All Writing and Photography © Alex Livingstone/Owner's Closet

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.9

Met back at the club at noon after eating a delicious, toasted poppy seed bagel with jalapeno cheddar from Bagelsmith. Jennie said their latte is good too. The horrible traffic ratfucked our drive to Philly but we still managed to get there in time. Froggered the load in to Milkboy and nearly gnawed off the neck of my bass I was so hungry. Ordered the wings and while they weren't traditional (didn't pass Q's test) I thought they were really good. Some of the best of the tour even.

The stage at Milkboy is on the second floor of the venue and sounded really warm once we fired up the jams. It was such a tight fit that Falcon played without a rack tom and I hardly moved an inch for either show. Stayed right at home. The first crowd was more mellow than the second but they were both great and both of our sets were fun. We did the first two legs' set at the early show and the third leg's set for the second set. Immediately after the show we separated our gear into piles of what was going to Europe and what was being put in the back of the waiting truck and be shipped back to Austin. I said goodbye to my GK and dummy checked myself. Our third vehicle, perhaps our rebound van after the sweet Sprinter that was repo'd from us after we loaded into Milkboy, was a stealth Ford (finally!!). Crashed at Comfort Inn and went back to Brooklyn the next day. US Tour, nice to know ya.

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.8

The drive up from WV was except that it was 250+ miles. Q is the man. Period. A Wing Man, to be exact. We dumped bags and got to the venue earlier than expected so we caught a beer at Spike Hill. I had a Bitburger and it was delicious. Pleasant little hang, that bar.

My wonderful fiance came up to NYC for the few days before CF & SG went to Europe and right after soundcheck we had dinner in the neighborhood. Sweetwater is a quaint little restaurant (of which there are myriads in NYC) on N. 6th with a small menu and indifferent table service. We ordered delicious calamari as an app and Peronis for beverages. She and I got different steaks, which were both great. Her fries came out kinda soggy and cold and my kale was cooked nearly perfectly. Bartropolis joined us and had a pasta dish which he thought was pretty good. We got the vibe that they wanted to turn over our table so we left. They only took cash and Master Card. WTF? What's the deal with bars and restaurants in New York not being more accommodating when it comes to payment. It seems to me that practically every bar and restaurant in Austin accepts most major forms of payment. The only cash only place I knew of was Maria's Taco X-press and even they now accept plastic. Get with the program, New York. Aren't you, like, the leader of fashion, business, cuisine, etc…? Guess nobody's perfect.

The MHOW show was awesome. Flat out awesome. Up on the big stage with the killer sound system and packed crowd, James said he felt like Adrian Vandenburg of Whitesnake. I felt more like Karl Mueller. Played well, had tons of fun, packed up and split for Vinegar Hill.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.7

Nashville. It was good to visit Middle Tennessee again. The venue we played was the new, third venue in the Cannery Row complex called the High Watt. It is nice that they have a freight elevator because like Mercy Lounge, it's on the second floor. Before the show I changed my strings for the first time on a couple of years. I don't think I've changed them since the Spring tour with Tim Easton in 2009. It was soon after that tour that I put the tele in the closet and started playing the Ric exclusively. Boy, those strings were shot. If the bass had stayed in Austin's climate, the strings may have lasted a while longer. But due to all of the climate changes we went through, those guys got stretched out beyond belief. The show at the High Watt was fine. I had a breakthrough on "Once You Roll Over" which was nice. It took coming up with some busy lines to settle back into something different from but just as simple as the album take.
Yesterday, we drove 650 miles from Nashville to that little chicken wing flapper part of West Virginia that I-81 goes through. Tonight, Hipsters... Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.6

After Chapel Hill, we had a day off so we drove to Athens to chill. Holiday Inn, dawg. We had family dinner at Shokitini sushi and it was really good. Cut the ribbon on hand rolls and quail egg shooters. After dinner we stopped by Trappeze Pub for one of the three best American pilsners I've ever had Eurotrash Pilz. The other two being Trumer Pilz and Scrimshaw Pilsner.

Live Oak in Austin has a good one but it doesn't satisfy my need for true Czech-style qualities. Same with Victory Pilz. We spent the rest of the night at The Globe. Spaten lager and Bushmills, thank you very much. Back in the land of reasonable, if not cheap, drink prices. Q's old bandmate Kyle joined us for drinks and a van rage. Good times with Van Halen II.
Woke up and lollygagged until lunch at The Grit with Patterson Hood and Z-dog. I ordered the veggie plate and a glass of what turned out to be perfectly sweetened tea. The collard greens were outta this world, the mac n' cheese was safe and the green bean casserole was dry. Much to my disappointment, the biscuits were not fluffy, buttery, badassery. Instead, they seemed to be some kinda whole wheat/vegan biscuit which to me seems like a waste of time. I think I ordered wrong for the veggie plate. If I were to eat there again and stick with the greens, I would also order the steamed broccoli, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and cornbread. If I eat there again, and I very much hope that I do, I will also have to save room for a sampling of their extraordinary homemade dessert selection.
We made it to Atlanta with little traffic trouble and spent the rest of the night at The Earl. It was colder than well digger's ass in that venue and I didn't warm up until halfway through our set. Marcellus Hall sounded great and we had a really good set too. Scott Sheridan, a Four Star Crush bandmate of mine from my days in Tennessee, came out and we caught up after having not seen each other in many years. Cam also came down with his main squeeze and we caught up as much as possible before I took the stage. Thanks to them and everybody for making it a great night.
At the damn Holiday Inn, our television was broken, there was no shampoo in the room and the groundskeeping crew were weed eating at 7:45 am!!! What the hell? The whole idea behind Holiday Inn is that it's a place for people to sleep. 7:45!!! On the road to Nashville for a show at Mercy Lounge or something.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.5

