april 2002  "BOTH COASTS OF OHIO"
Friday, April 26th - Southgate House, KY / Cincinnatti
The Southgate House here across the river from Cincinnatti, is an historic monument. It is where the guy who invented the Tommy Gun was born. I sat here 2 years ago for the entire afternoon, staring out into nothingness, a big empty space across from this old house on a hill.
This year though, the Southgate House sits across from a huge mall, a Barnes&Nobles, a giant IMAX theatre which is showing The Matrix, a Limited for Kids, etc. There is a Christian Country band playing high on a pedestal across the street which is filled with buses.
looking out from the front yard of the Southgate House, where a huge empty space was, just 2 years ago...
I want to hate it, because they've filled in a hole, but how can you hate a bookstore and a huge-screen theatre that is playing The Matrix? I just stare blankly at the mall and theatres - on the left is the IMAX but on the right is another huge movie complex, and to the right of that is a large video gaming complex. I know I'm supposed to dislike this, deep inside, and I try to gather up some anger towards the people I see getting off the buses, but it dissipates into jealousy as I watch them go into The Matrix IMAX. I watch people go into the bookstore and give up, finally Matt, Jim and I walk over to the bookstore ourselves.
Tonight I know that the crowd will be thin. It's too bad, too. Business has just never really picked up for us around here. The people who watch our show enjoy it, I think. But the guy who takes care of the show tells us how the last two bands who played there sold out the place two days in a row. All I can think is, "well, it's good that they won't be losing money on us tonight." But it's a benefit for a magazine, and the cover charge is huge. And the place is huge. It's not a great scene. But it's nice to be in Kentucky.
Damn, The Mezzanines from Champaign were supposed to play with us tonight but Mark the lead singer has cut his hand open. They cancel.
Saturday, April 27 - Columbus, OH
I LOVE TOURING. I know that most of the country looks the same, but you do have a couple of perks, like Waffle Houses in the south. We don't have them in Champaign. I got grits this morning! I'm unreasonably proud that I can eat grits.
Oh this is good. I have forgotten to take a picture of the crowd in Columbus, OH. Which means no Joe Lemur photo. Sorry Joe.
I told Matt that this show was going to be fun, and I was correct. The crowds here are always fantastic. It was pouring rain and cold, like it always is here in Columbus. I spent hours programming my computer this evening.
This afternoon we went to the Wexner Center which is the Ohio State University's "Center for the Arts." It's a great museum, and it had this terrific exhibit called "Mood River" which consisted of all kinds of cool designed things hanging from the ceiling, like design was wafting along above us. Computer mice, vacuum cleaners, toothbrushes, forks, knives, anything you could think of hung brightly above us as we stared at exploded - and hung in space by thin see-thru wire - clothes, expensive ballroom outfits. The best thing in the whole show was at the end, where, in a dark room, something that looked like a black gleaming sea-urchin sat in a pool of black oil and breathed and pumped. It appeared that the thing was moving according to our voices - most of the time. Then it would dissappear from time to time. I found out later that this was a magnetic fluid that was invented by NASA, held together looking like this fist-sized pumping animal, by electromagnets that were sometimes triggered by audio. DAMN COOL.
Then back through the cold, pouring rain, to wait with crossed fingers for the audience to arrive. It did. *whew* and we all played and played and played. The room is downstairs in the basement, about the grimiest room you've ever been in in your entire life. Even though it's freezing outside, there are bugs flying around the women's bathroom - and there were last time we played here too. It is so gross here that you feel comfortable in a strange way, as Matt says, 'It's like camping.' It's a great club.
For an encore, the audience requested "Accident Waiting to Happen" and though we were afraid to play it because we thought we'd screw it up, we somehow got up the balls to play it. And the audience roared the words along to it! That is the GREATEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. People were jumping up and down, it was one of the best moments of playing this year! I looked over at them and I had to have looked so happy - I gestured to Matt and pointed at them somehow while I was playing, 'Look Matt!!! Look at them! Look at how happy we're making them!' And look at how happy they are making us.
And that is what it is all about.
Andy L has been to almost every one of our shows this year, I believe. It's kind of scary.