Tuesday, December 16, 2008

osaka. get at me....

i love this town. it's not quite matsumoto. but i'll take it any day over anywhere else in jp (except matsumoto...)

it's so good to be back. i'm so lucky i've gotten to return twice in one year. all the school kids were freaking out on the airplane looking to their left to see mt. fuji, one of their teachers tried to get my attention....i put him in place with perfect japanese: i can't be bothered, Suwa Lake is out the the right side. and i point. he goes: ahhhhh, suwa lake. as if he went there yesterday....but i know he was floored.

it cracks the promoters up when i order shouchu with hot water, the wheat kind. it drives them up the wall when i request sake from the brewery down the street from my old house...masumi, check it out, it's exported, it's that good. all vegetarian onigiri's please!

but osaka....osaka is all business all the time. money money money and business. the scientists say the people of osaka have the fastest walking pace in the world. they are all walking very very fast to wherever they make their money. and i dig it. 'cause the workday wraps and these guys know how to party.

Shinsaibashi has got to be one of the largest entertainment districts in eastern asia, square mile after square mile of ground to roof-top bars and restaurants and lounges and karaoke joints.
and our hotel is right in the middle of it.

as soon as we check in, i take jon and mike down to dotomburigawa to see the bright lights and the ferris wheel, and clubs. dotomburigawa. the first song i ever wrote/sang with mycar was about dotomburigawa. we walk the pedestrian street and the shopping arcade and the boys snap photos of funny ads and ufo catcher and goofy statues. we're surrounded by thousands of people popping in and out of the crab restaurants and takoyaki stands and yakitori bars. all hustle. all bustle. and then we duck down an invisible alley and everything gets real quiet and we're standing in the midst of one of jp's most beautiful shrines and its dark and the people pray and this has always been my favorite spot in the city.

i guess the story goes hundreds of years ago, two fisherman pulled this god up from the bottom of the sea. they sat him down and the people worshipped him. and osaka's wealth exploded. to the merchant capital it is today...or something like that. still today the locals toss water on him to keep the moss growing....like their money. the photo above does not do it justice. the ambience and atmosphere are totally lost. but i dig it. not 50 feet away there's 5000 people chowing on crab and grilled chicken, and here in ther dark of the alley the noise all falls away and a handful of businessmen throw coins and clap and ring the bell and light the incense and an ages old god from the see grows moss.

i fucking love this town.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

knee deep in new york city.

today we're back in NYC. bowery ballroom. doing this invite only party for a very large corporation that sells high-class luxury goods. it's the real deal....red carpet, limos, B-listers, C-listers, and Kevin Bacon....it's been, uhhh, an interesteing day.

the bowery ballroom....i gotta say, i'm not in love with the venues in this town. the production teams are always great to work with. but the buildings themselves don't do it for me. i've seen shows all over town, done shows all over town, know people that run clubs all over town...and none of them really do it for me. but bowery ballroom...you're probably my favorite.

that said...i haven't done T5...or hiro ballroom. hiro ballroom. i was put on this earth to do a show at hiro ballroom. were i to ever open a club...it would be a very solid mix of the the paradise in amsterdam, and the hiro ballroo- aesthetically. wide, spacious, balcony, red velvet booths....

i've only ever been there once. back before my music days. when i was still trying to break into it all. i was volunteering at CMJ 2006 for the week. i got out early enough to book it to hiro ballroom for erase errata and deerhunter. the line outside the door was insane. i wasn't gonna get in even with my badge. so i got smart. leesah had always told me when we were younger that there was always a way in. and it didn't involve blowjobs....i made my way around back, found the alley door to the kitchen...ran my way through some access tunnels, snuck up some stairs, took a wild guess, jumped through a door, and found myself in the hallway to the hiro ballroom bathrooms. and i was in. erase errata was great, the sound in the room sucked. the drinks were too expensive. i stayed for deerhunter's first three songs, and decided to book it to brooklyn, where i met my friends shellshag at a secret warehouse gig they were playing....and we all got kicked out by the police halfway through their set because the building was condemned and fire hazards and no liquor licenses yadda yadda yadda.....

so yeah. it's a beautiful room. i wanna do it someday. even if troubles me like all the other gigs in town...sorry new york, just can't give the love....

(this is the only decent interior shot i can find, and that is Nada Surf on stage, i guess)