April 1st, 2007

kick it!

The World Café Live gig, Philadelphia, March 24th

We arrived at the venue at 9 o'clock on the dot, but still had to wait in the foyer while the private function took some time to clear the main room. Fans were milling about, and we made the acquaintance of a CoRo virgin called Melanie, who had driven up on her own to check them out. As we had heard from neither Sherry nor Plin, and they were clearly not at the venue either, we invited her to come sit with us at our table. When we were finally allowed in, the waitress tried to seat us in her section at the back, but we weren't having that and politely but insistently requested a table up front. And so we were given the centre front table with only one small table, at which an elderly couple took place, between ours and the stage. We ordered our food and were explaining to Melanie the depth of our commitment to the music of Common Rotation, when the woman on the table next to me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if she and her companion ought to be worried. It turned out they were CoRo virgins, too. They had come to Philadelphia for a conference, and had decided to come down to the World Café Live after checking the listings and looking up the available choices on YouTube. What they had seen of CoRo had obviously impressed them enough to want to check them out further, and of course we told them they had made the right decision. The woman was from Australia, the man from California, though now they both lived and worked in Alaska.

Halfway through my burger, CoRo appeared on stage and launched into Auctioneer, followed by How To Lose. The next two songs, Trouble and Innocent When You Dream were new to me (I haven't listened to the Union Maid since late last year), but I'm told the latter is a cover of a Tom Waits song (shame on me for not knowing that!). In this set, Adam played the sax and the glockenspiel in addition to the harmonica; Jordan the banjo, the trumpet, and the flügelhorn, and Eric...just played the guitar like he always does. Since we saw them last in October, the boys have also added two more choreographies to their set: while Adam does a box step in Trumpet, Eric indulges in a hand dance in Trouble.

One thing I noticed about Eric, was how wide his shoulders had gotten -- as if he's been eating too many GM foods. And before you accuse me of blasphemy: I think Adam agrees with me. In one of the bits of banter between the songs, he mentioned that having been on the road together for so long, they can now recognise who's taking a shower by the sound the water makes as it cascades over them. "Eric has bigger shoulders. I'm kinda hairy and it soaks up the water. Jordan showers with his clothes on."

Of course, I tried to take some pictures, but those pesky boys just won't stand still. However, rosamundeb, who is a far better photographer than I can ever hope to become, has put up some amazingly clear photos on her LJ here, which I hope she will forgive me for directing you to.

Anyways, Try Too Hard has been revived, and another new (to me, at least) song I heard was called Waiting For You. For the off-mic encore, they went with old favourite God Will, for which the next artist on the bill came out to sing with them.

I had only ever heard one David Berkeley song before, A Moon Song, from his debut album The Confluence. I like it a lot, yet it had never inspired me to want to find out more about this singer-songwriter. And after CoRo, I didn't think I could be impressed by anyone else. I was wrong. David seems to be the kind of instinctive poet almost, who paints a picture in words and creates an atmosphere in sound...if you know what I mean. And if not, I won't try to explain it further. But do listen to him, if you get the chance. He's worth hearing.

Jordan was on double duty, by the way, playing the banjo for David, who was also assisted by talented bass player Tyler Gibbons. There aren't many can lay down a good bass line to a folk song, but he can do so without seemingly having to try.

We returned to the B&B on a high, and didn't get much sleep, partly because we stayed up too late, and partly because there was some sort of altercation taking place in the street some time in the wee small hours. But who needs sleep when there is another gig to get to? Cambridge, here we come!

gamiila sig #2

The drive up to Cambridge

Sunday morning, and I start on my day with a nice, refreshing dip in the jacuzzi. If there was anyone in the B&B trying to have a lie-in, I don't think they could have managed it -- what a racket a jacuzzi makes! And, look! The owners have thought of everything. Not only is there soap, shampoo and conditioner in abundance, there are also...duckies!

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At breakfast, Dave seems to have forgiven us for drinking all his wine, and we are treated to delicious home-made sodabread fresh from the oven. To show there's no hard feelings, he spends half an hour giving us directions on the road to Boston; directions which frankly go in one ear and out the other, as Lisa and Jules have already painstakingly researched and made up their minds how they're going to get us there.

We drop Ros off at the station, stopping for a photo opportunity at Mario the Magnificent, and drive straight on back to New York to pick up Nawaz, who despite countless phone calls on the way, still isn't ready to go when we get there. When he is though, he takes first crack at the wheel, and you can't beat a NY cabbie if you want to get out of the city fast and with the minimum amount of hassle.

The drive up to Cambridge is incident-free, but after several hours, hunger pangs oblige us to stop at a roadside McDonald's. After as short a break as we can manage, Jules takes her turn in the driver seat, soon gets the hang of the car and which side of the road she's meant to be driving on.

When we get to Cambridge, we find it's a busy, bustling town with lots of slow-driving traffic and not much parking space...except at the car park right next to the venue! We get out of the car and into the alley -- and there's Eric, busily talking on his mobile! We decide to move to the other side and hopefully pass him by unseen, but Jules trips and hurts herself (not badly, I hasten to add), and all such hopes are dashed. Through the windows of the basement of the club, we can see David and Jordan at rehearsals, and we go in to ask about our table and whether we can bring anyone else along to it. The waitress says she had seated another person there, but she can easily oust them, and having taken care of that, we pop into town and the nearest Urban Outfitters to get Nawaz a scarf as he's come without one and now feels the cold wind. An hour later, we've kitted him out with a new T, a jacket and a pair of shoes (but no scarf!), Julia has found herself a new top to wear to the gig, Lisa's got herself a hat and I've purchased a belt. Nawaz and Julia use the fitting rooms to change into their new gear, and then it's time to go back to Club Passim, which Adam referred to earlier as 'Club Possum'.

The club is tiny, and the best use has been made of the available floorspace by squashing the tables and seats close together. It's a vegetarian restaurant, and the portions they serve are huge:

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I could only eat about a quarter of that. Still, it was delicious. Jules spots someone she knows in the crowd and has a chat with them. We eat, we drink (no alcohol!), we chat, and then the lights are dimmed and David and Jordan step up on stage.

kick it!

Common Rotation trailer

BTW: the band have decided to not issue the DVD for sale; instead, they will make it available FREE FOR DOWNLOAD from their new website which should be up and running in a week or two. "It's meant as a protest," Adam explained, "and you can't charge people for that."