Wednesday, April 30, 2008
AS220 Providence, RI
The band arrives in Providence with an incorrect address for the venue. We shimmy 'Ol Bluetooth into a tight alley where we believe the optimal load door to be. Ferrante performs what the band refers to as his aggressive walk through in order to make assertive contact at the bar. Myself and Wiley are ten paces in tow. I witness Ferrante mime words to a barman in the distance. Upon looking to my left I immediately notice a 10X12 framed collage of oiled up full-frontal musclemen bearing scholngskis. Wiley and I exit in accordance. This bar is not the venue AS220. Ferrante figures it out and exits shortly thereafter. We later find out it's a gay bar called Shakers not unlike the name of female go-go bar and IRINA Agency host, Shakers, in Carlstadt, NJ.
The band obtains new information from a toothless man wearing army fatigues. The live space for AS220 is two blocks away. We arrive at the actual venue and decide it imperative that the band attempt to hock its beaded cab-driver seat cover as a result of it being more hinderance than comfort. (Three days earlier the band decides to jettison a jumbo citrus air freshener that emits what is refered to as an "old person's bathroom" scent which heavily relies on unused fragrant soaps from the early 70's. In the aireEntering AS220 there hovers an apparent odor of onions, vinegar, and human musk, not unlike the fragance one might encounter attending a Buzz Oven show in July at ABC NO RIO circa 1992. The odor is of unidentified origin.
We meet space manager Mike at the door. The bar and restaurant seem to be a separate establishment. I inquire with bartender Susana about food and drink for the band. She informs me that drinks are half price and the kitchen is closed. Luckily we were given a gift from someone we met in Seekonk, MA, the previous day, a 5L mini-keg of Heineken. The first pirority after unloading the gear is obtaining ice, as the band travels with a portable cooler bag. The van doubles as a bar and the band doesn't anticipate a problem with setting up their own bar on stage as opposed to buying half price drinks.
The two opening bands play deafening experimental noise scapes of warfare to the smell that still hovered in the room, divisive.
As 11:30 rolls around the The Black Hollies set up and commence performance to a thin but extremely appreciative crowd of about nine, including MIke the friendly space manager and Frank the helpful sound mixer. A few people dance to the songs while both audience and band are more than appreciative. It is equally important that a band perform as gracious for few as a band would many. In the end, the night proves fruitful in performance aspect yet deteriorative in financial aspect as The Black Hollies receive nada dinero. No stranger to gate sales proving a bit short come evening's end, the Black hollies attribute the low turnout as resulting from the people of Providence, RI, getting word that the band's cover of Your Better Run by The Racals is in breach of AS220's "No Covers" policy.
The bathrooms are clean and the stage is spacious. AS220 vibe is not uptight or lacking humor just a bit dry. Zagat-esque sleeps on it.
The band's day off is spent discussing eschatology. The day also marks Justin Angelo Morey's first stint as headlining act for Palestinian Bluetooth's, "What 'Choo Gonna Do? Drive! Fest." Ferrante, the festival's usual headliner had to cancel due to a Wine Spectator's all expenses paid trip to Austria where he is slated to receive the magazine's "Critical Appreciation Award" for his poignant descriptions of Austrian Reisling's bouquet. Wiley serves as main support in the shotgun seat which also marks his first appearance as a driver/co-pilot.