Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Room, Yes, But Not Enough Space!

What a blast we had at East River Bar. It was packed with bike messengers, single strap bags, hooded sweaters, young confident people and stacks of attitude. Turned out the three bands were strangely compatible with the wild crowd. But I let Lars from the fantastic Moss Empire tell the story. You can find his original post on their MySpace page. Just one more thing: Hold on to that drummer you got there, Compass - he not only comes from Liverpool, he is the perfect mix of Ringo and Dave Grohl.

Moss Empire Rule the East River Bar

Compass tore into their set with adorable furor and style

Table Hopping, Kick Drum Jumping Room

Here's what Lars writes:

Monster Track Bike Party Mayhem

When you see a bunch of fixed gear bikes outside the bar you know it's gonna get interesting.

So our pal Roman from Room hooked us up with this gig at the East River Bar Saturday night. And we're thinking, 10 of our best friends in a room. And it's all shady -- we have to bring the drums, the PA is a rumor, and this place is literally under the bridge, so there's a troll-like "grind your bones up for my bread" vibe to the place. And we park the van and it won't start.

So we roll in at 8:00 PM and the find out there's been a massive international bike messenger race that day and for better or worse, we are going to be the entertainment. The challenge: there's half an inch of water-beer on the floor and 200 hopped up messengers on the "stage." Long story short: We commandeer some space with the bartender's help, literally clear folks out, establish a perimeter, set up, and 45 minutes behind schedule we finally get it together and Compass goes on. But are the messengers/alley cats going to be surly? 'Cause this party, make no mistake, belongs to THEM. Is this going to be the Blues Brother playing at a C+W bar? Bill and I nervously try to remember the words to "Rawhide."

But the show must go on. And the bike messenger/racers are hopped up on bike messenger adrenaline and beer after beer after beer, and Compass gets them warm with their lovely low atmo-bass thing.

So we're second, and it's like setting up for practice, only with a crowd surrounding us on all sides, racers dancing to the jukebox, no monitors, and cables everywhere to trip on. There is nothing more punk rock than this. After 15 hurried minutes setting up we just start to play. Total strangers two feet away, into it. This girl standing dead in front of Nancy rocking out and egging her on. When we get to Codependent and a mosh pit erupts in a fixed-gear frenzy in front of the jukebox (our first mosh pit). And THEN the intensity mounts and the volume rises and the speed increases and we're just a rocking island in a sea of insane adrenaline junkies who ride without brakes (and 20 bemused friends). And it is beautiful. By the time we get to "Nature" it feels a little, just maybe, like X instead of "Retarded X."

And it gets even more beautiful. Room steps up, vamping under the end of the prize ceremony. Bernd is twanging, Jean is sweating in his Argyle Sweater, Martial is pounding, Jan is holding it together, and Roman is flying all over the room. Kick drum leaps, flying down the stairs, climbing the PA, looking like the bastard issue of David Bowie and Dean Wareham.

And then we're done and loaded out and the messengers are raving and we turn the key and the van starts right up. We want us some more of that.


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