Browsing all 53 posts in CGT Road Trips.

CGT Road Trip Day 11: Amarillo, TX to Los Angeles, CA (03-06-09)

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Near the California / Arizona border 03-06-09

It had been my original plan to only go as far as eastern California on this day but the night before I decided it would be easier to sack it up and put-in another 16 hour driving day just to get it over with. I think I chose wisely.

New Mexico is one of the greatest states in the Union.

Unfortunately, the best parts of New Mexico are north and south of I-40, but there’s still some good stuff on the drive. Every fifty miles the landscape looks different. There’s exceptional hiking in NM. All of New Mexico’s large urban areas are relatively new to being large; there’s lots of development and new construction. The air smells great.

On the flip side, New Mexico’s desert trash are especially weird. Not unlike Montana, a lot of folks go to New Mexico so as to not be somewhere else.


Trash town in New Mexico.

Arizona is another state I love driving through. It’s just simply gorgeous. I didn’t get any good pictures of the areas closer to the Grand Canyon, but at some of the higher elevations you get some really pretty wooded areas.

But before that are climes not intended for man kind, diamond-sharp winds that cut at the face and aim to toss automobiles into the sky like cow patties. Mars on earth is what I mean to say.

Dust storm.

Woo woo!

Just past Needles, CA is the search checkpoint. I understand there are concerns about fruit imports and all, but having my car searched at a domestic border offends my distrust of authority. Especially when the fellow performing this intrusion is a slack-jawed, drooling mouth breather who can barely speak in sentences. You’d like to think border agents would be sharp-witted, savvy fellows. This guy was missing a few gene sequences.

Is there no strip of road in the United States more arduous than I-10 from Barstow to Los Angeles? It feels like an eternity. I actually gasped when I saw the City of Angels’ skyline. It was hard to believe I drove from Los Angeles to New York City and back. Even harder to believe that I’d ever want to be away for so long.

CGT Road Trip Day 10: Indianapolis, IN to Amarillo, TX (03-05-09)

What say you?
Western Oklahoma 03-05-09

After coffee and breakfast with my dad I got in the Urban Blogsault Vehicle, buckled my seatbelt, turned on the engine, then turned on the iPod and…


After nearly four years of dutiful service, my iPod died. I had over 2,000 miles in the car to go with no iPod. This was unacceptable.

Fortunately, the night before I had purchased a couple books on tape and a couple albums for my iPhone, so I had those. And of course everything on the iPod is on my desktop at home. Still, it was a harsh blow to my road trip plans. There was no listening of The Mezzanine Owls whilst driving through the desert at night, nor was there listening to Talking Heads whilst driving through the desert during the day. I did listen to Guided by Voices and The Hold Steady a lot, because that is what was on my phone.

I am still debating whether to invest in an iPod classic or not.

During this day I listened to The Lost City of Z. I highly recommend it. It’s all about Percy Fawcett‘s search for Z (El Dorado) and how his disappearance in the Amazon jungle captured the minds of other explorers from his time to ours, and the countless expeditions into the Amazon to search for clues to his disappearance that have ended in death. The writer himself travels to the last place Fawcett was seen. Great book.

The Royal Geographic Society is a weird thing. I think the human race was fundamentally more interesting before we’d mapped the globe.

The four hours from Indy to St. Louis are a breeze, but it’s in the Ozarks where one begins to go mad. They’re kind of fun to drive because the landscape is all kooky, but here in the lesser-traversed regions on Missouri is the shelf where god keeps her broken toys. I tried my hand at the local radio and — I am not exaggerating — I picked-up Rush Limbaugh on two FM stations and three AM stations. Perhaps we should exclude some people from society.

