08 May 2008

Nedstalgia: 15 Years Ago (part 2)

Albany 6 May 1993
part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4

part 1 (5/5/93) here

The next night was back in Albany, back with my friends up front... Beth and the other girl who's name I can't remember and that other dude who would disappear after a while only to be replaced by another batch of crazies. Crazies like me. Seemed like I was the constant there for a while.

Anyway, this show was a more solid effort from top to bottom, underappreciated perhaps due to the lack of the entire Aquarium Rescue Unit coming on stage and dropping their proverbial trousers. But the second night, the band was all around more adventurous. A blistering Fluffhead was a standout from the first set sandwiched by some nice jamming in Llama and Possum. At that point the tenor of the evening changed when a couple bluegrassers on fiddle and guitar hopped on stage and led the band through some traditional numbers as well as a unique take on Lawn Boy. Two nights in a row, two sets of guests, two completely different directions. How could you not love this band? Apparently, the tale was told, was that the band (or maybe just Trey) had met these guys on vacation and casually said something like "next time we're in Albany, come play with us." So they just showed up at the stage door sometime during the day like lost puppies looking for a gig. Luckily for us, I guess.

The second set started off strong with an early Tweezer to get the room nice and smoky. But my real memory came in the Mike's Song later on. The great thing about Mike's back then was the combination of the smoke and the strobe lights and the trampolines. The band would be raging behind a thick cloud of smoke and when you were up front you were "in the cloud" as I like to say. There was a distinct smell to that smoke that still gives me the "sick shit is coming" chills when I smell it, not to mention a weird chill. On top of that Trey and Mike were bouncing to some celestial clock on their tramps. All this while strobe lights played some sort of reverse synesthesia on our souls enhancing the sound and possibly firing our synapses for us. So essentially, for those of us up front at least 4 if not 5 senses are being triggered at once and the result is spontaneous combustion. At least it was for me. On this night, though, things got strange. Midway through the jam a figure appeared between Trey and Mike and then when the sound of a fiddle entered the mix, I realized it was Dick Solberg joining along for more fun. This guy was a trip as he started jumping up and down -- tramp-less -- between the two trampolines bouncing and playing in time with the rest of the gang. With the smoke swirling around the entire outfit, it was perfect. As the cloud started to part, the dog chased its tail into a sweet jam centered on the Beatles' "Ob La Di Ob La Da." What a moment!

It was unfortunate they didn't build on that little jam, because Solberg was obviously game for anything. Still, the couple more bluegrass numbers they rounded out the set with were pretty nice and tidied up a real sweet two-night stint in Albany. Of course, the band would come to relish the two night stand in the New York State capital and, we can argue, played some of their best shit there. But those are stories for another day...

1 comment:

weirleshen said...

love it man! though I'm too young and missed this era, I appreciate being able to read about it

possum: doh!