Sunday, July 24, 2011
And I don’t know why I am smiling, but I’ll have you know it feels so good…
my favorite part of “carolina” :: bms @ nick’s pub, worcester, ma :: june 16, 2011
So… Black Mountain Symphony.
Wow. I’ve spent a lot of time with them lately.
Back in June, I went to Albany to see them play at Valentine’s Upstairs with a band called the Landlines. The Landlines are kind of a bluegrassy, folky kind of band down to the banjo, so I wasn’t really expecting to hear “Story of My Life” during their sound check. I can say I was more than pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded. They actually played a pretty good set and I ended up getting their demo. The only downside was that they didn’t bust out the cover during their set - I would have loved to hear it again! (The only reason they’re kind of important is because some of their lyrics have affected me and some recent decisions. If I get around to it, there will be more on that later in another entry.)
Orion wasn’t there that night, so we were treated again to Colin’s musical stylings. Charlie even played with them! He and Annie shared a mic, which was really sweet until Annie took him out with her bow. Fortunately, she missed his eye! Lesson learned: don’t lose yourself too much in the music if you’re sharing the mic with a violin player! They played both “Stop Stopping” (which, no matter how much I love it, I am bound and determined to call it by the wrong name!) and “Upstate.” “Upstate” was interesting - I’d never heard it with the drums before. I do prefer the acoustic, drum free version, but hey they’re kind enough to play it for me. There will be no complaining here! I was touched that they would do that for me. We were joking around at one point and I think it was Bill who said that if I drove three hours to see them, I deserved to pick the playlist. That wasn’t the exact phrase, but you get the idea.
Then, I saw them again in Worcester like a week after that on a Thursday. They’ve played Nick’s Pub before and it’s an odd little venue. Bear loves it there - they have a piano for him to play instead of the keyboards. I bonded a little bit with Robyn (a friend of the band who made the trip with them) and watched her hula hoop to the music. A) That’s really brave of her when you consider I will barely sing along or dance when I’m feeling exposed in the crowd and B) I wish I could move like that. I’m too stiff and uncomfortable in my own skin when it comes to stuff like that. Rollz, however, hula hoops pretty well for a dude. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - I really like when he loosens up. He has a great personality, but he can be so damn quiet and introverted at times that it’s frustrating.
I skipped their Friday night show in Turner’s Falls and headed to The Spot Underground in Providence for Saturday’s show.
Holy fucking sound man, Batman!!! I have NEVER heard them sound that good, and I have been to shows with EXCELLENT sound men. This guy was completely insane. (Even personality wise - he was a trip to talk to. The stories he told!! He’d been around a while and hung out with some crazy celebrities when he was a bartender.) Their opening act sucked. It was a guy on the keyboards and a drummer. I’m sorry, but he was definitely no Matthew Ebel. He sucked so bad that it hurt to listen to. I try to be kind to the opening acts - after all, they’re trying to make their way as well, but I really have nothing nice to say about these guys. (Speaking of Matthew - after hemming and hawing over it, I’m going to the VIP Beer Bash! (This is important too. I’ll circle back around to this.))
Oh! Crazy sound guy aside, I apparently wrote “Ready or Not”. I wonder if the Fugees will ever send me a royalty check for using my words to fuel their hit single. If Bill says it, it must be true, right? I did give the band my blessing to perform it whenever they want, but Rollz has to do the vocal. *grin*
I may not know the band members intimately (take that as you will. *ahem*), but I do love spending time with them and getting to know them more and more at every show. I am definitely blessed that they have taken me in as one of them… and I will never forget that.
Last night, I was in North Adams, MA at this little hippie hangout in the Berkshires. It’s a good thing I love BMS so much - that was a DANGEROUS trip. Sharp curves, steep grades, distracting scenery… Pretty drive, though. Anyhoo, it did come out that they were indeed the inspiration for Guinness’ name. He’s a black and tan, my favorite cover they do is “Come Out Ye Black and Tans”, it’s Irish, Guinness is an Irish beer. Logic 101. Orion may have thought he was joking when he said it, but he was right on. I didn’t mean for that to happen, but it did. I’ve named pets stranger names for stranger reasons. In a weird bit of synchronicity, our cat Charlie was almost named Bruce. Annie’s boyfriend, Charlie, calls her Bruce. I didn’t know that before yesterday. How freaking random is that?
I was talking to Bill after the set and we were talking about how we met. It was decided that I was their biggest fan. Following in Rollz’ footsteps (the first super fan), the next logical step is that I join the band. Annie guessed that I played the flute which was really kind of scary. (My mouth gives it away. Uh… OK.) I actually do think a flute might make a nice addition, but driving to Albany for rehearsals would be a deal breaker. *grin* We also talked about having a BMS t-shirt made for me. The front would say BMS and the back would say “Yes, I do drive all the way from New Hampshire.” A nice nod to my introduction to the band… We were in Albany, it was the night instrument gave me control of their Facebook group, and D kept telling Bill that I came all the way from New Hampshire to see them. When BMS came to Connecticut, Bill remembered me as the girl from New Hampshire.
The bar had a tip jar - no cover - so I made sure I went to a bank in the box and got some cash just in case the tip jar turned out empty at the end of the night. I’d forgotten all about it when the tip jar was out, so after the show when Bill was tearing down his kit, I slipped some cash into his pocket. He fought me about it before he even knew how much. I came to the realization a month or two ago that we have money. (So that’s what those funny pieces of paper with the numbers printed on them signify!) Not tons, but enough… and no heirs to leave it to. I’m going to spend what I have (while putting aside plenty for retirement, of course) supporting the people who mean a lot to me now.
After the show, Bill was handing out the funds to the members. He realized that he had more than what was in the tip jar and pulled my money out of his pocket. Yeah. He pretty much lost his shit when he saw that it was $40. He kept saying no - it was enough that I drove 3 hours to see them. I told him to just shut up and say thank you. In the end, he kind of realized that he wasn’t going to win this battle. (It may have been when I threatened to kick him in the nuts if he didn’t shut up and take it.)
I don’t know how to tell him/them how much the music means to me. How much their acceptance of me means. And I certainly don’t know how to tell them how much I really enjoy the road trips to see them. I get such a thrill when I see them perform (even if I don’t look like I’m enjoying myself, I am). $40 is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I would have given them more if I thought they would accept it.
In the same vein, I ponied up the funds to become a VIP at Matthew Ebel’s subscription site. I didn’t do it for the extras - I did it because I really enjoy his music and he’s found a novel way to support himself. His subscription site allows him to be a musician. Not a carpenter/musician, a musician. To get to be a part of this is actually kind of humbling.
You can’t put a monetary value on the kind of pleasure I get from their music, from their friendship, but you can bet your ass I’ll keep finding the funds to keep them going.