Oh, and here is something strange: While driving through The Ozarks I twittered: “Hope not to get eaten by The Ozarks, a realm of death and shadow.” And somehow immediately The Ozarks Redcross twittered back!Dont fear the shadows. Your #RC is here for u – even n the Ozarks! (But a flashlight never hurts – dont forget xtra batteries! =)”

How did they find my twitter? Who was sitting there, waiting to respond? Presumably the Red Cross has someone there so if someone twitters “OMG I got hit in intersection. Any 1 help m3?” they can respond. But it was a creepy reminder that nothing is ever private anymore, especially if you’re twittering publicly.

Lucas Oil Stadium with RCA Dome rubble in front of it. GO HORSE!

Illinois. They didn’t have a Star of David or Crescent Moon.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Arch. Arch who? Arch you glad we didn’t stop in St. Louis?

The Ozarks. Ooga-booga.

Oklahoma is one big cattle farm. A cattle farm that sets itself on fire sometimes.

Smokey Okies.

The northern tip of Texas is one big cattle farm / speed trap. See, Oklahoma has its speed limit at 75mph. New Mexico has its speed limit at 75mph. Texas knows this and they set the limit on I-40 for 70mph in day and 65mph at night. Knowing that many I-40 travelers do their driving at night, they bank on you missing the hard-to-see signs (the 65mph night signs are black, of course) and then nail you for going 10-15 miles over the speed limit. Fuhr-ners pay the state speeding tax. Brilliant!

This is precisely what happened to me and the state trooper’s execution of his duties could only be described as clinical. He wasn’t an asshole cop so much as a an automated ticketing service. Worst of all, I was only 30 miles away from stopping for the night.

CGT Road Trip Day 9: New York City, NY to Indianapolis, IN (03-04-09)

What say you?
Indianapolis, IN 03-04-09

As I left New York City I was listening to the New York parts of the American Revolution in 1776.

This part of the drive was almost entirely without note. Destination: my hometown of Indianapolis where free room and board awaited me. It was an awful day of driving, mostly because I had a pain in my lower back that drove me mad. I could do nothing to ease the pain as I had to continue to drive. I imagine it was what “stress positions” in Guantanamo are like. You know what caused it? An over-stuffed wallet in my right back pocket.

Flyover territory.


Back home agaaaain in Indiaaaanaaaa,
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candleliiiight, still shining briiiight,
Through the sycamores for meeeee.
The new-mown haaaay sends all its fragraaaance
From the fields I used to roam.
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
Then I loooong for my Indiana hoooome.

CGT Road Trip Day 8: Pittsburgh, PA to New York City, NY (03-03-09)

What say you?
The view from Roosevelt Island 03-03-09

I actually started heading towards NYC the night of the HCP show in Pittsburgh. I had hoped to knock-off about three hours in the dark but only managed one before I was really exhausted and collapsed in a Super 8.

I spent this leg of the trip listening to 1776. I liked it well enough. A little flimsy but it makes George Washington a very compelling character.

Pennsylvania is a great state to road trip through. There are all kinds of hills, valleys, mountains, tunnels, streams, rivers, and so forth. Most entertaining; however, are the ridiculous town names. This is a matter of “Original 13 States + Quakers / Amish”.

Tee hee.

There’s a gajillion of these things in Pennsylvania.

I’d not been to NYC since 8th grade, which was the only reason I decided to stop-in for a half day. The first thing I did was get on the Manhattan Bridge by accident. The second thing I did was get lost in Brooklyn. I listened to Paul’s Boutique while doing this, so it could have been worse.

It costs a lot of money to go to New York City. I don’t mean it is an expensive place to eat and shop. I mean it costs money to enter. Toll roads, tunnels, bridges, parking… these things mollest the wallet of all who wish to enter. This is unreasonable. I’ll take the California taxes over entrance fee shenanigans.

New York Drivers are, in fact, insane. You know where else in the world they drive like this? Third-world Romania. Los Angeles is Autotopia compared to New York City. I was sure I would get in an accident. Not until I understood that I should drive as though I were playing Grand Thef Auto was I able to navigate The Aboniable Asphant Arteries of New Amsterdam with relative ease.

