26 March 2007


Pt. 3: Back To The States

Canada had been such a successful stretch for the tour, on levels of music, audience, and economics. Because of this I was superstitiously a bit concerned about what would happen on the next series of concerts: Burlington (12th), Boston/Somerville (13th), New York (14th), Brooklyn (15th), D.C./Vienna (16th), and Pittsburgh (17th). In addition, the group had just played six nights in a row without a break, and was faced with handling another six concerts before heading back to Chicago. At some point we would have to deal with physical exhaustion and still find a way play well. This is called “the job.”

After figuring out how to get across the border the drive to Burlington was pretty easy, so we had a fair amount of free time before the concert, which was held at the Firehouse Gallery. Walking around town, I didn’t see any indication that we were playing a show that night, no posters, nothing in the paper. The people who organized the performance, however, knew how to reach people and get them to the performance. When the quintet’s concert started, the room was full of listeners. It’s clear that more and more younger listeners and presenters are using the web to find the information they want and to get their information out to people; the paper trail is blowing away.

If there is a wild card for playing in the United States, it’s Boston. First, it’s odd to even call it Boston because there really aren’t any gigs in Boston; they’re either in Cambridge or Somerville, or when Artists At Large was running, out in Hyde Park. Second, it’s absolutely impossible to predict if there will be an audience or not. Sometimes the place is packed, sometimes the room is nearly empty, regardless if you’ve got press or not. On this occasion the Vandermark 5 had some luck, a solid crowd at a club called Johnny D’s. The venue has been around for a long time, when I lived in Somerville in the mid 1980’s I saw Sonny Sharrock and his band play there. Dave and I have family the area, and I’ve kept in touch with musicians like Curt Newton, Pandelis Karayorgis, and Charlie Kohlhase- it was great to see everyone come by.

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