Boston, Boiled Dinners and Sirsy, Part 3


So after the frozen desserts we enjoyed, we did our Rocky impersonation up the stairs to Government Center. For anyone who has never been to Govt center in Boston, there is a massive set of stairs leading from the Faneuil Hall area up to the large open public space that is Govt Center. Every time I hike up those stairs, you can’t help but hear the Rocky theme going in your brain, even though I’m usually out of breath at the top of the stairs and not able to jump around. Though I have been known to throw out a “Yo Adrian” from the top of the stairs….much to the worry of other passerbys.

We cross the street and finally, we were at the Kinsale. I sincerely love this place: it’s a small irish themed restaurant and bar, great food, good choice of beers, a little refuge amidst all the the offices along this road. The people there seem to be sincerely pleased to see anyone wander in and the door man acted almost embarassed to be asking us for money to come in. ($5 cover to see Sirsy) When we first parked, Dawn and I had run in just to use the bathrooms and so I could show her where it was before heading out to dinner, and as we were leaving, the doorman thanked us for stopping in. Dawn looked at me and said “did he just thank you for coming in and peeing?” I laughed.

We rounded the corner of the restaurant and there was Mel and the gang setting up. Grins and hellos were had, but I knew they were busy, so I quickly introduced Dawn to the band, then made a hasty retreat to the far end of the bar to sit and relax and enjoy a drink. I am always paranoid of being a pain in the ass and getting in the way when they are setting up their equipment. To be honest, I could probably help with all that since I used to do the sound whenever a band played at my college station or the folk music/open mic nites at the pub on campus. (Note to self: Apply for roadie job with Sirsy…heeehee) But Rather than offer my assistance, I leave them be and Dawn and I find two stools to hang out at. The waiter, a guy with long hair who, ACCORDING TO Dawn is a dead ringer for Mitch Hedberg, even though I don’t see it. Anyway, this waiter, the last time I was here, was good at picking the right beer for me. Whenever there are too many beers on tap, I like putting it on the waiter to pick something for me. This time, he picks an ESB and Dawn has a jack and coke. Mine arrives and I tell Dawn that I like this beer, very hoppy nutty and bittery flavor. She laughs and says she loves her jack and coke because its very jacky and cokey.

As the band gets ready, we survey the crowd. Because this is a business district, there were a lot of stuffed suits. The kind of people I work with, the sports and boobs crowd. As we are drinking our drinks and making fun of the people, Dawn notices that people keep looking at her then looking above her with concern on their faces. Getting more and more paranoid, she informs me that people are staring at her. I point up above her head….there was a tv with a basketball game on. Dawn then turned a lovely shade of red.

Finally Sirsy start their first set. We make a beeline for a table right in front of Sirsy. That familiar feeling of joy I get whenever I hear Sirsy is aparent when a big grin pops up on my face as I sing along. Dawn looks genuinely surprised at this transformation in me. She happily mocks my singing along with the band. But I notice she is rockin out too. After the second or third song, Heidi comes skulking around the corner…..She had told me she wasn’t sure if she was coming tonite due to her appointment with an old friend. But sure enough and true to form, H had brought her friend along for the Sirsy festivities. Surprised and happy, I gave h a big a hug and introduced her to Dawn, whom she had heard so much about during the Kate Chaos but had never had a chance to meet.

This was the high point of the evening for me. Two friends who had stood by me through all the chaos of the past few months in one place with a band we all loved. As a side note, I realize this is what I wanted all along but the ex would never allow: hanging out with ALL of my friends and having a good time, not just the ones that she approved of. The week before at the Parting Glass had the same feeling and putting Dawn into the mix just made it alll that much sweeter.

After giving up our table to some women who were ordering food and needed a place to sit, we hovered around Guario’s table o’stuff. The First set ended and we hung out with the band and H and Dawn chatted with each other as well as the band. Virgil and I got into a conversation about music involving Jon Zorn, Mr Bungle, Naked City and various artists and musical styles. He turns out to be a fan of experimental music and I was pleased to have someone to talk to about this stuff. When I used to do my radio show, I would play stuff by Praxis and the Boredoms, not to mention John Zorn,Naked City, Mr Bungle, etc and a lot of people get confused when they hear this glorious noise. The mixtures of styles and influences all melded usually into one song was baffling to some listeners, but I eat that stuff up…I love the musicianship of being able to do a full on punk rock noise song then stop on a dime and turn it into a jazz odyssey, then stop again and turn it into a blues song, then funk,then back to punk. I love that. And ultimately, I think that’s what I love about Sirsy: there is no definable style to their music, it’s a mixture of everything. Put simply: They sound like Sirsy. There are elements of jazz, funk, alternative rock, indie aesthetics, its all there. That’s why I have become such a fan. The mixture of styles and influences coming together for one coherent and original sound without coming across as derivitive or imitative. Music that moves you without sounding like anything else. I love it.

