Come on Irene, is that the best you can offer? You had one job, to blow us all, and well, you blew it.
On friday night I had a show in Philly and I was determined to head straight back to NY right after for I wanted to be smack dab in the middle of this hurricane. We were told just a few blocks away from my loft that they had mandatory evacuation. I live by the water. It was John’s birthday and we had a catering job saturday day in Connecticut following a lock in party for him and the storm. Last minute we get a call friday night that the party was being postponed due to the weather which meant we were “stuck” with a shit ton of food.
My brother calls me up friday while I am getting ready to play and tells me a genius idea he came up with. He went around our whole apartment building knocking on doors and inviting people to eat food and drink with us followed by a live concert that YOU would be playing. For those of YOU who do not know YOU, YOU is a project I started sometime last year. The idea spawned from the fact that I play with so many musicians so often, constantly jamming and writing songs in group form, that I thought instead of starting a solo project where I play music for a crowd I would play shows and involve everyone in the audience. For YOU are the band. I start with whatever song randomly pops in to my head whether it be something pre-rehearsed or brand new and everyone that wants to join in singing, playing, dancing, and everything in between does so at their own liking. In this spirit everyone is part of the show whether you typically play music or not, if the moment strikes you, do what feels right, anything goes . You can watch some footage from a recent show here.
Before the hurricane swept through I went to my practice studio, cleared it out completely, moved my car to a safe spot, took some of the plants down from the roof, cleared the tables, and chairs, and bought a ton of food, booze, and a few more party favors… I had made my peace with the garden, saying goodbye to what I assumed would be turned to dust as Irene swept through. Little did I know that I should know better than to assume…
The day for me was a bit weird. As I mentioned in a recent post for the past few months my life has been all kinds of crazy. Not that crazy is ever bad or that my life is anything other than crazy on any given day, but I have been faced with some big challenges that have taken me to places I never knew existed. And for some reason saturday day I just couldn’t shake it. I didn’t even know why I felt like such miserable shit, I was lying in bed all depressed and pathetic, wallowing in my own misery and people were just starting to show up for the party. I had a few ideas as to what might be going on but the truth was I was just trying to blame something outside of myself. It was all me and I couldn’t fight it, I accept that and let the sadness take me over. Why fight a feeling just because you think it is wrong? Feel what you feel ey?
And at 7pm sharp our place started to pack up. Snap out of it Josh, snap out of it. I got out of bed, punched myself in the face, poisoned my tongue and let the magic happen. I couldn’t fight the vibes, this was too exciting.
For those of you who do not know anything of 132 N 5th (my apartment building), we live in a sort of “grown up” college dorm. Since day one it always felt more like that than your typical living space but over the past four years of living here I have been doing my best to build community within the building, meeting neighbors, cooking with them, playing music, starting a roof garden, and so forth. But it didn’t all really come together until this hurricane news came up. I’ve met plenty of people before in the building but never had I had almost everyone that lived there in my apartment hanging out together. It was quite beautiful. We live in more of a commune than anything else and I couldn’t be happier about that.
For the meal Mike really took charge. Tell me that’s not the best damn hurricane meal you’ve ever tasted Bubs.
Seared Fillet with a Green Bean Red Wine Sauce Served on Toasted Bread
Fried Eggplant and Carrot Dumplings with Hoisin Glaze
Mozzarella and Tomato Skewers with Garden Basil Pesto
Sea Bass Tacos with Caramelized Peach Salsa
Deep Fried Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Risotto Balls with an Ancho Chili BBQ Sauce
Herb Chicken Tenders with Buttermilk Ranch and Thousand Island
Homemade Cookies and Cream and Crown (Royal) Ice Cream
Delicious Birthday Cake For John (see picture above)
I honestly didn’t even eat any of the food, I was too busy setting up for the show I would be playing next door once the food was all finished up and besides often when I play I don’t eat anything the entire day until after the show. Meanwhile my good buddy Nick Gray started whipping up these delicious ginger apple shots while everyone poured various drinks with what liquor was around.
Once the food was done and we sang happy birthday people slowly started trickling over to the other apartment to get the dancing rolling. That is when the next wave of magic happened. As the storm brewed up outside we sang and danced away for a good 3 hours straight, though I must say at that point I wasn’t sure time was real as I chucked my phone in a corner to be forgotten about for the rest of the night. As the show developed more and more people started to play and sing along and a few people even lead the group with their own songs including the lead singer, Tim, of my band Canon Logic. We have an EP called “Rapid Empire” being released on itunes and through canonlogic.com tomorrow (August 30th) and I suppose with all of this storm magic going on it just happened that Tim and I played through most of the EP for everyone to join in on.
As the show went on, as I jumped up and down singing my face off, being sure to bust my finger open from strumming to hard, and getting everything out inside of me I finally realized why I was so down that day. It was all for the build up for the storm and once I released it all out of my system, once all of those bottled up emotions poured out I was free. Everything I had been thinking, feeling, worrying about, fearing, it was all inside brewing up and it finally exploded out of me. I tried to blame others for my misery but it was all for the sake of the show, all there to get the music out, to feel something real, something strong, something that weighed me the fuck down, and to ultimately make me feel a little bit lighter. I should thank my roommates at this point for putting up with all of my crap while I slowly found a way to dump it out. Thank you to the worlds greatest roommates. After this storm washed over me I knew without a shred of doubt that the actual hurricane would not be a bad one, that the “real” (metaphorical) hurricane inside of me was the true storm, the one in all of us that brought us all together on this fine night to share in great company.
After hours and hours of singing and dancing I suggested we go for a run in the rain one last time before it got too crazy. And of course that suggestion turned in to someone taking their clothing off, and someone else, and someone else, and someone else. Looks like we are going streaking down bedford. Woops. As the group of about 12 of us ran down Bedford avenue in our underwear we were spotted by a few different groups of suspicious dudes. The first group being Cyn Lounge, the bar across the street from our house (can’t you tell by the name what this place is about?) and the other being the police. At that point we all scattered and ran home as fast as we could. What a rush that was.
After the streaking ended we found out that Cyn lounge had asked us to come party over there and they even offered us some free drinks so naturally we went. A friend in the building bought me a drink as a thank you for the hospitality, at that point I realized that it was the first drink I had consumed that night and it really hit the spot. The bartender was telling me how happy she was that we brought our party to her bar because it had been dead all night and she was about to blow her brains out. Always happy to stop someone from doing that…
After the bar we headed back to our pad for some late night snacks withe the remaining party goers. The rain was bad at times but it was sort of on and off from intense storming to light drizzle. We whipped up some pizza with some dough I had made earlier and we topped it with a spinach mac and cheese that we had made for the party along with a few zip sauces. Damn was that pizza good, and not only that it was the only thing I had eaten that day and it was now about 3 in the morning.
As the music winded down and the party cleared out I was left alone to my thoughtless thoughts to clean up and do the dishes. There is little better than winding the party down with a nice clean up to treat yourself the following morning as apposed to waking up to a shit storm destroyed party house that smells like beer and piss. Wanted to thank everyone who made this night an incredibly epic one, seeing the whole building together, interacting, sharing, being, it was all quite amazing. I feel light again.