3/24/09 Philadelphia, PA @ Big Mama’s House
Letters To The Moon
I started the day with half a cup of soy milk and a dumpstered peanut butter protein bar. We all went to Red Emma’s anarchist coffee shop/info shop. The coffee was great so I hyped up with 2 big cups. Their business model: Ethical coffee in an environment conducive to human interaction and the exploration of radical literature. Julie and I sat at a table together and realized we weren’t the best at crosswords. We went through the newspaper and drew on people’s faces instead, finding a shared skill in that.
We piled in the car again, Spoonboy’s bony butt on my lap, and went to Jaba Pot. Lauren, who was at the show, gave us a discount on the delicious Caribbean food. Plantains! Jordon knows the good places for eats.
We took off for Philly around 3:30 with an extra passenger; Anthony. He had asked us for a ride after the Baltimore show. I gave a little time for conversation and decided to take the risk of adding a complete stranger to a 2 hour drive. I figured out we had a mutual knowing of some of the same people. I used that as a testament of character. He had a small pizza slice tattooed by the corner of his eye, another slice on his forearm, and a 40 bottle on his neck. He had knuckle tats so I asked him if he knew Johnny of the band Stupid Party who does a zine called “8 Letters,” all about knuckle tattoos (but so much more, really, check it out). He knew him! That started things off right. Turns out Anthony was a sweet Savannah Georgian boy with a love for the rails, punk rock, and prolonging youth. On the drive we talked mostly about geography, southern / Region Rock bands, and our interests. He does some work with spray cans and sharpie’s. He brought his iPod and played us the pride of Philly, Mischief Brew. We drove through Delaware and I forgot it was a state until that moment. I learned they have no sale tax. Then Anthony interrupted his own musical selection and said, “It’s time for the best band ever.” He sat back. When the chords and horns revealed who it was, we all laughed and sang along. Reel Big Fish. Before turning to Zanax turn to RBF, it will pull you from the depths of depression.
The show was at Big Mama’s, a warehouse space in North Philly that some very cool people live at. They were all down to earth, hospitable, and extremely un-snobby. I was jealous of their large space, save for the cold air the giant room seemed reluctant to let go of. There was a small turn out but it did not matter.
Great Valley from Boston began the show. Their set up was drums and mini keyboard or drums and out of tune guitar. Their sound was minimal and arty with nasally, bellowed vocals. They sounded spooky at times. One member wore a cape with golden sequence. They gave out Dream Crystals. I know that sounds like some hallucinogenic drug, but it was really just a big cubic zirconium crystal tied to a string. If you put it under your pillow you dream along with other Dream Crystal owners.
Local Wisdom Tooth played next. Electric guitar and drummer. His sound to me was a combo (I’m into to combos) of Velvet Underground rock ‘n’ roll and Bob Dylan’s song writing ramble voice.
Our set went well. I liked hearing our voices bounce around the warehouse.
Saint Seneca had good energy and played what I think to be their best set of songs. Everyone is always into them hitting or stomping on the trash bin. It just has the perfect thud tone.
Philly’s own Dragonzord closed the evening. He has a full band but they slimmed down to join the quiet show. They play rock ‘n’ roll. That looks so lame in typing, but that’s what they did. It sounded desperate, one of rocks best qualities and I liked the riffs. I think they are probably better the louder they play.
After the show we were all in a goofy mood. We dance around the cold cement doing our own versions of “The Stanky Leg.” We all picked something up from the Big Mama’s free bin. I became a 12 year old Sears and JC Penny’s model.
Under Peter’s (Algeron Cadwallager) drunk enthusiasm, 14 of us got into Jeremy’s (Band Name) van. We drove to South Philly to the soft pretzel factory. 60’s rock ‘n’ soul blasted. Some had open container (not me) and the van had to be weighed down like dead bodies filled the trunk. We didn’t get pulled over somehow, although 2 cops drove by us, one of which put lights on behind us only to jet around us in pursuit of another vehicle. We parked in the middle of the street, piled out, bought pretzels, and filled ourselves with the doughy delight. We gorged ourselves actually. It was fun to hang out on the city sidewalk, our stomachs warmed with carbs. We drove back euphoric and stuffed. We could only fall asleep the moment we got back, wrapped up in sleeping bags like stinky tour burritos.
In the morning, Marshall and Cat (residents) made us breakfast. Pancakes, coffee, taters, and OJ. I didn’t want anymore pretzels especially because Brendan shoved one into my mouth the moment I opened my eyes to start the day.
We all drove downtown and went to The Mutter Museum. It was filled with historical, medical advancing strangeness. Fractured skulls, things people choked to death on, fetuses in jars, the bones of a giant and a giant colon (ewwww). After the museum we were total tourist trash, running up and down the rocky steps. We paid tribute to the blandest of Hollywood, ignoring the vast art museum behind it. But it was and isn’t Rocky some kind of art?