Friday, April 4, 2014

Buffalo and Blizzard Balls

What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times. We dicked around at the hotel, wasted time with pointless errands, and left Columbus at the last moment we could safely call conscientiously prudent. Almost immediately the cold rainy misery switched to soggy flakes, and then big ass are you fucking kidding me flakes. There was no way to avoid it. The storm was a huge slow grind of a thing. The trip typically would take around 6 hours but we (spoiler alert – skip the next paragraph unless you want to know if we survived) arrived at the club closer to the ten-hour mark. It was one of those deals where you begin to see cars off the road before you realize how slick it is. (How slick was it? Slicker than a snail in a blender) (speaking of slick – we had a conversation about who you’d rather have sex with, Bea Arthur or Aunt Bea? No one chose Bea Arthur, although I think her stern vigor could be quite bracing. I mean, after you’d stopped crying) By the end of the day we’d seen well over 20 cars off the road, although that might even be a low figure. It just sucked. John and Joe did a fairly heroic job because it never let up. By the time we got to I-90 Joe had taken over and visibility was at pre-lasik Magoo level. At one point the passenger side windshield wiper disengaged and began flapping impotently at the end of the relentlessly pulsing metal rod. The only semi-safe place to stop was under bridges. (I can’t tell you how much I hate that song. Tuneless, self-important, sung as if suffering the effects of an auto-erotic asphyxiation gone wrong. Really, other than their cover of "Disco Inferno" I don’t much need any Chili Peppers.) We had to stop regularly to clean off the wipers because they would get so gunked up as to be useless, and each time we just prayed that no one would plow into us. Most times that we’ve been late for a show I’d get pretty stressed, but this time I didn’t even care because it was so harrowing. When we finally approached our exit we couldn’t see it until the last minute and then Joe couldn’t stop the van. We just kept going.

We got to the venue, a really cool place called Nietzsches, and the band before us was already playing. Everyone was so hungry, because we’d never had dinner and it was 10:30, that we ran to a corner pizza place, got fancy-pants slices and croquets, and by the time we got back the band was finishing. We loaded straight from the van onto stage, set-up, and played a middle-slot 45 minute set where we got to just pour all that stress right into the show. It was quite redemptive after the previous night. What a great club for a show as well. The sound guy, I think his name was Gary, had worked their for 20 years. It sounded perfect from the first without a sound or even line check. Raised seats on either side and a place to stand on the floor right up the middle. Cool, dusty, somewhat spooky stuff scattered all over; like an honest to God Weeping Angel.

An observations about our brief time in Buffalo. I know it’s right across the border and all but it really had the feel of being an almost Canadian city. Everyone we met was ridiculously polite and unfailingly helpful. When Lisa took a spill on the ice the town drunk (who would later fall asleep on the bar – raising his head only to help croak out the chorus to “Gloria” that the band was unashamedly using to pad their set) helped carry her stuff back to the van.

After the headliners set, and after we’d loaded up the van, squelching and slipping with every load of equipment, Chuck and I decided to see if we could hit a grey box about the size of a womp rat on the side of the club with a snowball. It was pathetic. At a distance of 20 feet max. we failed like Pickett on Groundhog’s Day, over and over again. (pictorial proof to follow) Then without warning or provocation Joe launched an attack at our heads. Thus followed the first, and likely last, ever Wussy snowball fight where we continued to miss each other at point blank range. Chickamauga it wasn’t. Still, a lovely moment of silliness at the end of a long-ass day.

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