don't you tell me how i feel.

White Birds Tour: Day 8 by don't you tell me how i feel.
October 2, 2011, 1:15 pm
Filed under: white birds tour

In which White Birds play a Craigslist prank, earn some new fans in Connecticut, and head to NYC.

I awoke to the sound of strained grunts. Rolling over on the couch, I saw Chris and Farzad were doing serious calisthenics on the carpet, drenched in sweat. James walked out of his room in in a black T-shirt and shorts. “I feel like every bone in my body needs to be cracked,” he said. The door to the third-floor staircase eased open, and I saw furry UGGs stepping down. Mike was ready.

White Birds had to get on the road to Connecticut by 2 PM. Before that, however, they wanted to unload the van and do an amp/instrument/laptop/equipment check. So, after Chris and Farzad took cold showers (still no hot water in D-Town), the band headed out into the yard and got to it. Farzad went in his towel. James began working on re-packing the keyboard, and Mike pondered his clamp light (used to make the White Birds kick drum glow from the inside). I clambered onto the top of the van and snapped a picture.

I went back inside to take my own cold shower. I turned it on and stood in the claw-foot bathtub for a moment, terrified. After shivering for 10 seconds, I went for it, bellowing like a harpooned sea monster. Bracing ain’t even the word.

It was horrible while it happened, but afterward, the ice water made me appreciate the warm air. I felt invigorated, and headed downstairs to see what was going on. Mike was in the windowless practice room, trying out different colored lights for his bass drum. Both he and Farzad were digging the red, but the white bulb ended up carrying the day. It brought out the details in the design best.

Farzad’s dad has an oriental rug store in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and it was there that White Birds found those beautiful Persian lovemaking tapestries. They outfitted the amps and kick drum with them last summer.

With the van loaded up and the sunshine streaming through the trees, we left, grabbing burgers at Five Guys on the way out. It was a three-hour drive to Daniel Street in Milford, Connecticut. On the way over, I learned that earlier that morning, Farzad and Mike had taken a picture of Chris’s car and posted it up on Craigslist, asking $8500 for it. They were waiting with heavy anticipation for that first phone call inquiry.

It came around 5:45. We all watched Chris take the call, trying not to laugh. He hung up, turned around and looked at Mike and Farzad, suspicious. They couldn’t keep the secret long — it was too funny, and Chris figured things out pretty quickly.

We watched three episodes of The Sopranos on that drive. Every time the HBO tag came on at the end (you know, with the static tv look and that remote-clicking sound?) James sang the one note “ahhhhhhhhhh” vocal cue, opera-style.

It was actually the worst drive of the tour. The Friday rush hour traffic made it a mostly stop-and-go affair, and we had to deal with the weekend exodus from NYC. James navigated the van through it, slowly, and somehow we still made it to Daniel Street on time.

There were four bands playing that night. White Birds went on at 10. We loaded the gear in and hiked to the green room upstairs, which was walled off in the corner of a massive, darkened room. It looked like a forgotten practice space, and instruments were scattered everywhere. Farzad spent a good hour investigating this treasure trove, and discovered a Studer Master Recorder A-80 that he liked.

We ate a dinner of penne pasta and salad that the good folks at Daniel Street provided, and I recorded a lengthy interview with Jim behind the venue, near the fire escape.

White Birds got to work at 10:13, beginning with the pensive, drum and organ-laced beat of “When Women Played Drums.” The chorus comes only three times in that song, and I still don’t know the words to the harmony, but the skyscraping delivery by James and Farzad, man—it sounds like something is being wrenched away from hands trying (and failing) to hold on fast.

“Bee Hive” is something else entirely. Welcome to the slowly churning spiral of a an advanced psychedelic galaxy. Why? There is a cochlea-kissing secret at the center, and we get to see Chris and Farzad play keys together for the only time in the show. As for “Hondora,” I want Brian Wilson to hear it, so I can watch his reaction. That may sound a little heavy-handed, but I am being real. White Birds make music at that level.

“Floating Hands” and “We Both Scream” came next, like two flashbulb bursts from an old-school camera. I’ll go into detail about these songs at a later date, but for now, just know they’re timeless.

James finished things up with “Veins Lined With Rust,” and I recorded video of it on my iPhone.

It suddenly struck me that it would all be over tomorrow. Not for White Birds (they have two weeks off before doing the second leg of the tour, in the South), but for me. It was a really depressing thought, actually.

As I brooded over this at the merch table, a young couple came up and signed the email list. They couldn’t stop talking about how fantastic the show was. Hearing them expound upon the set reminded me of how I had felt walking out of Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life—a feeling of being overwhelmed in the best possible way.

It didn’t stop there, either. I sold one of the handmade White Birds snow hats (knitted by Mike’s lady fair, Kelly) to another new fan, and I almost sold a T-shirt to another guy, but dude only had a credit card. Chris took over the merch table after that, and he also sold a snow hat. There’s only one left y’all.

Victorious, I went back upstairs to the green room, and ran into Mike and Farzad. They had found a large painting in the cavernous upstairs at Daniel Street, and the owner had said they could have it. I followed them downstairs to watch them load it into the van.

We left Daniel Street soon after, and Mike drove two hours to New York’s Upper East Side, where we would be crashing at Kelly’s apartment. We listened to Yellowbirds, Secret Cities, Yuck, Women and Pinback on the way.

James parallel-parked on 88th street, and noted the Muni Meter there. Someone would have to come back at 8 a.m. to pay its evil toll. We walked through the rain to Kelly’s building, and humped our tired entourage up to the fourth floor.

Kelly and her roommate (a nice girl named Chuck) welcomed us to New York City with snacks and a case of PBR. We stood in the kitchen, drank a few beers and took stock of the day.

Everybody was pretty beat. Chris passed out on the couch. I had one last conversation with Farzad and James on the fire escape, waxing philosophical about the past week, and I again became sad. I fucking love these guys.

We hit the sack, and I fell asleep to the sound of Farzad making melodies on his iPhone (via the Soundprism app).

– Lehtola

Tomorrow: The final show in Brooklyn.


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