A care package had been delivered to Jim’s house.
It was addressed to me.
My sneaky wife.
A tin of my favorite cookies.
Pretty swell, Lauren.
Jim whipped up a divine breakfast of eggs with avacado & “chiptole” bacon.
It was the cat’s ass.
He then took us on a tour of Poughkeepsie, culminating at Walkway Over The Hudson, a pedestrian bridge offering panoramic views of Upstate New York.
Though some folks would argue that Poughkeepsie is not Upstate New York.
While those people waste their time and their lives on these type of petty, neverending arguments, I’m going to enjoy the view and maybe a samosa from the nice Indian man running the ice cream stand.
Hey, that samosa got me thinking.
What if I built another bridge directly above the Walkway Over The Hudson.
And called it Walk Waaay Over The Hudson.
And I could drop watermelons and firecrackers on all the suckers below on the old walkway.
Then that would decide once and for all what is and isn’t Upstate New York.
Kingston is a town on the other side of the Hudson, accessible by a high speed two lane parkway designed to hit deer and destroy vehicles. It’s all very pretty though. The trees are small enough that when you crash into them, they don’t kill you as much.
Karen The Ex-Roller Derby Queen had set this show up as a last minute fill date, or as they call it at Second City, a “patchco”. The venue – located just down the street from Knightly Endeavors, a Medieval shoppe that sells swords, corsets, and all things chainmail (and insists on using the word Renaissance) – was happy to have us, and in lieu of an opening act, they had an open mic (!).
The soundman began things with some banjo offerings. Meanwhile, Jim’s childhood friends trickled in. The good cheer swelled over the soundman’s twangings.
“You guys are too kind,” he sarcassed when the end of his song was met with catch up conversation instead of applause.
A few more guitarists played solo originals.
For one man, tonight was still Woodstock. With teenage mutant rodent features and clothed in a crimson robe (from Knightly Endeavors no doubt), he cupped his hands to his ears and bounced astrologically to the far out amateur blues meanderings. When particularly moved, he wooshed around the deserted room, spinning in place when the music was just right.
Jim’s mom and I shared wordless giggles about it.
It was not going to be my night behind the drum kit.
During the first song the chain on my hi-hat pedal snapped.
Changeover took a few minutes, during which time it felt like all eyes on the brightly lit stage were silently staring at me – impatiently waiting on the least important part of the band to get back to what really matters.
I had come down with a classic case of drummer’s inferiority complex.
Calling the seat a “throne” and all that.
I tried to make a joke out of it.
“It’s fine, it’ll be all right,” I stated calmly, before psychotically kicking the broken hi-hat to the ground.
It got a laugh.
But after having to readjust the BSP Lounge hi-hat after every song, my attempts at violent anti-comedy (strangling the hi-hat, swearing, yelling) were met with icy, uncomfortable silence.
To make matters worse I had no monitor and couldn’t hear my bandmates.
It was like playing along to a distant hurricane.
Maybe the hippie wizard liked it.
I know Karen The Ex-Roller Derby Queen did.
She did the splits!
While breaking down the equipment on stage, the soundman said there was a final open mic performer. Okay, yeah. So I dragged my gear off stage and checked it out.
A guy with an acoustic guitar demanded a microphone for his djembe player.
He spoke how he thought Bruce Springsteen would speak if Bruce Springsteen were Steven Segal.
After an unnecessarily overwrought soundcheck for an open mic, they stumbled through a shambling Stone Temple Pilots cover.
“…when dogs begin to SMELL her…”
The guy couldn’t even get some of the chords right.
“Close enough” kind of stuff.
Then he babbled through an Usher song.
Something about when he freaks you.
That was his American Idol audition.
Bob Seger followed.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the hippie wizard hanging from a noose.
My curiosity had turned from bemusement to pity.
I felt bad for these guys.
They kept on going until soundman said everyone wanted to go home.
While I resumed packing up drum gear, he tried chatting up Nicole and Karen.
Said he had been sponsored by an energy drink.
They sent him five cases a month but nobody wanted that shit.
Now he was sponsored by a frat liquor.
They send him to Paris and Japan.
He maxed out five Facebook accounts he had so many friends.
He forced his card on Nicole.
“I’m an artist!” I heard him bellow.
His well-meaning djembe player tried to help me with my gear.
The Artist’s voice echoed in the empty room.
“Do you wanna be a roadie or an artist?”
I checked out The Artists’ art.
My pity for him evaporated.
And turned to envy.
After all, he ended up headlining the open mic night, not us.