Friday, June 25, 2010

The untold story of last nights Wavves' afterparty @ Shea Stadium

Okay, gang - if you guys keep up with the blogs that talk about indie rock and the like, maybe you have heard about how last night's party at Shea Stadium, celebrating the success of the performance by Wavves, Dom and Cloud Nothings at the Knitting Factory earlier that evening, hit an enormous snag when some rascal threw a bottle off of Shea's scenic balcony and shattered the back window of a police car. Believe it or not, I was scheduled to act as a DJ at this party, sharing wheels-of-steel duties with Ryan Schrieber of Pitchfork Media fame. I arrived late due to various public transit mishaps, as the police were seemingly just cooling down from their earlier rage(and who could really blame them?), and were on their way out. It looked at this point like the party might be DOA - the organizers were unsure if there was going to be any sort of DJing at all, which was annoying to me because I had schlepped all of my pedals and my four track and so on (I use these when I DJ, for reasons that are still unclear) all the way from Greenpoint, which isn't the end of the world or anything, but not the sort of thing I do at one am for my health. Whatever the fate of the party, those few who were still in attendance seemed to be in a big hurry to get out. Before long, Shea Stadium held probably not more than ten or twelve humans, myself included, and Ryan Schrieber was nowhere to be seen.

Once things were quiet and peaceful enough, Adam Riech, the great guy who runs the space, allowed me to set up my stuff, probably mostly out of pity, and I did my thing for about twenty minutes to an audience of maybe four or five. Ryan Schrieber turned up again too, and spun a good mix of 80's and early 90's indie classics, leaning heavily on ethical punk - "Merchandise," "Rebel Girl," "This Ain't No Picnic," etc. The six or seven people listening to him looked to be having a great time, and even I couldn't deny it when he dropped "Self Esteem" by the Offspring at around 4 am or so. That song is just timeless.

Adam, Alex from the So So Glos and I talked for a long time that night about how much it sucks when people try and do good things for the kids, only to have one of those kids end up pissing all over it and ruining it for everybody, and I suppose I could go on and on about how the kids are all such dumbasses and want nothing more than to act as such and start trouble even though they have great guys like Adam doing so much to entertain them, but, well, hasn't that already been said time and again? [Also, wow, what a run-on sentence! Been reading too much William Faulkner, or just a dumbass myself?]

So, in the name of focusing on the positive, let me share with you some of the happy memories I have of that evening - clicking the link below will allow you to download a recording of my set which I did on the aforementioned tape recorder. Music by Professor Green, Ben Kweller, Surfer Blood, Weezer, EMF and Barenaked Ladies, spoken word by Tracy Morgan, from his awesome audiobook, I Am the New Black. Live "remixing" by yr boy. I also included, as a special bonus, a cover version of "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC that I performed this afternoon at Shea for an audience of just two - Eric and Sean, two of the people behind the great internet TV series The Flavorpill Fix.

Patrick Stickles Live @ Shea Stadium

Point is, don't be afraid of Shea Stadium! It is a great place to hang out and enjoy yrself, and we can have it to enjoy if only we show the minimum of necessary respect to Adam and all the other people who help run the space, the neighbors, and the fuzz. It isn't that hard, you dumb kids! Why not let the healing begin tonight? The So So Glos, the Beets, Asa Ransom and Electric Tickle Machine are all playing, and one other band too, I think. Don't forget either about seeing our main man Andrew Cedermark play there tomorrow night, along with our other big bro Ducktails. Go there with an open heart and even the littlest bit of basic human decency, and you will have the time of yr life, believe me.

Okay, that's it for now. See you tomorrow at Newtown Barge Park, right?

Yr friend,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The MONITOUR Phase Four: "A New Birth of Free(Energy)dom," plus Phase Three and other Friendship Updates

Hello dear friends. It is our distinct pleasure, this day, to announce what will likely be the last leg of the proper "Monitour," the ongoing promotional exercise behind our latest record, The Monitor. Monitor + tour = "Monitour," remember? Thus far, it has taken us all over these United States, and over a reasonable chunk of Western Europe, and this Autumn, we will fumble across the beautiful American landscape once more to entertain you. A daunting task, we know, for yr palate is sophisticated and yr standards elevated. You deserve the best, and happily for us, we have been able to enlist five of the most entertaining and straight up party rocking young people in all of rock and roll to travel with us and spread the good news about the electric guitar. Who could I be referring to but Philadelphia's number one neo-classic rockers Free Energy?

