Thursday, October 1, 2009

All Tomorrow's Parties

Nothing about NY is boring. Even a 13 hour flight, a 5 hr stop-over and then another 5 hr flight is none short of a thrilling adventure when the Big Apple is in sight. I even managed to survive through a Sandra Bullock film without wanting to shoot someone, and I didn't completely mind that my dinner looked and tasted like someone shat in a plastic container, covered it in aluminium foil and put it in the microwave. And thus with high hopes and dreams we arrived in JFK airport at 5:45 am 9th of September!
A Big Red burn
The excitement wore thin when I realized we would have to wait until a reasonable hour for our driver to take us to Brooklyn where we would be staying for the next two days. So in the few hours that ensued we had an awkward conversation about sex, early teenage-hood, being bullied and who thought who was a lesbian when the band first started. I decided to listen to my ipod and by the time the car arrived the topic of conversation was a little less cringe-worthy. After about 26 hours of exhausting travel and mind-numbing conversation we finally arrived in Brooklyn, sat down to an epic American diner breakfast and then spent the rest of the day waiting for Oscar the Grouch to jump out of a trash can.
Welcome to NY...
That night we played our first show in New York at the Bell House. Our first show overseas in fact, supporting our good friends and fellow Australians The Drones. Our set was a somewhat underwhelming 40 minutes for such a milestone in the life of Bridezilla. The whole thing was a bit of a train wreck and I'm just thankful no one tripped over or fell asleep on stage. If The Drones were tired they certainly didn't show it. Gareth informed the audience that he had bronchitis and yet I've hardly seen a man perform with more fervor and energy. I've also never seen a man spit so much - the audience didn't seem phased by the potential health risk. Post-show Holiday and I invested in some quality photo booth-ing and then caught a cab home to our favorite mother figure Monica's where we drank hot cocoa and watched Glee. The rest of the band and Neil stayed in a hotel in a "ghetto", according to a disgruntled Daisy.
The sweet life
The next morning bright and early we headed to Baeble music to play a mini acoustic set. The songs were followed by an awkward interview in which we revealed way to much about our stupid selves. Daisy told the interviewer that we'd all "rooted" each other ("root" being Daisy's favorite word). They obviously didn't think it was news worthy and edited it out. After the interview Millie and I had a minor tiff on the footpath with our manager Neil interjecting "just because you're in New York doesn't mean you need to yell in the street!". Sulking, we went our separate ways to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city that never sleeps. In the few hours we had left before sound-check for the evening's show Josh, Holiday, Daisy and I wandered around the streets of China Town and Little Italy. Daisy bought a NY Yankees hat which she wasn't too embarrassed to wear and Josh got his picture taken beside some crude street graffiti. We arrived at our venue for the night, The Annex, sometime around 6. It was a dive bar with a stage the size of my double bed. Apparently it was being transformed into a sports bar the next week and this was why, the in-house sound guy informed us, no one would invest in a sound system that worked properly. Our show was looking promising. In the end it wasn't as bad the various pre-show hurdles may have suggested. Someone from one of our favorite record labels came to watch and we all quivered like school girls awaiting test results. Eeeek!
Daisy's NBF
PART 2: ATP. The next morning Holiday and I woke up more excited than ever. Today would be day 1 of ATP, the sole reason for our journey half way across the globe. The prospect of playing with some of my favorite bands ever was pretty much blowing my mind and I couldn't wait to get there. After a confused cab ride we tumbled out of the car at the correct destination just in time for our tour bus to Monticello. The trip was scenic and enjoyable and we ate some delicious bagels bought by our charming sound engineer Aaron. Arriving at Kutsher's Country Club, home to ATP NY, was a like stepping into a 70s time warp. The pink and peach oasis that was the hotel and venue boasted lavish wallpaper, porridge roof, carpeted walls, chandeliers and grand pianos. I've never experienced anything like it. It was like a scene from a David Lynch film. In fact I wouldn't have been surprised if I were to bump into him there - just after arriving Holiday shared a lift with Jim Jarmusch, he was lost and she showed him to his room. After checking out our rooms I headed downstairs to catch Dirty Three's set while Daisy took a seventeen hour nap. Holiday and I danced up the front to Suicide while Millie and Marty wimped out due to the ear-throbbingly/heart-poundingly loud drum machine. Alan Vega grabbed his crotch and sang 'Cheree' while Martin Rev bashed the keys with his fist while looking like synth punk's answer to the Terminator. Incredible! After Panda Bear jet-lag regrettably got the best of me and I went to sleep missing out on The Jesus Lizard and David Yow's mock-jerking on-stage antics. The next morning we awoke and ventured down to the catering for breakfast. The food was distasteful and Millie accidentally picked up one of the middle-aged waiters - "we were just talking about orange juice and before I knew it he was asking me on a date!". I ate my breakfast across from Alan Vega. Seeing him eat scrambled eggs with his wife and son seemed a little incongruous with my images of his pelvic thrusting the night before. All the while Martin Rev dined at a table by himself. In fact he spent the whole weekend wandering around the hotel on his own in his track pants. By 12 o'clock we walked down to our