The drive to Boston is its usual snail paced trot. Gun Hill Road is always a false point of alleviation. Rubberneckers love it when garbage trucks catch fire. Why keep driving? Gotta see how close you can get to the disaster without your own car catching fire, right? Connecticut nevers lets us down and continually earns its title as "The Parking Lot State." The band begins logging Wiley's food consumption in a serious attempt to get closer to his secret. The link can be found in The Others under HJWV Diary of a Foodman.
After a solid six hours the band finally arrives at The Middle East. At this point, The Black Hollies deem it fitting to conduct a Zagat-esque survey/rating of every fine bar, arthaus, nightclub, restaraunt, roadhouse, and crabshack in which the band is slated to perform with the sole intention of doing a service to bands across the land because in the end, "Even though we spent $75 on alcohol and only got paid in Twizzlers, at least WE PLAAAYED."
This is how it works. The venue receives an overall star rating out of five possible stars. The factors the band will consider are the following.
1.)Sanitary Conditions of Bathroom:
Whether a particular bathroom is "shittable." Does it lock? Is it without proper stall coverage? Do you need your bandmate to stand guard outside the door? Does it only offer cattle trough style urinals? Are there feces on the toilet seat? Did that special wild man, aka Yarnix, really have to piss in the sink right before your very eyes? The condition of the bathroom will be properly documented with before and after photographs.
How friendly is the bar/wait staff, doorperson, sound mixer, promoter, etc? If offered, how good is the food? Are the beer taps dirty? Dude, we can't pay you tonight but we'll gladly buy you a round of PBR. Is an actual dog or cat tapping the kegs behind the bar? If your rider is crossed out with an X and faxed back to your booking agent just settle for getting high on life that night. Smiles and a good all around vibe go a long way especially when you have the shakes.
Are you performing on top of five milk crates that are still standing from when Die Kruezen rolled through in '83? Are you singing into a microphone that wacky Robbie, the loose-cannon front man from the opening band, just had to rub on his ball sack? Is your greenroom the bathroom?
The Middle East in Cambridge, MA, is a top notch venue all around. As a result, the venue is rewarded a 5 out of 5 Zagat-esque rating. The entire staff did their very best and were hospitable. The cook actually came inside to watch The Black Hollies perform a couple of songs. The bartender, Roger, recommended the lamb cous cous as the restaurant's primo fare. The dish was outta sight, perfect amount of spice and the lamb fell right off of the bone while not being too gummy. Dick from The Prime Movers, our main man upstairs, was incredibly welcoming. He greeted the band with a positive vibe and offered sage-like advice with regard to touring in general, recommending that the band get over to France and Spain ASAP. DJ, the sound mixer, was a true professional throughout the entire night. Mark, the door person, was friendly and prompt in settling up with the band at the end of the night. The other bands on the bill, Nudity and Scout Niblett, were an absolute delight. And the bathroom held strong for the entire night. The Black Hollies would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to The Middle East. The band can't wait to come back in June opening for The Lyres.