Our relationship with Free Energy goes all the way back to the Autumn of 2009, when we had just completed our "Bring on the Dudes" tour with our BFFs the So So Glos. We agreed to tack on a show at Georgetown University in DC at the end of the tour. Naturally, after forty or so days of slugging it out on the American indie rock circuit (and putting up with all the SSG's antics), we were dead tired and ready for an evening of zombie-esque behavior. This was until the opening act at the show, a group we had never heard of before and assumed must have been made up of Georgetown students who tinkered with guitars between their Poli-Sci midterms or whatever, began kicking out the tastiest grooves and melting our faces with the sort of badass guitar wizardry that we had always assumed to be only the stuff of legend.

Mutterings of, "Hey, these guys aren't bad," quickly turned into MySpace visits during personal time, which turned into the Free Energy MySpace becoming the official party playlist of me and my roommates, to breathlessly anticipated concerts at Brooklyn Bowl, to show-flier-on-the-refrigerator declarations of superfandom. Next thing I knew, I was waiting on line for the bathroom at the Rolling Stone SXSW showcase gushing to Paul, their singer, about how much Free Energy, and especially their self-titled anthem, had taken over my music-listening life. That night, Titus Andronicus 6.0 forged our friendship forever in the fires of a Free Energy dance-a-thon. Here's a video of them doing their thing that magical night, along with an informative interview.

Soon, an advance cassette of their fantastic debut, Stuck on Nothing, was on permanent rotation in Blue Thunder, a rare-consensus builder in the often highly partisan world of Titus Andronicus Van Music Selection. Endless debates about the true meaning of the lyrics to "Bang Pop" (Suicide? Achieving long-sought sexual nirvana by doing it with an alien? Innocent popcorn making?) ensued, and before long, I would put money on the Titus Andronicus chapter of the Free Energy Fan Club being among the most active and enthusiastic. Stuck on Nothing was indisputably THE soundtrack of the first phase of our MONITOUR, and now for the last, we have the men that made it. Absolutely fantastic. Here are the dates - those were Free Energy will join us are marked with an asterix.

08-21 Boston, MA - Royale *
08-22 Montreal, Quebec - Il Motore *
08-23 Ottowa, Ontario - Mavericks *
08-25 Ithaca, NY - Castaways *
08-26 Columbus, OH - Summit
08-27 Toledo, OH - Mickey Finn's
08-28 St. Louis, MO - LouFest
08-29 Memphis, TN - Hi Tone
08-30 Little Rock, AR - Rev Room
08-31 Dallas, TX - Sons of Hermann Hall
09-10 Vancouver, British Columbia - Biltmore Cabaret *
09-11 Portland, OR - Backspace / MusicFest NW
09-12 Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
09-13 Boise, ID - Neurolux *
09-14 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
09-15 Denver, CO - Bluebird
09-16 Omaha, NE - Waiting Room *
09-17 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Social Club
09-19 Newport, KY - Southgate House *
09-20 Atlanta, GA - The Earl *
09-21 Durham, NC - Duke Coffeehouse *
09-22 Charlottesville, VA - Jefferson Theatre *
09-23 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church *
09-24 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *

We have some more of these to announce soon, so don't get yr knickers in a twist if it doesn't seem like we are coming to yr town - it is definitely within the realm of possibility that we have a few more tricks up our sleeve, and we are just unable to talk about it right now for whatever silly reason that probably doesn't have anything to do with indie rock. Soon enough, my pretties.

Information about any age restrictions on these shows can be found on our MySpace. The shows in Atlanta, Boise and San Francisco are 21+, a fact of which we are not proud and somewhat ashamed, but I am afraid there is very little that we can do about it. Underagers, don't worry - we are going to half ass those performances big time (Hey, legal adults - I am just kidding, we are gonna rock), so don't sweat it. Any other age restrictions would be in the 18+ category, or 19+ in Canada. The shows in Toledo, Newport, and Durham can all be yrs for less than ten dollars. I put the ticket prices up on MySpace as well, but they are all for the advance sales - if you buy yrs the day of the show, it may be two dollars more. I don't know, man - data entry is pretty soul-destroying, and the new interface for entering show info on MySpace is way shittier than the old one was. Also, isn't it funny that the only way I can think to make a difference in that sphere is to start a FACEBOOK group called "Bring back the old MySpace show info entry interface" or something? The world, circa 2010, is a bizarre and often frightening place.

