The middle-aged fat man in the purple-striped shirt wouldn’t stop hitting on young girls.
This was, as my friend and bandmate Tal described, the “glue” of my second day at North by Northeast. But before I continue, some background information is necessary.
About a month ago, my band New Stems played a show at the Horseshoe Tavern that was sponsored by the local modern rock radio station, 102.1 The Edge. When our set concluded and we’d finished packing up our gear, a man came up to our vocalist/rhythm guitar player Jordan, talked to him for about 15 minutes, and gave him a business card. As Jordan excitedly relayed to us afterwards, this man was from a record label, and told us to shoot him an email the next day. Many high-fives were had. The next day, we did as the man instructed, and after a few emails back and forth, he invited us to attend a BBQ that the label was hosting during NxNE. We were only supposed to bring two people – though we probably could have brought more – and Jordan was in San Diego this week, so it was up Tal and I to represent.
The BBQ was being held at a place called The Football Fountain, a sports bar devoted to soccer. It was running from 7-10, so our goal was to get there fashionably late at 8 o’clock. As we exited the subway at Queen Station it looked like we would hit this mark, but we were thwarted by the Much Music Video Awards’ stage, which was being constructed outside and cut off streetcar operations eastbound until Bathurst St – exactly where we needed to get to. We had to wait around for a bus for 15 minutes, and after a short, extremely cramped bus ride, we decided to just get off and walk the rest of the way, our lateness quickly changing from fashionable to….just plain late.
Luckily, it wasn’t such a big deal, as it turned out it was mostly just a bunch of bands playing and not really the intimate “so, let’s talk about a record deal” thing that we thought it would be. We were obviously disappointed about this, especially because we had missed the opportunity for free beer due to our lateness, but it gave us a chance to check out two bands – and me a chance to write about them.
The first one was an indie rock group called Paper Maps. They looked really familiar to me and I wrongfully thought that I had seen them play at Sonic Boom during Record Store Day. They didn’t really do anything particularly unique, but they had a ton of energy and some great guitar tones. It was during this set that I first noticed that fat drunk man in the purple shirt. He went up to a pretty girl behind me and commented on how much he liked the flower in her hair. This would maybe be cute if the girl seemed like she knew the guy at all – but she didn’t. This was the first of many similar moments as Purple-Shirted Fat Man got more and more belligerent throughout the night.
The other musician we saw was an acoustic act named Kevin Myles Wilson. He was fine; he played a solid blues and had a good voice, but Tal and I both agreed that something about him seemed a little…inauthentic. The “incessant devil horns” of a folk musician is making a melodramatic song about how you may not have much in your life but goddammit all you need is a guitar. It just seems very self-conscious to me, like the person feels that they need to heavy-handedly explain to the audience how much they love music for fear that they won’t be understood otherwise. Anyways, I’m not here to shit on the guy – as I said, good voice, nice guitar playing, songs are decent.
It was during his set that Tal and I started striking up a conversation with a girl named Vanessa, who gave us the lowdown on Purple-Shirted Fat Man. She’s in a band called Goodnight, Sunrise by the way, and they’re playing at Rancho Relaxo on Sunday. I promised her I’d plug her band if she let me use her as a character, so there ya go. So anyways, here’s the story with Fat Man, as told by Vanessa – apparently, he came into the bar with a video camera but no actual media pass and proceeded to talk to various young ladies, and insisting that they were now his camera crew. I saw him put his arms around a bunch of these girls awkwardly throughout the night, as well as approach an attractive female musician who played earlier on to tell her about the “great footage” they got of her, before stumbling to the bar to buy her a drink. A grain of this is probably true – there was one girl who actually was filming all the bands I saw, and with some good equipment to boot. None of the girls got mad at him or told him to fuck right off, and mostly kept a façade of calm politeness when he spoke to them. I couldn’t understand this at first, until I realized that he kept buying them beers. So I guess the girls won in the end in a suitably scheming way – well done, ladies. And it allowed Tal and I to meet some cool people and give out the business cards that we had made specifically for the event, so I guess it worked out for pretty much everyone. Fuck that guy though. Seriously. What a creeper.
Anyways, we left after Wilson’s set finished up. I was going to go to the Parlovr show, but hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the night before so, satisfied with the two bands I ended up seeing that night, decided to just head on home. Check back tomorrow for more!