sound, make it swing. This will be the first time we’ve tried this and Don has been absolutely sensational in rehearsal, miraculously playing parts that support everybody’s parts, providing plenty of low end without altering our musical chemistry.
Drove down to Arlington with Don and Dawn. Dawn originally just came along for the ride but will play on a few songs, teaming with Matt for the Amazing, Incredible Double Keyboard Effect. Matt’s coming in from Richmond, where he was playing with Cracker. La-di-da, right?
Just about every overpass on the way down had an American flag hanging on it.
Sometimes I wonder what I would think if I’d somehow totally missed 9/11, came back to this country and saw all these flags everywhere. I’d probably think July 4th was coming soon.
You know it’s going to be a good night when the owner of the club (a really genial guy named Steve) helps you bring in your equipment and then makes you a tasty dinner. I also liked the fact that there was a little sign on the soundboard that said “For heaven’s sake don’t stand behind the soundman and talk.” The Iota even has a great wireless connection and an outstanding wine and beer selection.
Steve asked me how the show was for me, and I said that I tossed my sticks in the air a lot, which is the sign that I’m happy, confident and relaxed on stage, having a good time. I could tell Steve felt the same way, too – he was kidding with the crowd, noting that one side of the audience was better looking and the other side was better dressed, which went over really well. Don’s bass playing was right on, so solid and spare, and Matt’s first gig of the tour was
strong. Towards the end of the set we called Dawn up on second keyboards and she just gave everything that extra boost to 11. We just had fun, played well -- and sold a lot of CDs again.
Stayed at Steve’s parents’ house that night. They are gracious, fascinating people. It was a very nice stay. Now on a jolly ride back up I-95 to sweet home New York, Dusty Springfield on the stereo. I just saw a bumper sticker that said “They can send me to college but they can’t make me thin.” I told Dawn this and she opined that that is a totally surreal statement. But upon further reflection I think the bumpe rsticker might actually have said “They can send me to college but they can’t make me think.” Which is pitiful but a bit less surreal.
I still haven’t gotten around to discussing health bars yet. Will get to that soon. Next gigs: the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan on October 4th and Southpaw in Brooklyn on October 5th. See you there!
Source: Michael Azerrad