Want show address / info? Fill out this form and it will be sent to you tomorrow evening. Assume a 7pm-ish start time. Assume central Edinburgh. All else droppeth on the morrow. https://forms.gle/1tPnSGyNDxvTRbAc6
This Friday I’m singing in Jacksonville for the first time in…honestly not sure, six years maybe? Crazy. Anyway, I’m getting a bunch of requests for details. Here’s what I can share.
Venue: The Moasis Time: 7pm (early show, early curfew) Cost: $10 at the door Lineup: FLORIDA SMASH HITS opens, EMPEROR X closes
“BUT CHAD, WHERE IS THIS ‘MOASIS’ OF WHICH YOU SPEAK?”
It’s a private location, which is why the folks who set it up and I are being so conspiratorial about it. If you fill out this Google Form I’ll make sure a robot sends you the address a few hours before the show. (It’s in central Jacksonville, so you can vaguely plan a bit at least.) https://forms.gle/w57KgMDaKzLeHprp6
You can also DM any of the other folks posting about this show for the address (but not me, I’m terrible at DMs.)
I’m gonna be writing the finishing touches of an essay on challenges to cosmopolitanism in a library prior to the show. BTW @RyanWasoba helped me fix my voice with his hospitality. LALALALALALALALALALALALA.
Woke up: 4:00 a.m. in Park Slope, Brooklyn at a friend-family’s home, the kind of apartment that seems more like a living story than a building, the kind of apartment with books and records and instruments hidden in every corner, the kind of apartment that feels like a labyrinth of ideas and memories that no one who didn’t live there to co-write the living story will ever be able to access. Also, there was a noise in the backyard that phased in and out like two airplane motors, and I was not sure if it was two populations of crickets trying to sync up or two A/C fans.
Journey time: 3 hours: MTA to Amtrak to a local bus which I was delighted to see was actually a dedicated right-of-way rapid busway. Impressive, CT Transit.
Breakfast: There was a very legit bagel place on the corner by the friend-family’s home. Everything bagel, toasted with tomato and peanut butter and onion. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, snob. Five stars.
Incidents of note on journey:
At Penn station, escalators go down to the track and people snake around in a long line before boarding this escalator. One of the Amtrak officers stood over the escalator, leaning over us, and berating us positively. “HEY, bring that ENERGY to start your day. If you don’t bring it, no one’s gonna bring it for you. STOP checking that phone, you can find out how many likes you got later. HEY, you pack that bag? Heavy, huh? Well, remember, YOU packed it.” No one was enjoying this but me, and I found that very puzzling. New York’s still got it.
I spent $25 on a Metrocard and it didn’t work, so they gave me an envelope to mail to someone to get my money back.
On arrival at the closest bus stop, I still had to walk about a mile down a pretty green formerly-industrial canal, pictured above. I also had to pass a very enthusiastic display of American flags and white-painted flower boxes intended to memorialize war dead.
The lone crosswalk in Forestville emits an alarming beep when it turns green. It sounds like something is very, very wrong. This is probably meant more for the cars than the pedestrians: “DO NOT KILL THE PEDESTRIAN.”
Lunch: A 12-inch tuna sub from Subway in the middle of a grocery store parking lot. Calling it bleak would be an exaggeration for car people, but as a pedestrian it was fairly punishing. I worked on LUH papers again.
Soundperson’s name/shirt color: Jordaan, also the promoter and a very stand-up kind of guy, also his birthday. Shirt was black. He also had a collection of radioactive clocks.
Dinner: I ate pretzels the promoter put out to make people more thirsty and buy more beer.
Partial Setlist: The Anthem of the Greater McMurdo Station Chamber of Commerce Freeway in Heaven Tanline Debris The Crows of Emmerich Spieltier A Violent Translation of the Concordia Headscarp …kind of blanked out in the middle… Stars Defiance
Incidents of note during performance: There are many pianos and piano harps in various states of disrepair strewn about the factory. For the last few songs, I asked people to follow me down a hallway where I found one of the most playable pianos and finished the set in the semi-darkness there. The piano was out of tune, it was dark, and I had no contacts in, but I managed to Muppet-fist my way through most of the chords, and it felt really really good. But when I was done, I turned around and was cornered by a bunch of people I didn’t know at the end of a hallway in a decommissioned factory, and no matter how much my conscious brain told me the context, it felt really alarming.
Sleep: 00:30. Going into it I knew this was gonna be a fun one because I had no plans. Fortunately, Jake from CT neo-Swirlie-ites Pulsr was on hand. We listened to some music, he let me crash, and in the morning he gave me a lift to the New Haven train station through extremely heavy rains that slowly turned into minor flooding.
Days off (06 and 07 September): These were mainly spent making progress on my LUH papers, so I won’t document them.
From a laundromat in Chicago (more about that tomorrow),
Woke up: 2:45 a.m. in Brieskow-Finkenheerd and getting out of bed took more will than any other rising in recent memory. But the sky on the walk to the train station was ore clear than I have ever seen it, and the silence was deafening, and I was happy.
Journey time: 16 hours, but 7 of it was spent just chilling in Amsterdam.
Breakfast: two pretzels from Ditsch in Berlin-Gesundbrünnen.
