Nedelle / Destroyer / Magnolia Electric Co. @ Avalon; New York, NY

March 29, 2006

Good afternoon. Thank you to whomever decided they wanted to pay me $130 for my Nintendo. That’s quite a piece of Evan-related memorabilia you’re about to own. Also, you’ve gone a long way toward paying for a new (and most-definitely superfluous) guitar amplifier. Thanks, anonymous Canadian person!

Last night I drove into the city, found parking very easily, and marched a few blocks and avenues to The Avalon. The tickets said doors at seven, but I forgot I was in New York–where fashionably late is key to seeing an “indie” show–so there wasn’t really anyone there yet. I stood outside the church next to a guy whose name I never really heard. We spoke for a while about music; he mentioned he hadn’t seen a show here in fifteen years since a Rollins Band concert. I told him I wasn’t really that angry at the world when I was seven, I was mostly excited about pizza-lunch day in elementary school. He talked a lot about Will Oldham and Tim Buckley and “musicians who do what they want and don’t give a shit about writing for an audience.”

Nat showed up a few minutes before Nedelle took the stage, with two friends of his from Santa Cruz, or something…I think one of them was on an episode of Law and Order. They’re trying to “make it.”

The last time I saw Nedelle was in May, when she opened for The Danielson Famile and Deerhoof. On that night, she sat next to a weird-looking, gawky guy who accompanied her on a few numbers and, consequently, ruined them. My impression of her then was that she was a very cute girl who sounded exactly like Mirah. Her songs needed a little work but the voice was there. Last night she performed solo. She’s still cute–in a young, girlie way–and still sounded like Mirah, but the songs still need some work. She plinked and plucked away at a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar for fifteen or twenty minutes. She had a pretty large cheering section that consisted largely of members of The Coke Dares and a girl named Carolyn (a friend of one of Nat’s friends) who has been playing with her on this tour, but did not tonight.

Destroyer took the stage at about 9:15, and–to my amazement–drew a huge response from the audience. Not really knowing much about the band or their history, I was actually quite weirded out by the large contingency of cult-ish followers who screamed along to every song and pumped their fists furiously to the rhythm of the songs. The lead guitarist looked like Stephen Baldwin with a stick up his ass, and the keyboard player looked like “The Hebrew Hammer,” with–as Nat noticed–“that typical melting-face Jew-y look.” They played for a little over an hour, came back and did an encore. I recognized maybe four or five songs, the rest I didn’t know. People kept shouting requests between every song. Not very much stage presence from anyone really, some dorky jokes and that was all. Overall, a very impressive set. Once they finished and the house lights rose, a huge chunk of the audience either left or moved to the back of the room.

Magnolia Electric Co. took the stage at about 10:30, it was a very quick set change. A great full-band rendition of “Hammer Down,” opened a set that lasted a little over an hour. I don’t know the name of the Coke Dares’ drummer but he’s awesome. At the beginning of the set, Molina mentioned they had a picture of Black Sabbath that they were using as their inspiration for the evening. He lifted the photo and showed the crowd, and then said, “you can pass it around if you want…” and handed it to a girl near the front of the stage. He joked, “it’d be awesome if everyone signed it.” They played about five more songs and then I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was one of Nat’s friends, handing me the Sabbath photo and a black Sharpee pen. I signed and passed it on. When it got back to Molina he started laughing and kind of let out a scream about how “fucking awesome” that was. They closed the set with “Werewolves of London,” “I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost” and a newer song.

After the show, Nat took off for the F-Train, his friends started walking south along 6th Ave and I turned onto West 20th to make my way over to 3rd Ave. as I was passing the side entrance to the church I noticed Molina had just stepped outside for a smoke. I made my way over to him and said, “Hey Jason,” and he reached out his hand to shake mine.

I asked, “Do you remember last summer ever getting an e-mail from someone at Secretly Canadian about a writer who wanted to interview you for a travel book?”

He said, “No, why, was that you?”

I said yes, and told him about the project. He said it was an awesome idea for a book, and that he’ll definitely be in Chicago next month when I’m there, and would really like to get together for a talk. He gave me his contact information and said he looked forward to hearing from me. I thanked him, told him they played a great show–even without the slide guitarist–and went on my way.

Today I sent the first draft of my book to Jet and Molly for more edits. Now I’m going to go forage for some food. Later I’ll go to Jersey City, or something.

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