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December 27, 2008 Christmas tour blog 1: 100m sprints to blizzards

Before I even hit the road this time around, my co-workers and I thought it’d be fun to have a 100m race the length of the warehouse…consequently, I took my last-minute lunge too far and ended up bloody and soaked in a puddle at the finish line (and I only got third…maybe?). Yes, I may have proved my dedication and intensity, but perhaps also my stupidity.

The following drive was stiff and restrained. It’s funny cos when I’m on tour I tend to joke that I must look like a hobo, cos I feel like one- what with the limited wardrobe, lack of shaving, and skipping every other meal- but this time I entered Chapel Hill looking really homeless, bandages hanging off me, bleeding…

My friend Corbie’s new band Battle Rockets opened. An impressive duo fit with a sampler, pedals galore, and using vocals as an instrument. Nicely done sirs! My set followed- an improvement from the show in Asheville the night before (thanks to Ken for putting me on the bill last minute though). For some reason I never seem to play good shows in Asheville…always an equipment malfunction or something off every time. Cursed to play elsewhere? Members of the Whiskey Smugglers closed the night with some raucous drink-and-sing-alongs. Good time all around.

The drive to Philly the next day was long- I generally avoid driving I-95 below NYC but no such luck this time around. I enjoyed the fruits of travelling solo nearing the end of the trip, listening to an in-between AM station for a while, as the ever-morphing stations on both sides created an aural collage that kept me surprisingly alert til I reached the city limits. Pretty amazing that static can sound like that sometimes…

Surefire Broadcast’s 7″ release show at the M Room followed. My first time playing Philly. I went first with a short set, and Padre Pio took the stage second- a powerful local trio with a guitarist that reminded me of Willem Defoe. Great stuff. Strange imagining Willem Defoe playing that type of music though. SB was third and were as entertaining as always…supreme. The Laughing Man from D.C. ended the night with some type of Devendra Banhart/Love spookiness. Good people all around, and Rodney and Lisa from SB let me stay with them at their gorgeous house in Hammonton, NJ for the night.

After gazing at Lisa’s amazing record collection in the AM, I discovered my car was leaking antifreeze (again)…traversed the Jersey countryside to temporarily fix that on my way to Brooklyn. Listened to LCD Soundsystem as I sailed across the BQE and into Williamsburg, where I met my friends Jack and Luke Schurman (aka Luke Rathborne). I got hit on by an old man with a cape in the first bar we went to, who approached me with a pennywhistle and politely said, “you’re adoooorable” before impolitely shaking his crotch at me and blowing on his whistle. “New York I love you, but you’re freaking me out…”

Spike Hill was pretty empty tonight and my amp completely went out on me mid-set, but Luke and I played some impromptu songs together with what we had and made the best of it. The Rhodes had to cancel cos of snow too which was sad because I love their energy. Learned the real way to pour a Guinness from the bartender, who made me realize all the bartenders who have been mis-serving me my stouts over the years…

Didn’t stay out partying late as I felt myself getting a little sick. Stayed in and played on Luke’s piano instead. There seemed to be reports of snow all around the city but no sign of it falling again yet…

Luke and I drove to Boston the next day, taking the long way (my fault) and discovering all the snow we’d heard about. Arrived at Church just in time for us to go on. Good place and plenty of writeups in the papers, but the blizzard the night before had scared everyone into staying in for their Monday, unfortunately. Played with James from This Building’s on Fire who put on a brave acoustic set. Playing all electric these days, I’m impressed with anyone like James or Luke who can just go on with an acoustic and be captivating. I’m too into my loops now to go back…

Stayed in JP for the night with my friends Chris and Anna and left for wintry Maine the next day…

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