Friday, January 29, 2010

The Knitting Factory

If this place had anything to do with actual knitting, my ears wouldn't be ringing this morning with the echoes of indie rock. Just another evening in the glamorous life of a Village Voice Street Teamster.

I love live music. My Daddio is a blues musician and I've been hanging out in bars and helping him unload equipment since I was twelve. The smell of spilled beer and cigarette smoke in a dank, dimly lit bar makes me go warm and fuzzy inside. And the Knitting Factory, in Williamsburg, about fits this description, even though to smell the cigarettes, you have to get right up to the bricks and sniff deep, because nobody smokes inside anymore. I guess the Knitting Factory is some kind of New York music scene institution. They've got old music posters with David Bowie and the Ramones posted in the vestibule, so that's got to mean something. Whenever I stumble into some "famous" place like this in the city, I feel like I'm running into someone I've met so often that I should remember their name, but can't, so I fake recognition. "Oh, hi, it's so good to see you, how have you been?"So yes, the Knitting Factory, of course, how cool, I haven't seen their new location, who's playing tonight?

Their website said the first band went on at 8, so I get there at about 7:30 and hang around with my silly putty and my clipboard and my Preachers That Lie shirt (thanks, Dean!). When the music starts, I go into the performance space and see that there's only three people in the audience. A band playing to an empty to is about the saddest thing in the world, right next to an empty restaurant and a wet, shivering kitten. I feel a pang of angst for them. It's like throwing a party and none of your guests show up! So when they finish their song, I clap and wooo! to show them that someone was listening, dammit! And everyone swivels around and stares at me. "We could use less bass," the guitarist calls out.

That's when I realize that they weren't performing. They were doing a sound check.

I felt like such an idiot.

But if there's one thing I've learned in all my years as a roadie--and apparently being able to tell the difference between a set and a sound check isn't one of those things--it's that the show must go on. Rather than slink out of the bar and scurry weeping into the night, I stick out my chest, break out my best PR smile and my silly putty, thrust my clipboard out and sign the band up for free email updates from the Village Voice. They were very into it. It's probably pretty rare for them to get applause just for practicing.

That's just how I roll.

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