During this Break, Greg was working the crowd with the set list, asking for requests,. I told him I wanted to hear Fine. That song gives me chills every time I hear it. Greg asked if I was staying through the third set to which Dawn gave me a look and I responded “well, up to Fine, then we have to leave” Greg smirked and added it to the list.

The music started up for the second set and I fell in love with These Are Days all over again. Mel and the band have mastered and reworked this song to make it their own. I used to drool over Natalie Merchant when she would dance around on stage singing this song and I never thought anyone could make me love the song more.  As my friend Dawn said later in the car, Mel’s voice on that song is similar to Natalies, but she manages to do so much more with her range and vocals than I have ever heard Natalie attempt. As a side note, I have to agree with Heidi, I’m not sure people are listening to the lyrics of Lie To Me when they start slow dancing to it.

At some point during this set, Dawn and I were talking about something, probably her making fun of me for singing along again. When I talk, I do tend to be a little expressive and make hand gestures and it was during one particularly wild gesture that I backhanded a waitress. Right into her chest. Whoops. Now, this was not a bad backhand, wasn’t like I pulled a karate move and knocked her on her ass or something, just my hand connected with her boobs. I was embarassed, I never saw her coming up behind me as she was, so it was totally unintentional. I was expecting the waitress to be upset, but instead, she just laughed and without missing a beat said “That’s the most action I’ve had all night…” I smiled and said “Geez, I feel like I should tip you now” to which she just laughed and went about her merry way. I guess working in an environment where people intentionally grab your ass all nite, having someone unintentionally backhanding your boobs is a pleasant change of pace. I was still embarassed though.

The second set ended and Rich came over to me. Out of the blue, he suddenly asks me why my screen name is glassowater. I smiled. This was a well worn story that I have related over and over again since 1997 when I first used that as a login for yahoo. The first time I sat down in front of a computer at the now defunct Cybercafe in Portsmouth NH, I needed a login to start my internet adventures. So I tried all sorts of names. I wanted something original and provocative. Something that would make people think and smile and perhaps, a name that could change the world. However, no matter how many times I tried, they were all taken. All my usual logins were all taken: Riff Raff, Pugsley, FrankNFurter, all were taken. I tried for hours for something original and exciting, to no avail. They were all taken. Then, in the midst of my despair, I saw it. In the dim glow of the computer light, there, illuminated before me was….a glass o water. My heart stopped. Could that work? Would it be taken???

I went to the yahoo page and entered Glassowater….and yes, it was approved….The hallellujah chorus started up in my brain and from that day forward, on any system I log into, I’m always glassowater or a variant thereof.

Rich looked amused by this. I guess he liked the embellishments I made to a simple story of finding a login…Then Mel comes over and asks the same question and in the retelling, she giggled at my silliness. I informed her that I would have to leave during the third set, probably after Fine to which Mel gave me a big hug and thanked me for showing up.

The week before at the Parting Glass, Heidi had been very upset with me. After the gig, I didn’t go right home ( a four hour drive) but instead, I stuck around and chatted with the band and everyone else. This annoyed her because she was worried about me having an accident on the ride back, knowing that I would not get to sleep properly since I was going straight to work. The feeling of doom coming from her was palpable. This week at the Kinsale, she was happy and smiling. She told Dawn and I how she felt so much better about me driving around late at night with a co-pilot in the vehicle. And Heidi wonders why I call her Mom now…heehee. We let her know we were leaving during the third set and got big hugs from her and her friend. The set started up and I settled in for the final few songs I would get to hear.

About four songs in, a huge grin comes across Mels face and she looks at me and says “this is for glassowater”. And Fine started up. This song kills me everytime. I love the imagery (someone having a bit of a meltdown in a grocery store in the middle of the night), the musicianship is masterful, the antics are hysterical and it is the best example of Mel going through her entire range in one song. And the middle, I can’t tell you how many times she has gone into that and the entire room has completely stopped. People milling around at the bar, watching sports, suddenly turn wondering what was that? Every time I get goosebumps. This song is a great example of the power of this band that will never be translated onto cd. This song is my main reason to see them live. It’s overpowering and wonderful and you don’t want it to end.

I was happy now. I had heard the song, even had it dedicated to me (swoon) and my friend Dawn was now a fan. We gathered up our coats and made our way to the door. Smiles and nods from the band as we exited to Virgil singing Fire, I bowed to him as we exited the Kinsale out into the cold night.


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