Ben Franklin Blog

The blog of the band Ben Franklin from NY and NJ

Wow, So, McCormick’s!

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Holy shit, was that place a riot. It’s apparently closing soon, and for that reason alone I wish I had snapped a photo of the front of the place, and wish to recount our experience, at least in part. First thing to note: the crowd was awesome. Who knows what the new owners who’ve bought the building will do with it, but it’s basically a two-story house in which the first floor was gutted and turned into quite the dive pub. Complete with untended chalk tap list high above the bar, fading and all-but-forgotten, and a full scale replica of a Harley Davidson made entirely out of wicker, hanging from the middle of the ceiling. “NIXON NOW” bumper sticker, signed autograph of Eddie Murphy, lots and lots of “Fuck you, we’re Irish” stuff (which looks like it’s been there for the last 20 years, not since St Paddy’s a couple of weeks ago). I like places like this, because they’re really bizarre worlds unto themselves, full of confused cultural and political references and people.

The place is run by a fellow who is by the account of some folks there, “the biggest asshole,” and by others as, “the nicest guy EVER!” He’s a big, aging dude with curly blonde hair and a short, tight pony-tail in the back. Very ex-hippie (or, evolved hippy?), and he sounds and behaves exactly like an angry Tommy Chong, which is delightful to watch as long as you don’t take it too seriously. He loves to yell and make people think he’s really angry about absurd stuff, and it’s hard to tell when he’s for real (or if he’s ever for real at all), and he kept himself involved with the concert the whole night.

The first group performing was the cleverly named The Civil Suits. They opened up with a mostly instrumental, really groovy piece of dreamy dance stuff, a la indie rock. Kinda Swords Project, as I recall. Anyway, as soon as their first song is over, Angry Tommy is from behing the bar to in front of the band like a lightning bolt and grabs the mic, and chaos ensues. “That’s a FIRE EXIT, maaan! I told you guys, like, a HUNDRED TIMES, you gotta keep this path to the door clear or the fire department will come in here and fine us, man! FIREMAN IN THE BACK RAISE YOUR HAND!” And older fellow who looks like the sea captain on a box of fishsticks gone hippy is sitting on the stairs in the back, behind the “stage” area of the room, kinda falling over as he raises his one hand, beer in the other and spills some on the floor.

The poor sound guy was seething as he went back and forth thru the crowd and Angry Tommy carried on. But then AT tried to mix it up with “c’mon! don’t be so serious! I say hey, you say ___” and he holds out the mic for an awkward second of silence before continuing on. The younger kids in the crowd, many of them up front for The Civil Suits, were obviously bridling. Me and the other Franklins were watching with amusement, we love a good shit show, and we’d found it. Also, they were letting us drink for free, so Angry Tommy is alright in our book. We made sure to leave no gear in the little pathway to salvation during our set.

What we saw was really making no sense. Adam: “hahaha, you SEE this guy?” Sarah, “Woah.” Eddie laughed like the Cheshire Cat. I loved every minute of it. It really just added to the evening, the bands didn’t let it faze them at all, they got right to business with a really receptive audience every time. Meet/Pause was the second group, a really ripping local band that seems to share some bit of style and influence with some of the other bands kicking out heavier rock music in New Brunswick’s basements.

We played after Meet/Pause, we made a mess, people had fun, and we drank all the free beer. One of the more vigorous sets we’ve had in a while, and the first time I think we’ve ever ended a set without Fren Banklin! Had to keep it moving for the next guys and to avoid sound curfew.

Up last were The Nico Blues, a band I’ve been hearing about since they played with Black Water at the Kearny Irish. Damn good band, if you like us, you’re probably really going to like these guys. Angry Tommy jumped on the mic during the start of their first song, so the band started a chorus of, “get off the fucking mic!” or some-such, it was pretty hilarious. AT took it like a champ, and then proceeded to start the dance party during their set. All the young girls loved dancing with AT.

And then it was all over and we all got the hell out of dodge!

Thanks to Rocker Tycoon, the refugees of the iGods House, the Killing Horse and Spillpeak Media crew from North Jers, and everyone else who was there for coming out. I believe Zac took a bunch of photos, look out!

~Billy

P.S. Announcements coming soon, but we’re doing a Double Header in Brooklyn on Fri APR 8. We’ll be playing an in-store semi-acoustic and intimate performance of a bunch of new and old stuff we don’t normally play over at Permanent Records in Greenpoint, on Franklin St. at 7pm. Later that night we’ll be joining The Press at Bruar Falls to bring the full sound and fury. And we need your bodies there! I NEED YOUR SKUUUUUUUUUUULLS.

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Written by Ben Franklin

March 27, 2011 at 9:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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