The opening act was a band from Portland called The Shaky Hands, and they pretty much ate it -- no charm, the music had no hooks, and the front guy's between-song banter was so tentative and awkward that the sound man's jaw dropped visibly several times, an incredulous look on his face. Eve and I stood back by the board and talked. And it wasn't just us -- the stage area was pretty empty for the duration, and I would've been worried that the crowd wasn't going to reach, you know, critical mass, except for all the people milling around in the foyer and downstairs at the bar. But everyone showed up and got front and center for The Thermals, and they played an amazing set: tight, energetic, a really good mix of old and new songs. Hutch Harris was wearing a full suit, which he explained, cryptically, as being an artifact of his having been hanging out at the stock exchange all morning. That guy always reminds me a bit of Moloch from Watchmen; he's a great, sardonic counterpoint to Kathy Foster, who was also in top form, bopping her springy hair and trademark frilly collar all over the place and squeakily dismantling, as she always does, the weirdos in the crowd who wouldn't shut up: One guy kept yelling, "I love your zapatos!" "Zapatos?" She said. "Did you just learn that word?"
Here's a partial, out-of-order set list. I'm not enough of an expert on their catalog to recognize everything.
- I Let It Go
- Now We Can See
- I Called Out Your Name
- When I Was Afraid
- Here's Your Future
- A Pillar Of Salt
- Returning To The Fold
- Test Pattern
- St. Rosa and the Swallows
- I Hold The Sound
- How We Know
- No Culture Icons
- Everything Thermal
Katharine got married to Tom last weekend up on the Cape. I'd gotten them something from their registry and booked a room at A Beach Breeze Inn a while back, but I kind of slacked on planning the transportation for me and Nina: Instead of carpooling on Friday like everyone else, we hopped an afternoon Acela to Providence -- which was fine, except then we got stuck there for three hours waiting for a connecting Peter Pan and trying to ignore a noisy drunk who'd stolen a TV and a bunch of jewelry attempt to make away with his contraband on a Providence city bus. And then our bus missed its connection in Bourne and the bus company had to send an extra bus back to pick us up and take us to Falmouth. ...Except when it showed up, the driver said he was going too Woods Hole, and we were like, oh, that's not us. And so he almost left without us, but finally called out "Falmouth!" too. ...Which would've been great, except that when we got to Falmouth, it turned out that's not where we wanted to be at all. Whatever calculations I'd made had involved calculating the proximity of the bus stop to Falmouth (possibly because there is a similarly-named, competing hotel there), not West Harwich. I started calling cab companies, but when I told them where we were and where we were going, there was silence; and then they'd all say, "You're on the wrong side of the Cape!" So, we were, but we still needed to get 50 miles east, so I finally caved and went with the guy who said he'd get us there for $100. That was the best offer. Pam, the woman who ran A Beach Breeze had waited up and was very understanding. We were beat, but not too beat to order a pineapple-and-pepperoni Dominoes pizza and homph it down like orphans at a food rodeo.
Maggie and Cliff drove by in the morning, and hauled us over to a buffet-style breakfast-only place called The Egg And "I" (quotes included), where we were joined by Tom O., Greg, etc. Over plates of eggs and egg-like things (Devin ordered a cheesy horror called The Crow's Nest), we discussed Tom H.'s request (via Katharine) that we sing the proffered hymns at the wedding. "When we had to sing Latin hymns in my church growing up," Maggie said, "we couldn't pronounce the words, so we just sang 'pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.'"
After breakfast we went over to a mini-golf course across the road from the Beach Breeze, and the nine of us split into two semi-competitive teams. The course was brutal, but it was really nice out -- so nice, in fact, that I totally didn't notice getting an actual sunburn on the back of my neck. We ate some moose tracks. And then the buses that Tom and Katharine and arranged for showed up and we had to get dressed up and go to the actual wedding. ...Which took place at the First Congregational Church in Chatham, which was very pretty and had a neat little churchyard with graves from hundreds of years ago. It was a short service. The bride and groom were sharply attired, and the minister was a dead ringer for Victor Garber. We sang the hymns as requested, although I sang "pumpking, pumpkin, pumpkin," and then felt guilty about it.
After that, the buses took us over Wychmere Harbor, the fancy country club where the reception was being held. The tables at the reception were named, I think, according to places that the newlyweds'd lived or visited; Nina and I were at one called Little Venice, wherever that is. We were sitting with Matt Carter, of whom I'm a fan, Mike Ettanani, some Scots, and a guy from Boston also named Mike. There was some initial awkward silence while we sipped our wines and stared at our plates. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mike from Boston reach over to the plate of beautifully-carved butter roses. I made eye contact with Matt. "No way," I thought. But, yeah -- he popped the rose into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed, hard. Matt and I stared at him, awaiting his reaction. "These aren't white chocolate," he said finally. "Just so you know."
There were speeches and there was dancing: The British contingent acquitted themselves impressively, the kilted and the elderly among them kicking up their heels and doing rhythmic, atavistic dances to covers of "Jesse's Girl" and "Don't Stop Believin'." After it was all over, we piled back in the buses and, at Katharine's behest, headed over to a bar in Chatham called The Squire, which was packed full of Cape Cod, uh, off-season types. There was a band playing, deafeningly, somewhere out of sight. We found an out-of-the-way nook in which to drink our Pabsts and homph the custom-branded (complete with little black-and-white photo transfers) "Tom & Katharine" M&Ms that had been favors at the reception. At around 1:30, the bar closed, we got back on the buses and headed back to the hotel, where Nina and I conked the fuck out. We were exhausted! So much so that we missed brunch the next morning. Nani was nice enough to drive us back, though, which was a relief considering the trip up. And I got to DJ the ride on this neat satellite radio console he had in the car!
- Calendar season. Get on it.
- I've been running in Sunset Park, which is difficult but rewarding in that I can actually, you know, do it. The hill on the southeastern corner might be even more brutal than the one in the northeastern part of Prospect Park.
- Nina and I got dinner on Saturday at Tempo in Park Slope, a place I'd often passed but never visited. The service was a little stiff, but the affogatto... oh, man.