From the moment we hit the 30 degree tarmac at JFK airport it was like slipping into a dress-up party on steroids. All the clichés rolled into one long ride but in the rawest of footage and stripped of cheese. The real deal. kids cracking up under burst fire hydrant mist, doughnut munching cops, fast talking pan handlers, swinging hips under oversized headphones, street-side basketball hoops under the weight of slam dunks, over-acted arguments turned up to 11, busy pavement hoards rushing passed lazy stairway banter, waves of faces rushing in every direction yet all so distinctly individual in their sense of style and self. Everything heaving as though the city were a stomach overfed on too many options at the buffet.
Like anyone living outside the USA, New York’s marked impression on my brain is undoubtedly due to Hollywood depictions and fashion trending it’s way around the globe to my eyes. I always imagined NYC life in the raw would look quite different to the scenes I’ve been fed by the Scorseses and Woody Allens of the world. How wrong I was.
This city has definitely got me by the soul and balls in an instant. Walking around like a mesmerized mungbean and falling in love with every corner I turn. The constant distraction comes with perfect timing having copped the blow of the century recently, uncovering a world of deceit which led to my partner of five years leaving me for another man. Bank rolled and mind trolled she took the promises and the dollars; hook, line and sinker… with the hook tearing a black hole sized gash right through the centre of my heart and world. Grief pushes you into some strange corners and as I’ve reached for all the obvious alcoholic band-aids, another part of me has been watching on from above, almost laughing at the clichéd stages I’ve been going through. Initially scrambling to save it with everything I had in me (holy shit I even booked myself in to get a tattoo with her name across my hip – ha!), it was soon obvious that her choice was made and the betrayal ran too deep to reconcile. Which makes this trip to the US even more perfectly timed and in the end has given me more focus on here and now.
SO here I am not just being distracted but healing faster than Wolverine after a knife fight thanks to all the pleasures this city is dishing out. Sipping, skulling, snorting, gigging, singing, eating, watching and devouring anything I can with two cracking mates by my side. Already my mind has been super soaked by the rock hard soul of a NYC woman and whatever you want to call it, the hang out time with her has been soothing and just plain cool on a reassurance front. There are more amazing humans in the world than we will ever have time to know.
Tonight’s gig should be a cracker as the venue Pianos is on the top of the list for local live music in the Lower East Side and it is a Friday night after all. Having it.
I’m trying to keep the blogs from draggin on but here’s a little run down on the gigs so far if you’re keen for an earful:
Kave – Tuesday 21st
Warming into the gigs I played a Tuesday afternoon set in Brooklyn at an artsy cafe called Kave. It was a rough set up with a shitty sound system that the staff were too scared to touch, so I turned into MacGyver-thron and managed to pull some sounds out of it. Could only go up from there (though I was slipped a business card and a cheeky wink from beautiful ‘UN peacekeeper’ after she packed up her laptop… amazing how a shit day can be counter balanced by a microsecond of female energy).
Parkside Lounge – Wednesday 22nd
Second up was Parkside Lounge on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. A classic little dive bar with a hidden venue space out the back. Being my birthday I was well beyond my normal boundaries of playing intoxicated and had been throwing back all sorts of social lubricants since before lunch. Loved the gig though. My set was crammed between some blues and country oldies who had a small pack of enthusiastic fans on board and with my small crew rocking up, we all managed to drink on with laughter and sing-alongs. Smashing night.