Move over D.C., Chapel Hill's coming through.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.4

Considering all aspects of a show, I think last night in Washington D.C. was the best of the tour. Rock and Roll Hotel treated us really well and had the best wings of any bar I've been to. The sold out crowd was psyched and it sounded great on stage. We hated leaving but we had to head south and spend the night in Fredericksburg, VA.
Tonight is Local 506 in Chapel Hill. Carolina plays Duke at Cameron so we're pushing the show back 'til after UNC wins. Gonna see my family and old friends. No place like home.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.3

The last 48 Hours have been a whirlwind. When I last wrote we driving through rain and snow to get to the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan. We got there 30 minutes early so I ran over to Orchard Street and got my jacket fixed. $16 later I was back out in the rain with reinforced buttons and one one pocket partially sewn shut. Good enough. After soundcheck, Some Guns caught a cab and went to Soba-ya. This place is the Japanese jam. We made it to Soba-Ya in time to order the early bird special. This menu item offers various delectable appetizers, hot soba soup with handmade Udon noodles, tempura fried shrimp and veggies, two rice egg roll lookin' things and amazing hot tea. I loved everything (except the egg roll thing) and couldn't get enough of the tea! The whole meal was perfect for the shitty, rainy, cold night that had befallen us.
That night we played two sold out shows at the Mercury Lounge. We had a long night ahead of us and since tying on a sweet buzz isn't a good way to stay awake, we crushed a case of Clausthaler NA. It satisfied the feel of drinking beer while jammin' AND it gave me a sweet headache. Though it may have been more heavily attended, the early show was the tamer of the two. Our 8pm start time is not heavy duty rock hour, instead it was kinda happy hour for a lot of New Yorkers like my cousin and good friends who all came from work. The folks at the later show were more pumped but not everyone who bought a ticket showed up so it wasn't quite as full. In my esteemed and well-informed opinion, both shows were great but the second show was better. But really, how do you pick a favorite child? Granted, I felt pretty stiff and uncomfortable for the first set but after our break, I think we all took on the second set with considerably more rage. I thought it was stellar.
After the show we packed up the van and got some killer slices before we headed to Times Square. Our schedule was to load in to the Don Imus show at 2am, soundcheck at 4:30am and then play four to six songs over the course of Imus' five hour show. Turns out, we soundchecked at 4:30 and didn't have to play until 7:20am. I fell asleep on a couch in the staff office/kitchen/green room but probably only for thirty minutes. For our first song, we jammed "New Friend Jesus" and it felt pretty damn good. An hour later, after meeting and talking to another guest on the show named Larry the Cable guy, we played three more songs. "Honolulu Blues," "Rented Room," and "Apollo Bay," were the tunes an they weren't in that order. Then we sat around the "green room" while we waited for that rotting corpse to finish his show. Click on the photo below to watch part of our performance:

We loaded out in the rain around 10am. The show provided loaders, or it was union or something, so I walked around the block looking for a hot dog to no avail. The only carts in operation were breakfast-y stands. Lame. So I took a few photos instead.

We headed out of town and checked into our hotel, getting about three hours of sleep before we had to get back up and go to Maxwell's in Hoboken. Rainy load-in, Freddy Krueger basement hang and a great crowd. Another sold out show, this time in the legendary Maxwell's. The cheeseburger was good too. The Hoboken PD decided to throw a boot on our van, the assholes. Q showed remarkable perseverance taking care of that issue and getting us home to bed safely. Woke up and drove to D.C. today. Other stuff happened but I'm not in the mood to write right now. Tomorrow I see my family and I return to the land from where I came. It'll be good to be back.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

BBQ Rankings Redux

Franklin BBQ posted this link on their Facebook Social Networking Webpage:

I'm happy to say I've been to almost all of these places in my travels. The Memphis joints are the only ones I haven't been to on account of I've never been to Memphis. I don't really think Austin should be 5th nor should Rudy's be one of the reasons it's a ranked city. Although it's good, Rudy's is a chain and shouldn't be name checked. There are Rudy's all over the state...doesn't count. I think it even discounts the entire list a bit. Isn't Corky's a big chain too? I think I ate there in Monroe, LA. In reaction to this list, here's my revision:

1) Lockhart, TX
2) Lexington, NC
3) Kansas City, MO
4) St. Louis, MO
5) Memphis, TN (faith-based ranking)
6) Austin, TX
7) Nashville, TN