Incidents of note on journey:
I was in line for passport control in Amsterdam. The train manager walks up to me and says that I can’t get on the train with my guitar. This is of course absurd; I had been on trains with the same guitar for the past two days. I told him so. He dug up a very obscure regulation that COULD be interpreted, if you tried really hard, to mean that musical instruments are expected to be in a “case,” that mine was not (because it’s small and doesn’t need one), and that I must therefore choose between missing the train and leaving my guitar with him in Amsterdam. Clearly just screwing with me, but was dead serious about it too. I told him there’s no way I could find a guitar case in the train station in 10 minutes. He pointed at a worker changing a trash bag, and said, I quote, “I don’t know, find one of those people and get them to give you a trash bag. I don’t know man. Not my problem.” He turned his back on me but guarded me from getting in line for passport control. I was really seeing red; it’s hard to get me mad, but whooweee, when you do, bad news for chill vibes. I kept a lid on it and went downstairs, begged a bunch of people for a trash bag, got a worker to give me one, said thanks profusely, ran back to the passport line. Guy looked satisfied — perversely so — and let me through.
Amsterdam is full of psilocybin shops with really really grumpy hippies playing psytrance. Disappointing. Smartshops I’d seen in smaller Dutch towns are great — clean, minimal, feels like being in a store that sells perfume and science equipment.
Amsterdam is absurdly cute. Even the tough parts are cute.
The host-promoter and her wife gave me a tour of the park in Crystal Palace where the eponymous trade hall used to stand. I was blown away. See pictures above. I don’t associate London with this kind of half-ruined grandeur (and an RC race course!) and I was very grateful to see it.
In CP a guy was playing bad pseudo-rave out of a battery-powered PA at the top of the stairs to a dog and three goths.
Lunch (previous day, in Amsterdam): Green drink and spicy tofu burrito from Albert Heijn (excellent Dutch supermarket chain). Ate it in the transit hall at Centraal, whose ceiling is covered in an irregular grid of mirrors with beveled corners. Exquisite.
Soundperson’s name/shirt color: Beatrice, dark blue with a small print icon I couldn’t quite identify
(3-minute ambient improvisation)
Freewy in Heaven
Wasted on the Senate Floor
The Crows of Emmerich
…a few others I can’t remember…
God Save Coastal Dorset
Right to the Rails
At a Rave with Nikolas Sarkozy/Schopenhauer in Berlin
Incidents of note during performance:
This isn’t an incident, it’S a tendency I note that I’m realizing is a big part of my motivation for touring this way. I compared the properties of concerts in traditional mid-sized venues like the one I played in cologne a few nights previously and this one — a vintage clothing shop buried in an alleyway with a soundsystem mainly used by the proprietor to play her rad steel drum hip hop records. One difference tonight highlighted was an inability to escape the awkwardness of being in a room full of people with whom the only thing you can be sure you have in common is music. In a dark venue, lights focused in saturated reds and blues on the stage, saturated mood sounds from the PA providing cover to avoid the need for conversation between songs, it doesn’t feel intolerable to stand next to a stranger and say nothing. In a smaller environment, undarkened, unfilled with spectacular (in the Debord sense) sound, conversation with people you may not know becomes an awkward requirement. Lots of people who didn’t know each other talked this evening, and this can be challenging, especially for folks in Gen Z who tend to struggle with anxiety.
I MET SOME PEOPLE IN THE THE ZOOMER E.X CONTINGENT! For some unknown algo/viral reason, my following online has more than doubled since 2019, mostly from younger folks. This is a huge source of joy for me because it indicates that something in my music short-circuits generational gaps. This has long been an explicit goal of mine (“I make music for the future, not today,” etc.), but it’s even better than I’d planned and doubly nice because, since I’m still active, I get to enjoy it mid-career instead of not enjoying it posthumously. The people who show up at my concerts are a very particular kind of awake, and I’d like to get to know them better because I think I could learn a lot from them.
Dinner: The promoter bought me a falafel. I’m spoiled for falafel in Berlin, but it held up. Respectable falafel.
Sleep: 00:00 in my pal’s flat in Stoke-Newington. Slept great.
Day off: Woke up late, headed for airport, slept more on plane, watched three moves:
Everything Everywhere All At Once I took detailed notes and have thoughts on all of them. Will put that in the next show report if there’s room.
Breakfast: half of a börek my friend Sebastien gave me.
Incidents of note on journey:
It’s a long story and I’m not going into the whole thing here. Let it suffice to say that I was carrying my contact lens in a shot glass with duct tape on it for most of the day, and it kept leaking into the backpack. Finally got a real case in Köln.
On the walk back to Köln HBF after the show, I took a wrong turn and walked in a huge circle around central Köln. Lots of partying college kids were about, doing boring loud things.
Soundperson’s name/shirt color: Boris/light brown
Setlist: False Metal Freeway in Heaven Wasted on the Senate Floor Sad React Compressor Repair (request) Erica Western Teleport The Magnetic Media Storage Practices of Rural Pakistan The Anthem of the Greater McMurdo Station Chamber of Commerce …some others I’m forgetting
Incidents of note during performance: In “…Rural Pakistan” I sometimes stomp on the floor on 1/4 notes at the end while I say “GONE. GONE. GONE.” to exhaustion. The stomping sounds like this: BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM. This works best on a wooden or metal stage with a hollow cavity beneath, which is usually true. I wanted to do that tonight, too. But some stages are solid, and when you stomp on them, it just sounds like this: pt, pt, pt, pt. I didn’t check what kind of stage I was dealing with before the show, and I really go for it to stomp, and I’m being all dramatic and wrapped up in the song, and when the beat hits…pt, pt, pt. I just screamed louder though, it was fine.
Dinner: I missed an opportunity to steal an avocado from the Lucy Dacus dressing room so it was just bread and a piece of ginger while I walked.