This civillian has chosen to armor his car.

I stayed with an old friend on Roosevelt Island. We took a train to the West Village and had dinner at Fiddlesticks. I ordered the chicken pot pie which was delicious but not a pie. It was chicken filling with a pastery patty floating on top. The deception was forgivable due to the maddening flavors of the dish. I also had real New York Cheesecake.

Following that we went to the Fat Black Pussycat and watched some awful kareoke. I really wanted to participate but they were lacking in power-pop anthems and new wave classics, the only two kinds of kareoke I do.

I did not have the chance to engage in any Williamsburg hipster nonsense. I don’t think I could live in NYC, but it has its own unmistakable aura. You breath history just walking down the streets and while Los Angeles has diversity, you can hide from it. The streets of NYC are truly filled with people forced to live right in each other’s faces, and I suppose that has its charm.

The Henry Clay People (w/ The Airborne Toxic Event) @ Mr. Smalls (Pittsburgh, PA) 03-02-09

What say you?
Mr. Small’s (Pittsburgh, PA) on 03-02-09

Mr. Small’s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is an old church converted into a music venue. It’s an all-ages joint and due to Pennsylvania law the bar must be sectioned-off from the underaged patrons. This meant that half the crowd was relegated to the back of the room, an unfortunate arrangement that makes for perilous playing conditions for the lesser-known openers.

The Sin Partition.
Mr. Small’s has a fancy green room.

Only the best craft services for The Airborne Toxic Event. PB&PBR Sandwiches!

The crowd composition of this show was weird, resembling a neighborhood fish fry more than an indie rock show. Middle-aged Pittsburgh ladies and factory-workin’ dudes mingled freely with teenagers and even children. Few came in the costume of the hipster du jour; most were dressed in simple t-shirts and sweats. It was reaffirming, actually, to know that the normals can appreciate good music. (This should not have come as a surprise, of course.)

The sound during soundcheck was atrocious, with the kick drum intent on ruining everything. Somehow it was tweaked for the live show; however, and the Pittsburgh show was perhaps the best-sounding set I heard The Henry Clay People play on this tour. There were stage shenanigans and loose edges, but I’ve not seen the band play so professionally before. The flimsy, non-curious crowd was still as statues throughout the venue and The HCP kept their stage tricks in the bag (the chanting in “Digital Kid” was edited-out during the song due to lukewarm crowd behavior).

“Taste of the Tasteless” was animalistic, as was a closing performance of “Working Part Time” that featured Airborne Toxic Event guitarist Steven Chen in a guest role. (This was the second night in a row Chen played on the song and it looks to be a regular thing for the rest of the tour.) The set was not the grand-slam goodbye I might have liked for my last night on the tour, but this was no fault of the band. The Henry Clay People played mightily, it was a crowd uninterested in unfamiliar songs that cast a slight pall over the set.

The guys in the band were proud of their work for the evening and let the lukewarm crowd response slide off their back. There will be other shows.

Set List:

Something in the Water
This Ain’t a Scene
Taste of the Tasteless
The Good Ones
I Was Half-Asleep
End of an Empire
Digital Kid
Working Part Time

Steven Chen (The Airborne Toxic Event) joins The Henry Clay People for “Working Part Time”.

After the set I drove Andy Siara to a place to pick-up sandwiches. I myself could stomach not the greasy salvo of intestinal demolitions that was the specialty of this establishment: cheesesteak sandwiches with fries and coleslaw on the sandwich itself. All brave souls who ate this unholy alliance of foodstuffs proclaimed it to be “awful”.

Steelers fans with money. Ugh.

I thought I was going to die here.


Notes on The Airborne Toxic Event:

The Airborne Toxic Event absolutely killed it. An untrained ear would not have known that Mikel Jollett still struggles to repair his voice.