Well, as long as we are talking about tour dates and bands that we love, let's speak a little bit about the little-blogged Phase Three of the MONITOUR, which doesn't really have a funny name like the other three did. I can only be so funny, you know? Anyway, this leg of the tour is going to be an especially short one, but especially epic in spite of its brevity, for we are going to be joined by some of our oldest associates, Boston's finest indie rock band Hallelujah the Hills. We have been tight with Jah Hills for a few years now, and various members have made considerable contributions to both The Monitor and The Airing of Grievances, but we've only played together a handful of times - at South Union Arts in Chicago on our first tour ever, at a Brooklyn DIY space called Loftasaurus Rex, a bowling alley in Jamaica Plain, and twice at Great Scott in Allston, MA, once in 2008 with Times New Viking and earlier this year with the Babies. Thankfully, this year's Pitchfork Festival gave us just the push we needed to correct this flaw of history. All the below dates will feature Hallelujah the Hills both as the opening act (save for the P4k Festival itself), and as auxiliary members of Titus Andronicus, helping to give a touch of class to our sound by means of cello, trumpet, and additional luxurious keyboards. Whoa, that is gonna be sick.

07-10 New Haven, CT - Lily's Pad
07-11 Northampton, MA - Pearl Street
07-12 Albany, NY - Valentines
07-13 Buffalo, NY - Ninth Ward
07-14 Toronto, Ontario - Horseshoe Tavern
07-15 Grand Rapids, MI - Intersection Lounge
07-16 Chicago, IL - Subterranean (Pitchfork Music Festival Afterparty)
07-17 Chicago, IL - Pitchfork Music Festival

It is fitting for Jah Hills to join us for these dates, as they have long been ardent supporters of and allies to our cause. On a personal note, you may have heard that the narrative of The Monitor deals in part with a period in my life when I lived in Somerville, MA, a town typically lumped into Greater Boston. Well, this is true, and when I lived there, the men of Hallelujah the Hills were very literally my only friends. It was actually pretty pathetic. Actually, it was awesome, because they are great guys - they even allowed me to play some relatively un-classy guitar on their fantastic song "You Better Hope You (Die Before Me)," on their most recent album, Colonial Drones, recorded at the Soul Shop in Medford, where bits of The Monitor was recorded and... well, I could go on and on and on, weaving a dense and intricate web to illustrate to you just how interconnected Titus Andronicus and Hallelujah the Hills have been and will be, but by now, you probably get the picture. Take this shit seriously - Jah Hills obviously are, as they have posted two new songs for you to download for free in preparation for yr mind to be blown by them at the aforementioned concerts. If you decide you really love it, they are playing headlining concerts at Great Scott in Allston on 7/8 and Union Hall in Brooklyn on 7/9. Get on it!

All right, as we start to wind down this blog, let me remind you that this coming Saturday, we in Titus Andronicus will be performing at the annual Northside Festival, which celebrates all things North Brooklyn (or NoBro, as I have taken to calling it) and indie rock. If you haven't already heard, we will be playing the first ever concert at Greenpoint's Newtown Barge Park with Cults and our big homies Male Bonding, who really lived up to the promise of their name and became our dear friends upon running into them several times on our last Euro Trip. Did I forget to drop a "Hot Video Alert" on their jam, "Year's Not Long?" Well, if I did, then fucking Hot Video Alert!

Extra props for making optimal use of indie rock sex symbol extraordinaire Juan Vigoda, as you've never seen (but definitely imagined) him before. Yum! Anyway, that show is gonna be sick. It starts at 1:00 PM, because at 4:00 PM, we gotta hand over the reins to the still-undisputed kings (and queen) of twenty-first-century punk rock, Fucked Up, who are doing a show of their own at the very same location with Liars and High Places. Neat!

Don't stay too long though, because two of the most luminous graduates of the mid-'00s Bergen County scene are playing at Brooklyn's Shea Stadium that night, erstwhile TA guitarist and best bro for life Andrew Cedermark, and Ridgewood, NJ's Matthew Mondanile, aka DuckTails. Don't get caught sleeping on that show! Get jazzed about it by watching this video of Andrew and his crack band, Buffalo Wild Wing, playing "Ad Infinitum," the opening salvo from his forthcoming debut LP, Moon Deluxe. I remember fondly playing the keyboards on this song in a short-lived, Andrew-fronted band called The Mighty Oak way way back in 2006. Those were the days. So young and beautiful, we were. Anyway.

I feel like I am going to have a lot more to say about Andrew soon, which is probably going to fit into some larger discussion of my friends from high school and what their music has meant to me throughout the years and what it has come to mean now and will mean in the future and so on... who knows. Point is - go to that concert. Hell, go to all three of those concerts. Also, the So So Glos play Shea the night before - go to that too. Might have something to announce for the night before THAT, as well, though not any sort of Titus Andronicus concert or anything.

All right, that is more than enough for now. See you on Saturday! Take care.

Yr friend,