stage for another sound-check. I had some stern words with the lighting guy about our vehement objection to green lights on stage and we then proceeded to engage in a technical discussion about the various shades of green. I got lost some where between viridian and chartreuse. He was very friendly and indulged our little quirk assuring me that there would be "no green"...maybe only a "hint of teal". I gave up. I think the show was good, it's hard to know. Either way I witnessed more head-nodding than I've seen at all our collective shows in Australia. I saw Daisy do out her acclaimed violin-playing back bend mid-set and this is always a good sign. I couldn't really see what Holiday was doing but she seemed to be having fun. Millie was super cool as usual. She always has new dance moves up her sleeve and this time I found my concentration waning as she whipped out her most recent invention "the squat and bum-wiggle" (as Daisy christened it). Josh was wearing a proper suit for the first time. He looked dashing! It's certainly a big improvement on the sneakers, pink tights and purple grandma shoulder padded skirt suit he once sported...not to mention the infamous "poo suit". He played well too. After a whirlwind set I walked off stage feeling a little disillusioned that all our thoughts and hopes over the previous 6 months had been channeled on the last 45 minutes of our lives that we had just lived...and that it was now all over. Feeling a little numb and lost for words I went back stage to our pink and carpeted parlor and melted into a chair. When our grumpy Scottish manager Neil walked in with a relatively decent sized grin on his face I knew we'd done well. For the remainder of the day I sold merch with Holiday, wandered around by myself making friends, ate an 'Asian-inspired hot dog' because it was the best thing on offer, met Bradford Cox and got really nervous when I realized I was standing in a lift alone with Animal Collective. The best part of my day was probably dancing to tunes by Kutsher's elderly and resident casio keyboardist 'Frankie'. The lobby was near empty when Frankie turned to Holiday, Daisy and I questioning "Have you ever been to Rio?". "No," we timidly responded - "Well I'll take you there!"....We spent the next 5 minutes grooving on the empty dance floor to the best rendition of 'I go to Rio' I'll ever hear. After packing up Frankie kissed my hand and gracefully exited the premises. The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur, and we all (except Daisy who was asleep...again) have a million different stories about the various antics of the evening. After Deerhunter and Animal Collective Holiday and I played tambourine while Bradford Cox jammed on the grand piano near our hotel room. He had a hard time fighting off an over-enthusiastic punter who insisted on playing Broadway musical style renditions of Gorillaz 'Sunshine in a Bag'. Millie and I had a water fight and then danced in the bar, the other bar, the lobby and then by the lake in between frequenting our hotel room which by this stage had transformed into a party destination for Dead Meadow and our friends from Sydney. I left after almost coughing up a lung due to all the passive chain-smoking I was doing and tried to find Holiday to no avail. For someone with a reasonably conservative reputation I was surprised to hear the next morning that she had been busy rubbing David Yow's pot-belie, doing daggy dance-moves alone in the bar with Martin Rev at 4am, accidentally hitting members of Animal Collective in the face and crowd surfing hotel room parties. I got a little worried that night when we couldn't find Josh and then got even more worried when I heard a rumor circulating that "the drummer from Bridezilla had been arrested." I bumped into him the next afternoon in the lobby. He had ended up in the wrong hotel so decided to sleep there anyway...and no, he hadn't been arrested...?
The Lake
The next morning, sleepy and spent from the previous night's escapades, Daisy Millie and I wandered downstairs to purchase some bagels from the Kutsher's gift store. While negotiating the difficulties of spreading creme cheese from a tube we met the artist Gary Baseman while on his morning jog around the hotel grounds. He drew Daisy and I our very own pictures...
Over the course of the next few hours I supposedly walked in on Daisy and Marty while they were 'being intimate' (although I have no memory of this), bought an ATP shirt because it had our name on it...this was a little embarrassing, watched Caribou and their 3 drummers and regretted not watching Boredoms and their 9 drummers. Daisy and Millie took lots of jumping photos by the lake with Antipop Consortium's manager before Daisy unsurprisingly went to sleep just as The Flaming Lips started. Holiday walked in on Daisy with her pants down and Josh took a note from Daisy's book and had a 17 hour nap. The Flaming Lips were entertaining but most of my concentration was taken up by the new laser someone had just given me. I think the same can be said for the other couple of hundred people in the crowd with lasers. I usually really like The Flaming Lips but it's probably not a great sign if someone is having more fun shining a laser on your ass than listening to your music. After the show we played a few games of pool and air hockey. Neil's vicious side came out, I've never seen someone hit a hockey puck with such vigor...Holiday lost about 10 to 0. Millie and I danced in the lobby for a while with Sleepy Sun and then ventured into the bar for some more dancing with Holiday. Finally Neil dragged us off the dance floor and up to our rooms for some much needed rest sometime around 4. We complained the whole way like children wanting to stay longer at a birthday party. I feel pretty sorry for Neil having to manage us sometimes. And that was that. ATP was over. (Written by Pia)

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