Sunday, October 12, 2008

The way Saturday should be.

Good times. I rolled out of bed this morning, made some coffee, listened to NPR for a while... then popped The Afghan Whigs' Gentlemen album in for some reason. Greg Dulli's wails of depravity, degredation and lust were a bit much. "Is this what today is going to be like?" I thought. "Is this one of those days when I roll out of bed and begin listening to Gentlemen at my earliest convience?" Wasn't where I wanted to go, so I left the house and started walking down the street.

Fortunately, I stumbled upon Romeo & Cesare's 20th anniversary celebration... and also a number of my neighbors. Romeo & Cesare's is the market around the corner from my house, and while I normally consider stopping by there a bit of an extravagence (except when it comes to tomatoes -- they're selling taste-bud-popping local tomatoes right now for $0.99/lb), for this celebration thing they had a pretty awesome spread of eats (lots of vegetarian-friendly things, including baked penne, penne with mushrooms and some kind of dreamy cream sauce and ziti with whole olives and obviously fresh basil, oh my god) for free, plus cupcakes one could decorate on one's own. I ran into a couple of my neighbors there. Guy and I tried to decorate a couple cupcakes (yellowish, but very lemony) with this spray-on flavorless stuff and it was kind of comical. I actually hit up Romeo & Cesare's for two meals -- once on my way downtown and once back. Those two visits constituted all I ate all day, except for a slice of toast with peanut butter at breakfast. Yessssss.

Had an excellent summit with a recording engineer re: my band's next record, then hit up the Quiet Life/Citay/M.T. Bearington show at The People's Center. This was Quiet Life's last show in Connecticut before moving to California. "Last show" is duplicitous; I'm certain they'll be back, and they seem to be, too. Yet they're on their way out west. (Read my preview of the show from the New Haven Advocate here -- that should provide context if needed.)

I've seen Bearington a number of times, and if you've been following LaRuminator, you know how I feel about them. Tonight's set was as magical as always. Jay Bates was on the drumkit, and Jay Bates is a man who knows drum technique, particularly snare in relation to cymbals. I spoke with Matt Thomas, who's on the way with the second Bearington album -- the band's already playing some of the songs from that future record.

Citay is awesome. That is all. There's some kind of Southern/classic rock thing going on with them, but in a very smart and beautiful way. The songs are often quite simple in terms of song structure and chord progression -- they're apt to use just a few chords per song, and in sitting on the same chord for a prolonged period of time, these pronounced melodies bubble up (their instrumentation includes an acoustic guitar, two electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and two strong vocalists) and take over. People were whistling and singing their guitar lines after the band was done. That's always a good sign. They're from San Francisco and are on the Dead Oceans label. I feel very fortunate to have seen them, Vetiver and Suckers three years ago at Rudy's, before all those bands started blowing up, but Citay hasn't blown up quite enough for my own liking/sense of justice: Check out their stuff here. I recommend the song "Little Kingdom." That's one of the songs people were whistling afterwards.

Quiet Life were joined by their guitarist friend (whose name I don't remember) and Matt Wilson on pedal steel. They were slightly less unhinged than the last time I saw them, but they sounded great, full, relaxed. There was a lot of soloing. Their friend is a sick rock'n'roll/Americana guitarist, but their in-house solos have so much character that I wished I heard more from them. There were some people hanging out outside who didn't want to pay the cover but were watching/listening through the window, and while it feels slightly unfair that the crowd wasn't larger for Quiet Life, especially on such a special night, it still felt pretty special whoever was there. Lots of friends, good vibes. Wish they could've played for longer, but the People's Center has to close up by a certain time. Dunno about you, but I'm gonna miss these guys.

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