Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Adventures in Davis (aka Dear Band, You Suck)

Holy Crap, America. The Chop had a helluva time up in Davis this past weekend. Let me tell you all about it.

Part 1: Panhandling

We decided to head up in the mid-afternoon, in hopes of promoting the show that evening on the streets. The Chop had never been to Davis, and had no clue what type of situation we were walking into. We had been told that G-Street Pub was really small, but also about the only cool place to play, so we were unsure of what we'd find at the load-in, and we wanted to try and pull in a crowd on our first try in the town.

We brought about about 50 CDs to give away and our jank acoustic for street performance. This was something discussed and joked about at length, but not actually rehearsed or planned in anyway, and a first for The Chop in any case. At first we roamed the streets surrounding the bar, singing (whatever came to our heads, really), and banging on tambourines. The sweet thing about Janko (our guitar) is that it's so small, it does not require a strap, and one can easily navigate an unknown burg whilst strumming emphatically and belting out Weezer lyrics all at the same time.

We finally settled into a nice spot in front of what looked to be a cool record store (please note, America, we did not actually go into said record store). Stationary pan-handling turned out to be the way to go. Johnny and Phil bounced happily around on the streets, taking on the duel job of singing along and handing out the discs to promote our show. I think we impressed some newly-minted fans in the (highly sought after) 7-10 year old girl demographic. Once we got a little more settled in to a spot, we cranked through some classic Chop numbers like "Carry the Wood", "Life in the Bars", "Taste of Luxury", and the infamous "Reggae Taste of Luxury". Unfortunately, it was determined that upstrokes do not a reggae version make, and we resolved to only try that again with drum kit intact. But...we actually made some money! Phil music-talked a guy for awhile, and he gave us a sawbuck for the effort. Yes!

We sang some more, managed to give away all the CDs, and James toiled away at a small handout (the show was still a few hours away) while Tom gave a shot at some harmonica on "Oh Yoko". Finally, we decided to go wait at the bar for our slot to come up.

Part 2: The Bar

G Street Pub is a pretty cool place. There's a decent-sized stage, a backroom with pool and arcade games, a patio area, and they sell deuces of New Castle at the bar (for more on the phenomenon of deuces in Chop-culture see "The Use of 22oz New Castle Bottles as Currency, and Other Staples of Early Chop Behavior." McKinley, et al. 2005).

We rocked it. Hard.

Part 3: The Crowd

Was the most polarized we've seen. The folks in Davis were really split on The Chop. This was made particularly poignant by the fact that we all agree we played about the best we've ever played. In other words, remove any onstage flaws or fuckups from the equation, and you get a really intriguing look at how we were received solely on the basis of our songs and our style. The response was really strong in both directions. For instance...during the final bars of Walkie Talkie (our last song of the evening), a guy who was apparently displeased wrote his thoughts on a bar napkin and delivered it to the stage. We saved it as our very first Hate Mail...

Then, directly in opposition to that...we walked off stage and were immediately congratulated profusely by three girls (and a dude) who had heard us earlier on the streets (promotion pays off!) and had been prompted to come out for the set. They expressed how awesome they thought we were...then bought a bunch of our merch. Awesome. But that was not the end of the feedback dichotomy we took in, my friends. There were two (other) girls in the crowd dancing like mad and screaming for more. They even wrote our name across their stomachs. Later on, we went back to their hotel room to eat doritos and wrestle.

Then to cap it off, we were accosted by some old(er) woman who seemed obsessed with us shaving. She kept saying shit like "It's not the seventies anymore, stop pretending you're 22," "Why do you wear headbands?" and also, "Your songs are decent, but you really need to shave."

Davis---you really were an odd one.

With Clipboard in Hand,


Allan said...

Does "Other Staples of Early Chop Behavior" include a chapter on the miraculous hangover healing properties of Sobe Oolong Tea?

Zoey said...

You write very well.