Don and I headed down from SnowWhiteLand with the intention of hanging out with family (Don’s older sister and her husband have a place in Hoboken; his younger brother was going to be around as well) before heading over to the barge for set-up and sound check. Our plans, well laid though they were, ganged aft agley: it took us longer to get into town then we’d thought. We weren’t sure exactly where the barge was docked. Once we found it, we had to return to the parking garage for drums and costumes. It took a damn sight longer to set up than we’d anticipated. Sound check ate a chunk of our lives. What it all came down to was that there was no chance of the family gathering beforehand. We’re lucky we were able to grab sandwiches (which, by the bye, took the deli guys FORfreakin’EVER to make).
But enough bitching and moaning. The gig ended up being a complete delight.
I’ve got some pics, but before I post them I feel honor bound to tell you that I’m a scatterbrained eejit who forgot to bring her camera. All images are courtesy of my iPhone, the poor wee boo.
So. The barge.
The most important thing about the barge (other than it’s interesting history, which you can read about if you click on the link further up the page) is that they have a bunny.
Duey (oy, Timony-and-related-folk! another homonym DeweyBunny! only way, way WAY smaller) has the run of the barge when there are no performances going on. Apparently he’s keen on nibbling at electrical wires and, whilst uncaged, hopping out into the stage lights at the worst possible moments. He’s also thoroughly unwilling to wait for twelve seconds while my camera phone focuses. I dumped about thirty photos of him hopping away or shaking his head or leaving me with naught but very blurry bunny butt at the very moment my phone clicked the pic. *sigh*
The second most important thing about the barge is that the moment you set foot upon it, you know that it would be the most delightful living space EVER. There’s a charming galley...
... and old boots-turned-container-gardens.
There are cozy chairs settled near sliding panels that open up onto the water.
The entire craft is open and airy and rustic and warm. It blends the best of performance space with a sense of home.
And there’s this. If I lived on the barge, I would never stop playing with this. Ever.
I wish I’d managed remotely worthy pics of the hand painted backdrop (straight from Vaudeville and utterly stunning) and the circus gear (the owner is a clown and juggler, and his daughter is a trapeze artist; they regularly perform circuses on the barge along with a wire walker, a Chinese acrobat and whomever else they’ve got to hand). I did get a couple of shots during our set-up. Here’s Dan, looking all manner of stern. Also of note: monitors! They made our lives very, very happy during that evening’s show.
Hey, it's my sweetie! He’s a bit shiny (it was warm and we had a bit of a walk to get to the space) but shmexy all the same. Note his cart o’ drums. Can you find all four?
From portside: the waterfront park.
From starboard, the Lackawanna Terminal. It’s a pretty station, clean and well maintained and with lovely, elegant architecture inside and out.
But enough about the barge and not getting to hang out with Don’s family prior to the show and Hoboken’s charming waterfront. On to the show proper. Or, rather, on to the the rather scary realization that we only had twelve advance ticket sales. Twelve. Last minute walk-on traffic aside, that wasn’t all that promising for a barge that seats one hundred. One of the crew was sent out to drum up business, and of course my sweetie got into full costume, grabbed a drum and headed out to the waterfront park to inveigle people to attend the show.
I’m not sure how much was Don’s effort, nor how much was the crewman’s, but we found the barge at about 2/3 capacity by the time we started our first set.
Here’s the thing: we have lovely, devoted fans who enjoy what we do. They make it easy for us to take for granted that we’re pretty decent singers/musicians/all ‘round performers. But put us in front of an audience that’s 90% newcomers - people who have never heard us, nor are the type who would normally seek out our kind of music - that’s daunting.
So. We had a (mostly) captive audience (who, admittedly, had the option of disembarking at any time). Mostly newcomers of a wildly divergent variety (among my favorites: Stefan, the young, spiky-blue-haired-punk Frenchman who brought in three or four or six friends, and this guy (who has a pretty darned cool blog), along with his three friends). And there we were. All eight of us in full red-and-black costume. There were two forty-five minute sets. There was laughter, drinking, swaying (mostly due to the rising tide) and tears (I made people cry!* Holy crow!) and, at the end of the night, there was - I kid you not - a standing ovation.
After the show we were all sort of bouncing about on waves of adrenaline and giddiness. Karen , crossbonesmccoy and crimsontom headed home. My in-laws (Don’s sister and her husband (M&F, whom we’d failed to hook up with prior to the show) and his younger brother (S)) had made it to the gig. After everything was broken down and loaded into the Great Red Minivan, we all headed out to a local bar only to decide it was far too crowded and loud and bleargh.
As we stood outside bar, flanked, somewhat inexplicably, by twenty-something females in veryvery short and tight dresses with veryvery strappy and high heels, M. said, “We live one block away. I have a back patio, I have snacks, I have beverages.” Dan had since found parking not a hundred feet away. There was no need for further discussion.
We repaired to M&F’s brownstone and hung out until the wee hours.... but that’s a story for another day. Let me just tell you that I want to sharpen my photography skills so that I can do that house justice.
The bathrooms alone warrant a full blog entry.
mmm. I could live in that room.
*’Song of the Gull,’ which I wrote a thousand years ago and Robin put to music a few months past, is a bit of puzzle to me. When I wrote the lyrics, I loved them. But the more I looked at them, the more I cringed and winced and rolled my eyes. “Ye gods, Kilcoyne,” thought. I “Lame. Cloying. Manipulative. Okay, that’s a nice phrase, and that imagery is all right, but the rest? Yeesh.”
But Robin wrote such a lovely, clean melody evocative of a WWI music hall tune that it totally works. This in spite of my manning the lead vocal (y’all know how comfortable I am with that, especially when I have to sing in my head voice). People were honestly moved. There was one woman I’d been certain was laughing at the corniness of the lyrics; turns out she was crying so hard she was laughing at herself. And Nina, thumbelinablues’ roomie protested when I swore I’d not write another weepy until I’d churned out a crazy wacky silly happy song. Seems there’s a market for making people cry.