Mr. Smalls had filled by the time they took the stage and a congregation of folksy fans were fervorous in the joyful noiseplayed on stage. If only you could have seen the scene: hoodrat youngsters in the front and middle-aged middleclassers in the back, all swaying and dancing and grinning for a Silverlake, California indie rock outfit. If the studio audience for an Oprah taping decided to take-in a show at Spaceland it would be no less surreal.

Bassist Noah Harmon had relatives in the crowd and in the middle of the encore he stopped to thank them personally, making reference to a tragic loss the family recently endured. The tribute was touching. Instead of inviting all fans to the stage for “Missy,” the final number of the evening, The Airborne Toxic Event instead hoisted-up the youngest fans in the house onto the stage. If The Airborne Toxic Event aim for catharsis the they will never do better than employing small children with mohawks in their service.

CGT Road Trip Day 7: Columbus, OH to Pittsburgh, PA (03-02-09)

What say you?

At the Columbus show The Henry Clay People met an airline pilot named Sam who offered us his home for the evening and day after. Sam and his wife live in New Albany, a suburb of Columbus, and their house is gorgeous. Lots of places to sleep, a pool table downstairs, a small practice space, and the most relaxing shower I’ve had in years. Conversation about music (The Clash and The Replacements dominated discussion) went on into the early morning, assisted by Mythos beer and Knappogue Irish Whiskey which was more or less forced upon us all..

Everyone got showers and solid sleep. In the morning Sam’s wife made us a terrific breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausage, sticky buns, grapes, banana bread, orange juice, and toast. Pittsburgh is a short distance from Columbus; there was no rush to leave so everyone got to take it easy all morning. (Including much-needed rest for bassist Jonathan Price who had gotten sick.) I myself got an oil change for the car. Others lounged around watching Eastbound and Down, and most everyone took advantage of one particular luxury: solid Wi-Fi.

Sam the Pilot, in his early middle age, had an instrument fetish as many fellas of his demographic do. Before we left he brought down some fancy guitars and Sam, Joey and Andy Siara, and Mike Hopkins played cover songs. Tom Petty, Weezer, The Cure, The Descendents, and The Stiff Little Fingers were played, as were numerous classic rock songs that I should have recognized but did not. Getting to see The Henry Clay People and friends jam-out just for kicks was a real treat. The Siara brothers have amazing creative energy and spirit when the play for a crowd. They have that same energy and spirit when they play for no one in particular, which I found to be inspiring.

The drive to Pittsburgh was a short three hours. Joey Siara rode in my car and it took us no less than five minutes to get separated from the van for the duration of the trip. While we were wandering aimlessly in rural Ohio and Pennsylvania I conducted a 50-minute interview with Joey. He talks about the meanings of some songs, the nature of rock and roll, some of the things he’s gone through on the tour, and his philosophy and goals for The Henry Clay People and music in general. I’m not sure what to do with the interview just yet, but it’s got some great stuff in it.


West Virginia, I think.

The approach to Pittsburgh from the south is the most impressive approach to any city I’ve visited. The whole city is concealed by a small mountain. You take a tunnel through the ancient rock and when you come out on the other side a massively tendriled urban necropolis reveals its awful size, sunk into a black body of water. Pittsburgh is old. It’s infrastructure crumbles and creaks if you so much look at it and traveling through the wizened old sprawl I could have sworn I heard deep, troubled voices whispering their discontent to me in the long-forgotten languages of time, their tortured complints emanating from the stone and iron that makes-up Pittsburgh’s grotesque architecture, glorious and terrible in its intimidating size and complexity. Pittsburgh picks the flesh of urban planners from its teeth with the bones of government engineers. Woe is she who tackles the City of Steel with the aim of improvement.

Steelers fans’ homes. Ugh.

The Henry Clay People (and The Airborne Toxic Event) @ The Basement (Columbus, OH) 03-01-09

What say you?
The Basement (Columbus, OH) 03-01-09

The Basement in Columbus, OH is most certainly basement-like. It’s a long, hallway-shaped venue with a basic bar (no local beers to sample) and a tiny pit. I would guess the capacity is about 300 or so.

