Friday, November 10, 2006

nov 9 the best and the worm

posted by Majestic Ape at 9:49 PM

Nov 9 The Best and The Worm

On the way out of Atlanta, we get an oil change for the van, and make a stop at a Walmart. The drive to Birmingham, AL is only 2 ½ hours and we gain an hour because of the time change. I am driving and the boys fall quickly asleep. The weather is absolutely glorious and there is no other place I would rather be at this moment. Its warm, the sun is just starting to set and the landscape takes on an awesome golden glow that only accentuate the already powerful colors.

When we stop at a Wendy’s to pee, I observe two teenage girls inside the restaurant. They are wearing clothes that reveal as much skin as allowable in public. Seeing these girls for some reason, reinforces my current feeling that everything in my life that it happening at this present moment, is exactly as it’s supposed to be.

The good mood continues as I drive into Birmingham and arrive at the club. There are two people sitting on the porch outside the BottleTree, a new venue in Birmingham. I had already heard that this club was excellent and our first encounter with its staff members, affirms this. Brad approaches the van and tells me where to park, where to load in. The van will be safely parked out back. We will have an easy load in and easy access to the van all night. Check one and Check two.

I back into the parking space in the alley and come very close to the gate when parking.

Erick says in his ugliest voice, “Nice one.” The good mood is gone. I’m totally sad, hurt, and now on the defensive. That piece of shit never drives, never says thank you, and only tells me what I have done wrong. I decide I will ignore him completely for the rest of the night.

We exchange a few “fuck you’s” and load in.

We are greeted by several people who introduce themselves, shake our hands, smile, and explain their role in our lives for the next several hours. They are full of sincerity and warmth.

The club is clean, stylish, and has a great sound system. There is an airstream camper attached to the lounging area for bands. The airstream has beds, a refrigerator, a DVD player, lots of DVD’S, books, magazines. The lounging area is full of magazines of the type that band people love to peruse. This club is clearly run by someone who was or is in a band. Then we meet Brian. Brian has been in bands since the early 90’s. We bond with him quickly and learn that this is his club. We sit around and trade stories until its time to order food. We are given options of buy-outs of carry out food. They will go pick it up for us and we don’t even has to pick food from the same restaurant. The club has wireless internet, tea, coffee, and toilet paper. I will be moving in.

We sound check and the stage sounds are pretty fantastic. Every tone is clear and not deafening. The music is just loud enough to get your excited. Since Apes and Slits are the only two bands tonight, we are allowed to leave our equipment set up. A screen is lowered in front of the stage and a movie begins to play.

The food comes and Brian continues to talk to us while we eat. It amazes me, in our community of musicians, how you can meet someone and in five minutes, you totally have a complete understanding of everything they have worked for or not worked for, for a major part of their lives. There is no competition. There is no definition of success. You aren’t sizing each other up for strengths and weaknesses. You are simply sharing and enjoying the company of a stranger and have an understanding of each other that is far greater than any blood relative could ever have, unless they too, have lived your life.

At some point, the wicker screen that separates the bound lounging area from the outside bar and we hear, “Hey! Hey!”. Its Mike B. He has arrived.

I say jokingly, “Hey! How’d you get past security?” and everyone exchanges greetings.

Erick and/or Jeff go to the front bar to talk to him. I stay in the back and talk to Brian. I stick my food in the frig for later.

Just before ten, we change clothes in the airstream. Brian comes to talk to me about how I want the screen lifted and says we can wait till 10:15 to start playing as the Slits haven’t yet arrived from their motel.

Tonight no one in the audience calls me a bitch. People laugh at my jokes and I feel the love immediately. We have other friends in the audience. Busch Gardens Emily from Florida is here with her boyfriend. We also later meet a new friend, a guy named Chris, who dances passionately right up front, the whole time.

The show feels great. After the set, people are just showering us with gratitude and compliments but I think its only because of them, that we played well. Mike B. says he loved the new songs. This guy knows his music so I suspect this is a good thing.
The Slits are sitting in the lounge area when we get back there. We greet them and they start to get ready to play. They seem pretty content with the club as well. I hope their stage sounds are good for them since they will only do a line-check and their line up isn’t the easiest to EQ.

When they start playing, they do have some trouble with bass hum but the crowd seems to love them as well. I feel like they are also rising to the occasion with their performance. I’m excited to see Adele smiling and singing. We both drank vodka before their set.

When they are about halfway through their set, I go to the lounge to eat my dinner. I had ordered grilled mahi mahi over a green salad. I ate about 1/3 of it while talking to Mike B. He had come back to the lounge. At some point, while I am eating, I take a bite and experience a bizarre crunching and this horrible bitter taste that I couldn’t associate with any food like substance I have ever encountered. I spit into a napkin and there are about ½ of a strange looking bright green segmented worm.

I’m disturbed. I have been reading more books on foraging for wild edibles and have just learned that eating bugs in the wild IS NOT a good idea. They are FULL of thousands of dangerous bacteria and should never be consumed raw.

The bottle of vodka is sitting in front of me. I take a giant swig, start swishing it in my mouth and that burns like shit. I spit that one out, and take one more swig for swallowing.
This is the first time I have had any alcohol on this tour. What I do for worms.

After the show is over, people are in the back, talking to us, talking to Slits. We are doing autographs, taking photos. Adele and I escape to my van. She is teaching me a new skill and we practice. 2 minutes later, Erick knocks on the window.
“Get out. Emily wants to do pictures.”

I say, “Later.” He comes back two minutes later. I give up and do the photos. Its not a big deal. Adele and I will talk more before we start heading for home on Sunday.

Brian is hosting us in his home for the night. The guy runs the club and then he takes the bands home. How amazing is that? He drives with us in the van back to his house. He directs me into the alley behind his house and there is a very awkward steep turn that I have to make to get into his yard. I get in the space without incident. There are mild concerns about how I will get out of it. He tells me that many bands have been stuck because they can’t reverse with enough momentum to get back up the hill. I will deal with it in the morning.

His house is awesome, too. His girlfriend and business partner, Merilee, had gone back earlier to clean up for us. His whole upstairs is designed for hosting bands. There is a comfortable mattress, a full sized futon, and plenty of floor space. After everyone goes to bed, Brian shows me the computer that has internet access and we end up talking till 5 am.

In the morning, Brian decides to accompany us to find food. I remember the odd driveway but I’m sure it will fine. It is not. I don’t clear the fence and sort of hit the concrete wall. I do some weird maneuver and slide into it again. On the third try, I’m free, and there is a small dent in the front of the van. No major damage to the fence. I just feel really stupid and Erick and Jeff help me feel worse.

Then when we get to town, for some reason, I can’t back up straight to park, and scrape the curb, 3 times. The boys are shrieking. I feel like a total ass.

We go to the health food store/restaurant that we ate at when we were here last year with Modey Lemon. I know this place will have plenty of vegetables, and un-fried options.
We sit with Brian for over an hour, still talking, still trading stories. We finally head out to Baton Rouge around 2. I will say that the BottleTree is the best club I have played in the United States. All BANDS! Go to Birmingham! Play the BottleTree! Say thank you and be grateful!


Blogger joly said...

One wonders just what skill Adele is imparting..


12:03 AM  
Blogger Amanda Ape said...

Buddhist chanting

12:20 AM  

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