Tuesday, August 15, 2006

COPS LIKE US ?!?! Tompkins Sq, Aug 06

COPS LIKE US ?!? Tompkins Square 06

So we played with DEFIANCE OHIO on Tompkins Square Park yesterday. It was a strange show for many reasons. Our friend Justin from TIMES UP bicycle advocacy group put it on. Justin had never put together a Tompkins Show before, and wasnt aware of all the many things that go into it, but he ended up doing a great job, and despite the fact that there was no stage and we had to provide the PA system, it was a great show.
Even the police liked it. (!)

Now, in general the Police dont like us at all. At least the ones we have to deal with. Which is usually he high ups, and the down lows (aka beat cops). The average normal cops with real assignments, duties, task forces etc. dont give us much thought or trouble. Maybe they are busy actually solving real crimes. Meanwhile, The beat cops hate us for too many reasons to list here, and the white shirts ( captains ) hate us because in their eyes we always cause them massive headaches. Plus they dont like that we have an idea of what our rights are. Throw in the fact that at some of the shows we throw expose them to mass quantities of people singing Kill Cops in unison, and you have a volatile mix.

Well I was maybe a little hard on Justin in the weeks leading up to the show, but it was mainly to make him solve some problems before they arise, which he did. Such as coming up with a clean up deposit, and petitioning the community board for permits, and hitting the cops up for sound permits etc. There were some of the old annoying things like line up changes in the middle of the show, and no back line, and people going later because they dont have all their gear, blah blah but it all came together in the end. And Justin thanked me for the dry answers / predictions I hit him with over the preceding weeks. Fact was, I didnt have time to get too involved in solving all these things I knew were involved, and I couldnt be my normal Ill take care of it self. I had to trust in things happening, which usually is disastrous, but this all came together.

Early on I put Justin in touch w/ Jerry from C-squat, and Niegel from Serenity Squat to give him some pointers and help out. They came through in spades with Niegel MCing, and Jerry providing his new mixing board. I brought all the mics and stands, and $am brought the PA cabs, and we donated the Team Spider Bass amp, and the show went on. Of course eventually a bunch of cops showed up and demanded permits etc. They went straight to Jerry, and myself. Jerry had a good laugh raising his arms and saying, Hey, This isnt my show.

I still dont know how, but Justin scored a permit from 5pm till 8pm. They never give us permits that late. Especially after the smashing of police van windows and bottle throwing after what is now known as the Cracktober Riot. As far as the Police letting our crowds and us be in the park after dark, they are not having it.

But Justin scored it, and on a Monday, which was a strange experiment unto itself.

But despite it being a weekday, tons of people came out. Some acoustic squatter gypsy punk band did an impromptu show as we set up the electric gear. WOMBAT IN COMBAT kicked off the electric tunes with their punk, metal, hardcore coolness. It was only their second show, and they rocked hard. Then, TEAM SPIDER took the (lack of) stage despite being scheduled later. Reason being that the Psalters need a lot of time to set up, with their massive line-up and strange instrumentation. Plus, DEFIANCE OHIO were lost somewhere in New Jersey.
So, we had a fun set, somewhat short, but high energy. And since there were no monitors I was singing extra loud and it started to do my voice in, so I wasnt so unhappy with the shorter than normal set.

The PSALTERS were a cool surprise. Very tribal, lots of members with lots of unusual percussive instruments etc. Plus Violins. Speaking of violins, BEN from Team Spider was unable to play because he has to focus on his dissertation. But, rest assured we will be dragging his skinny butt into the studio this summer whether he likes it or not.

Finally, DEFIANCE OHIO made it to the park, one guy who I assumed was the guitarist, borrowed a high E string from me, but he turned out to be the drummer. So I dont know if he sold the string for crack or what, but he and the rest of the band kicked ass. Due to playing at ground level, people started to gather next to the bands, and then behind the bands, and by the time Defiance Ohio took the stage it was as if they were playing in the round. The people were all around them like a big warm donut, and the PA cabs were blasting out away from where anyone surrounding the band could hear them. So the cabinets just played music for the average park go-errs who must have been wondering if there was a live band in the middle of this mass of people jumping up and down in the park.

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun. And no annoying heat wave weather. A beautiful day. And in the end, the cops came and talked to us and actually said they had a great time. The ninth precint Captain even wanted to get Psalters CDs for his drive home. Ha. I think Justin being such a positive guy, wearing a shirt with giant letters stating DRUG FREE helped endear him to the cops.

I think they were so used to being bombarded by Smoke Crack, Kill Cops, Burn Churches shows, that they were happy some religious vegan bicycle nut was putting on a show.

When Jerry announced he has permits to do a show every weekend in OCTOBER, including a Halloween Smoke In at City Hall, they just shook their heads amused, and accepting, rather than the normal reaction of Well see about that.

So, free punk shows on the park are back.

With a vengeance.

-------(rebuild the bandshell),

ps. afterwards we saw THE BULLYS, and BLACKOUT SHOPPERS at MANITOBA's. They both were great, our first show ever was with the bully's. And last night they told us that was their first show ever. Team Spider, The Bully's, and Sewage at some bar near the world trade towers. ah, the memories. FREE SPIKE! (more on this another day )


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