All of the bands were late arriving and doors were delayed for soundcheck. Some fans managed to get inside before doors and The Airborne Toxic Event soundcheck was practically a three song set.

The Airborne Toxic Event soundchecks or lucky fans.

The Henry Clay People gave a vintage performance that brought to mind the band’s earlier shows at The Echo in Los Angeles, loud rock n’ roll by way of power-pop, fueled by alcohol. (“This was the most drunk I’ve been for a show on this tour,” guitarist Andy Siara told me.) It wasn’t an especially sloppy set, though “Working Part Time” was a beautiful mess. “Andy Sings!” was played really well, the best it’s sounded since The Henry Clay People ceased to be a seven-piece.

I stood in the back of the pit for most of the set and watched a number of people, mostly young folks, begin the set by appearing disinterested in such straight-forward rock music and ending the set remembering how much they love rock n’ roll. It’s starting to look like when The Henry Clay People have a cult following that “Digital Kid” will be their anthem.

Andy Siara told me that due to stage lighting the band could not see past the tiny pit. To The Henry Clay People it felt like they were playing to a smaller crowd and I suspect that had a part in the show’s intimate characteristics. It was the first time since I’ve joined them that Joey Siara went into the crowd for “Working Part Time.” Baptizing himself in a sea of flesh, Siara converted everyone around him to the Cult of Clay. (Claynation?)

The crowd responded well to Joey Siara’s wit, cheering-on a reference to Guided by Voices and heartily laughing at his jokes. They loved him as much as his fans in Los Angeles love him. Joey told me it was “one of the best crowds on the tour” and both brothers ranked the show as one of their favorites, superceded only perhaps by LA and Portland.

It was also one of the top three merch sales nights thus far.

One last note: the fan who knew The Henry Clay People’s songs in Chicago was at this show tonight. His name was Rain, he’s from Lawrence, KS, and he was following The Airborne Toxic Event for almost the same stint of the tour as CGT. (This was his last show.) He knew the songs in Chicago because he’d seen the show in Minneapolis.

Set List:

Something in the Water
This Ain’t a Scene
Andy Sings!
The Good Ones
I Was Half-Asleep
End of an Empire
Digital Kid
Working Part Time

Notes on The Airborne Toxic Event:

The Airborne Toxic Event continued to improve their new arrangements. “Goodbye Horses” was a smash hit with the Columbus, OH crowd. I got the story on that one, by the way. Airborne guitarist Steven Chen moonlights as a DJ in Echo Park and the original version by Q Lazzarus is a favorite of his to spin in clubs. He brought it to the band when they decided to do a cover song for the tour and they took to it instantly. The song is now one of the strongest in their arsenal.

Personally, I thought the last third of their set was a bit lacking (at least compared to the night before) but their fans appeared to feel otherwise.

All during the opening bands’ performances, members of The Airborne Toxic Event could be seen moving about the venue (or at the merch table), seemingly chatting-up everyone in the room. The Basement did not usher-out patrons immediately after the show and The Airborne Toxic Event stayed to meet fans, sign merch, talk, and take pictures for at least thirty minutes after they’d finished. Here’s a band that works just as hard to give fans their money’s worth, if not harder, before and after the actual music.

CGT Road Trip Day 6: Chicago, IL to Indianapolis, IN, to Columbus, OH

What say you?

Saturday night I crashed with The Henry Clay People at a Wicker Park brownstone of a roommate of a friend of a cousin of a band member (or something like that). A few guys went out late, I myself showered (it had been two stinky days) and crashed early on the floor to steal a precious five hours of sleep.

We left Chicago in a snowstorm. This is why The Middle is abominable.

Indiana was… Indiana. Sigh.

Michael Jackson was not in this squad car.

