Two nights ago at the Firehouse was insane. SFTD played with Ramshackle Glory, The Taxpayers, and Tremarche. There was somewhere around 200 people crammed into the room and you could feel the sweat…..everywhere. As I said during our set (which most people probably didn’t hear over the crowd) I saw a lot of old and new friends at the show, and I apologize for being weird or distant. I have just realized more and more how much being a sober person surrounded by people with the intent to get COMPLETELY wasted gives me a lot of anxiety. This past show was mega like that, and it was after a 7 hour bus/train ride.
I got to talk about it a lot with Pat from Ramshackle Glory (he is the singer type person of the band). I have not followed too much of them but we have been touring a very similar circuit for the past X amount of years so its surprising we never met before now. We both had similar experiences of being at the show and being like “hey so…this sucks about drinking” and a crowd of sweaty bros being like YEAH BEEEEEEEEEEER.
So there is that.
It gave me a lot of perspective about the decisions I am glad I am making about putting effort into SFTD and stepping back from it to re-organize the way I interact with the project and the way I interact with tour/shows. Ramshackle Glory is a pretty big band by folk/punk standards (sold out shows everywhere is pretty telling) and they have a very interesting combination of fans who show up. There are a pretty good chunk of dude bros who walk around flexing their muscles with no shirts on and get wasted and take up a lot of space and piss people off. They seem to be there cause they are desperate for a Johnny Hobo song (apparently Pat used to be in a band that was more about doing drugs and drinking a lot). and there are a lot of cool sort of radical queers who are into cool political/anarchist movements (Ramshackle Glory invites cool activist groups to table at shows and spread information) and you get a lot of folks who have just sort of followed Pat through all of his incarnations and love who he is and who hes been and are generally cool people. And then you have crusty punk travel kids with dogs who get really drunk (and also take up a lot of space).
The question comes up….how do you solve this and make it a space where everyone can enjoy themselves? Its hard. Certain groups of people with seeminly opposing paths of experiancing live music is a really hard thing to deal with. I don’t really even intend to pretend I have an answer on how to fix that.
But I do know that I can see some of that forming in Speaker For The Dead shows, and I would like to cut it out before it becomes a problem. Even if I cant please everyone, I would like to at the very least please myself and a bunch of my friends. Even if that means bumping the crowd size down from 200 people to 50 people.
I also apologize to everyone who came up to me seeking help dealing with the sweaty bros who were taking up a lot of space. I often present myself as a member of the community who you can go to to get help with that stuff, but at the show I was just not in the headspace to front that conversation.
On a more positive note, I am very excited to hear about stuff that speaker folk are doing while I am up here in Maine writing my books next to the sea and in long cabins with lamas in new hampshire.
Alyssa from The Cutting Room Floor and I got a ride with Ramshackle Glory to Boston yesterday so I could go compete in a poetry slam. She ended up jumping on stage with them at a sold out show at The Middle East and playing clarinet, and now is in a van with them on the way to Albany, NY. I Think you know where this is going.
Colby the thrashest accordion player is riding the rails with some dude named Pablo. If you see someone with long hair, an accordion, and a tattoo citing LOYALTY, RESPECT, and NOT SWEARING, give him a place to sleep and some food to eat and a ride to wherever he needs to go. Hes the nicest dude in the world and not your average travel kid.
Sister Mary, Mitch (SFTD tumpeter), and their friend Kate are going on a midwest and East coast Tour. Go to all of their shows if you want to be blown away by really soulful folk music.
Bright Red Reason is slowly working on a new CD that I have heard some of and its going to destroy you. in the best hug way. In the meantime, you should ask them to play your college/venue/house/backyard cause they are a pretty rad band.
Tremarche has taken their hardcore/punk/worcester act in a kind of new direction and I dont know how to explain it but its awesome. Fast, spaztik, lots of new voices in the mix with cool things to say, and kind of sparkly hardcore sounding stuff? Im terrible at writing reviews. Ask them to play a show you wont be dissapointed.
Nori is working on an alternative education blog and you should check that shit out cause its revolutionary. Look up Negi Negi in worcester
And I just changed the password and email on this to open the blog up to other members of the band so hopefully they will tell you about new projects they are doing. I will be starting up a new bloggish type thing in the future so I am not taking up so much space in the band, expecially if I am taking a step back.
Love you all
PS- it was really pleasant meeting Ramshackle Glory and The Taxpayers, and for once not having any terrible stories about how a more popular band is a bunch of jerks. They are super nice and you should support everything they ever do please!