The Blakes may be the hottest thing since sliced bread on Canadian Myspace, but our man Bob Husak still has time amongst the women, the booze, and the massive credit card expenditures to fill us in on how our favorite burgeoning band spent these halcyon days of Thanksgiving.
To turkey and Bob … Cheers!
After waking up late and getting showers at Nhi’s, we embarked on a leisurely drive from DC to Philly and arrived at the venue, the Khyber, with much time to spare. The Khyber is an old, dirty rock bar downtown (not meant as a dig). After unloading and parking, we walked up the block to a no-frills restaurant/bar called Nick’s and got some Philly cheesesteaks. I did an on-air phone interview with the biggest rock station in Toronto, The Edge, which was exciting even though the DJ did most of the talking. He was yet another exceptionally knowledgeable Canadian in the area of popular music.
We played third out of four bands. The performance seemed a little lackluster all around, due in part to a faulty PA, I believe. Once again we had a few fans turn up and the crowd was decent for a Tuesday, or so I was told. We booked a hotel room in Bellmawr, NJ–which is about ten minutes from Philly–and we crashed there after closing time at The Khyber. We had a very short drive to Asbury Park the next morning, and when we arrived at the venue (Asbury Lanes) in the early afternoon, the entire area seemed deserted. The waterfront in Asbury Park, where the venue was located, seemed as though it had seen better days. We spent much of the day in the parking lot of a high end grocery store while B. Brown got a new wireless internet card (the old one crapped out) at a neighboring Verizon store. When we drove back to the venue it was open for business and we loaded out. It turns out that Asbury Lanes is actually a very cool place; basically, it’s a well-maintained vintage bowling alley with a circular stage put up right in the middle of the lanes. The bookers treated us very well, giving us ample drink tickets and one free meal apiece. I got the high score on their Pac-Man machine and B. Brown proceeded to top it immediately. The man is a Pac-Man wizard. By the time we took the stage a decent crowd had materialized, and we played a classic chaotic Blakes set while an old killer ape movie played on a screen behind us. Right before the performance I got nailed in the eye by a plastic clasp on my stick bag when it inexplicably snapped out at me while I was unzipping the bag, and all I saw were blurs out of my left eye for the rest of the night. After hanging out for awhile with some local music royalty (including the guitarist for Bouncing Souls and the drummer for Bad Brains) we piled into the van and B. Brown began a long drive through the night to Rhode Island. We were trying to make it to Garnet and Snow’s aunt Shelley’s place for Thanksgiving and time was of the essence. I stayed up with Brown deejaying on my iPod until we arrived at the house at 4:30am. Shelley and her husband Junior own the biggest junkyard imaginable, and their driveway is littered with junked cars. Anyway, Shelley was up and she showed us to the guest bedrooms where we crashed hard. The next day we had a fantastic early Thanksgiving dinner at Garnet and Snow’s cousin Mel’s house (right next door to Shel’s) along with several family members. The family is more or less made up of solid East coast swamp Yankees. We set out for the night’s show in Portland, ME later that afternoon. By the time we got up there it was dark and downtown seemed deserted. We swung by the Maine alternative rock station, WCYY–located at a shopping center in the heart of downtown–to do an on-air interview and spin a few tracks from the record. Their DJ Mark Curdo had been playing us for awhile and we had a fun, relaxed half-hour interview with him. Great guy, Curdo. He kind of put together the evening’s show at the Big Easy and he gave his listeners the hard sell to get folks out on Thanksgiving. After unloading at the venue nearby (everything’s close in Portland) we walked to a bar, Rosey’s, down the street to meet up with the Keims’ immediate family, which included their mom, dad, two older brothers plus wives, and a young nephew. It was nice to see them all again. We eventually walked back to the Big Easy en masse and caught the opening band, the Gray Davies. The radio plugs didn’t help too much, because aside from the family, Curdo, and the venue staff there were very few patrons. We put on a pretty sloppy show but their were a few highlights; for example, the older brothers Blue and Fox came onstage to help on vocals for “Commit.” The venue payed us nothing and Curdo seemed to feel bad, but hey, we made a go of it on a holiday. Garnet and Snow’s parents, Gerry and Mike, had booked a suite at the Holiday Inn and we stayed there for the night.