Everyone was exhausted for most of the drive. Nobody was cranky, but energy needed to be conserved for the show. There’s not much to report in terms of the trip, except that I got to buy some fresh Fair Oaks Dairy milk and cheese, and this is the best thing to happen to me on the road trip so far.

You don’t understand. You can’t buy milk like this in New York, Austin, or LA.

Half-way to Columbus we made a stop in Indianapolis, IN, the birthing place of His Bloggership. It was strange to see The Henry Clay People walking around the scene of my youth; the LA and Indiana realities seldom collide, usually separated by superstringed quantum physics.

Naptown represent! The I-65 approach.

The reason for the stop was a LaundroMatinee recording session. I got to meet Dodge of My Old Kentucky Blog. He’s incredibly friendly and his music knowledge is on-par with the Aquarium Drunkard king Justin Gage, who released The Henry Clay People’s record For Cheap or For Free. It is no coincidence then that the two are good friends.

Adding hometown flair to the stop: we borrowed a drum kit from Tony Beemer, drummer for America Owns the Moon and singer / guitarist for Those Young Lions, who recently drew 500 people at The Vogue. Tony and I go back to our high school days at Broad Ripple, the neighborhood where the recording session was held. His two bands are awesome and sometime this year I’ll be helping them get some shows in Los Angeles.

Going in, I was nervous. Everyone looked and sounded beat. But, being the consummate professionals, they turned it “on” just long enough to perform and then crashed to earth as soon as they finished. It was fun for them, though. The band recorded “The Good Ones,” “Digital Kid,” and “End of An Empire”. I think one other.

Broad Ripple Avenue. Tha’ Rip is the Silverlake of Indianapolis.

Afterwards, lunch at Jimmy John’s. Otherwise, the day’s travel was without significance.

Columbus, OH.

CGT Road Trip Day 5: Minneapolis, MN to Chicago, IL (02-28-09)

What say you?
Minnesota 02-28-09

The first order of business, the most important order of business, of the day was to go visit the house seen on the cover of The Replacement’s seminal classic album Let It Be.

Hey Joey? “Are you satisfiiiiieeeed????”

Following that early morning tribute, the caravan hauled-ass on the seven hour drive to Chicago. The path to The Windy City is day a frozen hell conceived from the harsh imagination of Odin, a veritable penguin paradise. Our march was not for mating, but for rock music. Morgan Freeman did not narrate. If only!

Wisconsin was classic Americana terrain. Is it cheesy to say so?

Mouse at the Cheese Chalet.

Moo. Forever.

Henry Clay People guitarist Andy Siara.

We made excellent time and promptly burnt it at a Portillo’s just outside of Chicago. Portillo’s is the metaphysical definition of “Chicago”. Greasy meat, cheese, and bread. When the Henry Clay People’s manager asked if they had a veggie dog, the manager rudely responded, in an unpleasant manner only befitting of a Chicagoan, “Yeah. Bun and condiments.”

Unpleasant staff aside, the food was a triumph of both culinary art and colonary destruction.


The Henry Clay People (with The Airborne Toxic Event) @ The Triple Rock Social Club (Minneapolis, MN) 02-27-09

What say you?
The Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, MN 02-27-09

The Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, MN is a great venue. It has a fairly high proscenium stage with a pit sunk into floor and a second level, maybe three feet higher than the pit, behind with a railing. Like the Troubadour in Los Angeles, it has a bar in the venue and a bar in the front. They served food. The burger was fine. There was a Galaga machine but we had no time for challenges.

The front bar.

Here’s a special that’s “special” alright.

The house.

The Brothers Siara act like brothers.

Can you guess which beer belongs to which band?

During soundchecks I had a chance to catch-up with The Airborne Toxic Event. Their soundcheck was long because a number of songs had to be put in a lower key with added background vocals; Jollett has not reclaimed the full range of his voice just yet. But the band was warm and friendly (as they always are) and seemed to have a terrific attitude about Mikel Jollett’s failing voice. They’re happiest when they’re playing and were thrilled to get back to work.

