September 5, 2008

802 Tour Wrap Up and Final Report From The Road by Nico Muhly

The 802 Tour has (sadly) ended. To wrap up the experience, we compiled some reviews from various sources - the Examiner, the Washington Post, and Bostonist all had nice things to say. Björk went on a spiel about the notorious lack of fact-checking in pop music journalism while bringing Nico's name and work up as an example. With all of that extra material for your reading pleasure, we're posting the final 802 Tour Report From The Road, this time from Nico. Enjoy.

Reports From The Road by Nico Muhly (802 Tour, Day Sixteen, 8/29)

We just played the second-to-last show of this tour, in Toronto. We compressed our show (which, in its ideal format is two 60-minute sets) into a lean, mean, 75-minute set of highlights all in the service of being a good opening act for Final Fantasy, which is a one-man band and some of my favorite music being made today. He played some new material, which is really, really exciting to me always.

One of the totally fascinating things about doing these shows has been the various interpretations of start times, end times, set lengths, curfew, etc. All of this is new to me; I'm used to the formality of seated concerts that start either at 7:30 or 8. An example of this chaos: we rolled into Montréal. On our little sheet that the booker sent us, there was one start time, something like 8 PM. A girl who was interviewing me for CBC Radio texted me and was like, “are you crazy, nobody in Montréal goes out before ten!” — whoops! Then, through a series of phone calls, questions, all that, we decided to push the show back ninety minutes. Nobody seemed to mind this; the venue is in the same building as the most delicious tapas I ever et.

Another fascinating thing is the idea of people Promoting Shows and the whole idea of there being somebody whose job it is to make people buy tickets. About a week before we were meant to play there, we started getting phone calls from our booking people in Chicago talking about, “the promoter in DC is anxious because he hasn’t sold any tickets.” It’s a fascinating moment for me: should I have been more performatively aggressive on my Webternet Spaces about getting the good people of our nation’s capital out to this man’s venue, to relieve his anxiety? Should I have FedExed him an Ativan?

The man became convinced that we were not going to be able to be worth his while, so he paid us One Thousand USA Dollars to not play. Genius, right? We figured out that Sam and Thomas and I were each worth $333.33 of awful; we’re going to take each other out to dinner when we’re back in the city. And then drunk dial that venue. Anyway, we changed the show to a great church in Silver Springs, Dan Bora, our Soundguy, pulled the show out of his ass in a truly heroic fashion, with the help of the Contradance community of greater DC. It was a much better feeling than dealing with even the specter of Anxiety Dude (hope you’re feeling better!). We were also happy because we were staying in a big old house with WiFi. (See picture up above.)

Some other promoters, on the other hand, were completely laid back. We played a show in Philadelphia in a beautiful church, and our promoterdude was this totally laid back blondie who was so nice that we offered him our Signature Backstage Cocktail (a Coriander Cervix, which is Hendricks Gin muddled with cucumber, coriander, a lot of limes, and poured over ice with a pinch of black pepper; at my momma house this is modified to include cracked dried juniper berries, but we didn't take a mortar or its attendant pestle on the road). Thanks, Philly Blondie! We had bought Dan Bora celebratory wine as a thanks for the DC show, including Trump Brand Vodka. The vodka actually ended up coming into play the next day, on our drive from New York to Boston, when Dan and Nadia had the ingenious idea to buy V8 and put the Trump Vodka in it: Bloody Merritts! The perfect way to acknowledge Sunday.


(This entry was excerpted from Nico's blog. You can read the entire post, complete with photographs and captions, here.)

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