3/29/09 Worcester, MA @ Distant Castle
Letters to the Moon
Kristina made us pancakes with little banana slices flying like UFOs in the batter. It was delightful. We had a slow coffee Connecticut morning and I didn’t really mind.
We drove to Worcester, MA for our first day of tour as LTTM/AMERICAN WAR/ and the legendary ANDY GARDNER.
New England has a feeling. A misty rain, foggy, historical feeling. The prestigious institutions of education are sensed near by. To my surprise, because I knew nothing about it, Worcester is a fairly large city, complete with a confusing downtown. Polar pop is made there! Here’s to striving for sugar caused cavities. Through a series of guesses, we made it to the Greyhound station to pick up Matt and Andy. They were happy to see us after a 14 hour bus ride. The city has a grit to it and an exhausted feeling. Still, it barrels along.
Worcester is steep hills to the point of humor, steep to the point of the world’s greatest sledding. The huge late 1800’s houses are weathered and boat like, going up with the hills. One such house built in 1909, is filled with 11 energetic, inspiring people. It was where our show would be. We were warmly welcomed. I got a tour from Annie P. of rooms tucked in bigger rooms and towering lofts almost like an extra floor in certain bedrooms. Art supplies filled one room and music equipment filled another. Annie lives in a closet under the steps. Let’s just say they made use of the space they had. We had to mark or heights outside of a room with sharpie amongst scattered parallel black lines and nick names.
The wooden floors are lucky to hold such life. The walls are art and flyer covered. The house featured a stained glass window with a majestic owl on it, installed by house member Lars who has learned the trade from his father, who he currently works with. Bulk bins and buckets give hints at communal living. A full house means a lived in house far from dullness. A rotating cooking and cleaning schedule on the wall showed that Theresa was up for cooking. She was kind enough to include us in the meal.
As we waited for a meal, we were advised to try Brazilian coffee at the bakery down the hill and around the corner. I thought it was something we would have to specifically order off of a menu, but the way you try Brazilian coffee is just by saying “Yes” to the lovely young lady behind the counter in regards to anything she might like to add to the coffee. Tons of sugar, cream, and vanilla. As if we didn’t have enough sweet, we got a huge slice of Yuka cake. We sipped and ate while men watched soccer in the adjacent room. It was a cultural experience.
Later, we leaned forward and worked our calf muscles up a hill to Greenhill park. The bare and crooked tree limbs cutting through the park’s fog were spooky signs of certain death. The crest of the hill looked like the end of the world, or at least like if we went over it, we would see a Chronicles of Narnia-esque battle going on in a valley. Of course we ran up and over, screaming out loud.
We returned to the house and to a huge table filled with handmade Gnoke, homemade pasta sauce, and the perfect garlic bread. We ate with most of the house members. It was like being at dinner with a new extended family, except it was okay to say things like, “My vag itches” at the table or tell a story about poison ivy on your penis. Our tablemates embraced uniqueness and strangeness. They seemed to be pirates for it. It took us a moment to climb on board, but welcoming people make it easy. The near future held dancing to Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” on the creaky living room floorboards.
The show took place in the big basement. One side was for bike repair and wood work, the other was for rocking out. House members Spirit Lion began the show with weirdo-pop, clanking drums, and stoner riffs. A line from a song was, “A hedge is neither hedge nor hog.”
Next was White Crime from North Hampton. They were non-sense twanging on an out of tune (purposely) guitar. It was more for percussive strums. A simple but solid drummer held it together while the singer yelled and spat out spazzy screams.
American War took a seat in the living room and played his first ever out of Ohio show. He was nervous and barely said a thing. His big voice filled the room as he sang. I think his throat is an elastic pipe with bits of gravel being ground in it. His songs settle nicely in the ear and his lyrics are easy to relate too. He plays powerful folk pop with an Oldies rock tinge to it.
Lisa and I closed the night and sang loud. I compared our music to the Brazilian coffee, mostly sweet stuff with just a little dark kick here and there. It was a very personal show. A girl was knitting while we played and made a bracelet with a W for Worcester on it for Lisa. The audience caught on to our “Woahs” and I gave them the go ahead to sing along anytime they heard one. They were in to Woah-ing. We hung out a bit after our set and then retired, each to our own couch in the massive punk hostel.