Despite the fact that Airborne took a long time to soundcheck there was plenty of time left for The Henry Clay People to perfect their own sound. I got tingles listening them run through “I Was Half Asleep”. Even if soundchecks don’t focus on the performance aspect, there is something special about being in a private audience of about two or three.

The Henry Clay People soundcheck.

Doors opened at 9pm. Good, decent Minneapolis people filed-in: thirty-something men and early twenty-somethings of both sexes, predominantly. The show sold-out and the house was packed by about 9:45pm.

Doors open.

The Henry Clay People stepped onto the stage without fanfare. They introduced themselves with a warm rendition of “Two By Two” and slid effortlessly into “The Good Ones”. As they finished the song I spied a few beer cups raised into the air. “Taste of the Tasteless” sent heads bobbing and small pockets of patrons dancing, not three songs into a set played by a band they knew little about.

When Joey Siara told the crowd that this show was a Replacements pilgrimage for him, they were his to keep. Vociferous cheers — no, battle cries — erupted from all corners of the venue. For the rest of the set there was genuine cheering and applause after every song. Eyes squinted, mouths spread across faces upturned, and the necks and shoulders of most everyone in the pit shimmied and shook without awareness.

Of the handful of times I’ve seen the new lineup this was arguably the best-sounding set. Songs flowed into each other without seams and the four horsemen of the rockalypse played as one.

The finest moment was “Digital Kid”. Revelatory. When Joey Siara looked to the crowd and asserted “You’re going to save rock and roll tonight. So put your fists in the air for the Replacements and take back rock and roll!” an army’s clenched fingers launched into the air without hesitation and a chorus of voices rose-up, chanting the battle cry “You can take it back… you can take it back. You can take it back…”

The Henry Clay People are the best band in LA. Obviously, His Bloggership can’t be more than one place at once, but I have no doubt that on Friday, February 27th, 2009, The Henry Clay People were also the best band in Minneapolis.

After the set an Airborne Toxic Event who staked-out a front-and-center standing place requested Siara’s guitar pick. Another fan asked for the entire band to sign her CD. I spoke with others who had checked-out the opening band on myspace and made sure to come early.

This was an unfamiliar crowd and The Henry Clay People earned their affection. No doubt, if these people had been familiar with the songs then The Henry Clay People would have also earned their love. If they can get their music out there to raise a battalion of Henry Clay Persons they will already have a small militia of fans in waiting, ready to sign-up and serve.

Set List:

Two By Two
The Good Ones
End of An Empire
Taste of the Tasteless
This Ain’t a Scene
I Was Half-Asleep
Something in the Water
Digital Kid
Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)
Classic Rock Medley
Working Part Time

Notes on The Airborne Toxic Event:

Before The Airborne Toxic Event played I talked to a fan named Doug. He’s a premed student who drove all the way from Fargo to see them play. His brother, a soldier stationed in Hawaii, had initially turned him onto the band and when Doug saw them perform on David Letterman he decided he could not miss the show. He told me what all fans of The Airborne Toxic Event say: the band’s ability to relate and remain personable with their fans is one of the biggest drawing points. Guitarist Steven Chen personally responded to an email Doug wrote and the gesture endeared them to him.

Early in the set Mikel Jollett seemed to struggle some with the key changes. Then he asked the crowd to help him sing, turning the weakness into a strength. He made the sold-out crowd his friends and all three-hundred of them were more than willing to help a friend in need. By the time they came out for the encore of “Does This Mean You’re Moving On” and “Missy,” the entire pit was in a fervor. Out of 12 or so Airborne shows it was the most animated I have ever seen the crowd.

One last thought: Their version of “Goodbye Horses” continues to melt me. I’ve contemplated a hunger strike until a studio recording is made.