Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bang Camaro's first appearance at New York City's CMJ at Crash Mansion!

I knew around 2005 that Bang Camaro was magic. From the moment its songs were featured in Guitar Hero and Rock Band until their BMA-awards and world tours – that band knew the depth of my feelings.

 But until last night, I had no idea, their depth.

My blog is only a month old with roughly 2,200 views, more than 1,000 of which took place last night, once I posted about Bang Camaro.

So to all of my new Stranger-Bots from On Time Marketing Dot Biz, let me say, straight from the heart: I have hundreds of stories about Bang Camaro.

Let’s get started, shall we?

The instant my son Nick gave me the date for Bang Camaro’s CMJ Show at New York City’s Crash Mansion, I knew the rock gods had smiled on my family. The date was November 3, which was Nick’s brother, Jake’s, birthday.

I instantly informed my school principal I needed a sub for that day, wrote a note excusing my daughter from high school, notified their dad’s boss of a family catastrophe, booked hotel rooms in Chinatown, and instructed the birthday-boy and younger brother Zach to skip work and college.

The Given Family-Camaro was down.

We were SO down, we forgot to wish Jake a Happy Birthday that Friday when he and Zach rolled into my driveway near Worcester, Mass, to rendezvous. Two hours late. 

This sparked a robust Mom-rant. “Really guys?  Rush-hour traffic in NYC!! Just load the Blazer with your gear and--  ARRRGGGhhurgle-gurgle. . ."
At 2:57 PM, we were off.

We rolled into Chinatown just after 7 PM, in time to discover my overnight bag was still sitting back in my driveway. “But Mom!” Zach helpfully noted, “Bang Camaro’s Merch Table is only a block away. You can buy yourself some T-shirts. Jake and I wear a large.”
“I wanna wear their POSTERS,” said Abby, which is when the birthday boy announced he was hungry.

“I can’t BELIEVE the last time I ate was yesterday morning,” he said over his growling stomach.

“Jake, HERE,” said Abby, passing him her Halloween stash, hoping to stave off another Mom Rant. But vegetarians are pretty sketch about rat by-products, so off Dad and Jake went, in search of a snack.

Tick tock, I shouted into the night, tapping my wristwatch.

By 8:03 I’d panic-phoned both of them, twice. “They go on in 27 minutes and we still have to FIND Crash Mansion-- ARRRGGGhhurgle-gurgle…”

They sprinted back to the hotel by 8:20 where Jake promptly stashed his piping szechuan noodle into the mini fridge. (I’d made him too nervous to eat.) Off we all skittered to Crash Mansion.  

I was personally too nervous to feel badly about Jake’s hypoglycemia or his sister, not yet 18, stashed securely inside our hotel room alongside the szechaun noodle. But then, she had Halloween candy, Guitar Hero with Pleasure Pleasure plus a pink IPOD loaded with Nightlife Commando, Swallow the Razor and Bang Camaro’s title song (Bang Camaro) so there was little to feel badly about.

The line to get into Crash Mansion snaked and coiled around Bowry Street so I was terrified we’d be turned away. But once we reached ID-checking Personnel, we discovered a fun rock rule: Military ID gets bearer and family shoved ahead of everyone else.

 The night only got better from here.

Once inside, we got stamped and banded, which is when I panicked to the Stamping Banders, “It’s almost 9 o’clock. Have they already gone ON?”

“HA ha,” they laughed, plenty of time. George Clinton doesn’t go on ‘til 11:30!”

Our group rolled its eyes then threw off jackets to reveal Bang Camaro Tees. “We are not here for George Clinton.”

Off we trucked, to larger spaces.

Crash Mansion’s interior had a subdued but electric atmosphere, if that’s possible:  upscale bar, floor pillars and Greek columns, marble countertops, all ensconced in probably tons of floor space, but there were too many people to really tell.

Plus Crash Patrons sported mad hair-fashion and clothes and shoes. And they smelled good.  Another portend of things to come.

As I surfed the room to get a bead on my family, I found Sull, Nick’s roommate, plus hordes of familiar Camaro-faces, but before I could greet them, I was distracted when an amp came alive with Nick’s voice. “Um, could we get a little more on this wedge, please?” he said, pointing to Andrew, of Percussion.  “Yeah, that’s better. Thanks.”

My child said “please and thank you” during sound check. If maternal joy were fatal, I’d have died right there on a floor-amp.

Taking the stage moments later were Bryn Bennett (of the newly-launched start-up ‘Eerie Canal’ which released an amazing video game DREADLINE www.kickstart#115B9CA -- go watch the promo) along with Camaro-co-founder Alex Necochea and Maclaine Diemer  who, together, comprised the lead/rhythm section. 

Bringing up the rear were fifteen choir members who launched into the chorus of Lady Lightning.  

Well!   Their sound. 

I had to clamp both hands over my ears due to an amp the size of two Buicks located by my left cheek.

I wandered to the Merch Table for my NY wardrobe. Eleven t-shirts later, the Merch Girls gave me Complimentary Autographed CMJ Posters, one for Abby, and another which adorned my English classroom days later, surrounded by homophones.

I passed the time [while the first band played] chatting with Chris Faraone from Boston Weekly Dig (author of the acclaimed book 99 Nights with the 99 Percent released at Good Life in March of 2012) informing him I was the Mother of Bang Camaro as well as an ex-investigative journalist and cover story writer/correspondent/freelancer for the Phoenix, Wo-Mag, T&G and ex-editor of the 50+Advocate, adding that Bang Camaro is comprised of 27 indie Boston bands, to include Taxpayer and The Vershok, which I slowly spelled out, “V – E – R – S – H – O – K” explaining it is an archaic Russian unit of measurement… which is when Chris excused himself and I never saw him again.

No matter, Bang Camaro lit the stage moments later.  That is when Jake, Zach and I worked my fists to get them to make rock-out devil horns.

We had practiced this in the car. “Mom -- if your ring and middle fingers touch your thumb, you make a devil’s face.  We don’t want that. We want, Rock Out… press your thumb over your ring and middle fingers.”

The Camaro launched ‘Rock of Mages,’ my fists were screaming “Rock Out,” my sons were screaming, “YOU’RE MAKING THE LETTER ‘Y’ IN SIGN LANGUAGE.”

I rolled up front with my girls. I remembered them from the Boston Music Awards. They had awesome names, Alyssa and Meredith, which I’m sure they still go by today. They danced. They head banged. They were way cool to stand next to. 

But being right up close to that stage was even cooler. There’s something about proximity.  These were gifted performers. I’d long ago recognized the Camaro’s musicianship, and their live act had such resonance. But it was their absolute unity that was striking. This goes beyond experience, stage presence, or even choreography.  These guys were lit from the core by a deeply-known joy to be doing what they loved.  You could taste it.

Or maybe that was the sweat and beer in the air.

Thirty minutes later, I was out of breath and voice and hydration. “Alex – can I have some of your WATER?” I mouthed. He smiled and handed me his litre bottle, which I drained.

My girls gasped. “You got to drink BAND water. It doesn’t get cooler than that.”

But it did.

The Camaro-Crowd cleared Crash when the set was over… vacuum’d Clinton.

Some label rep accompanied by a reporter started interviewing the Birthday Boy, thinking Jake was Nick.  Jake let ‘em. For quite a while.

Meanwhile, there was a second show in the making at Union Pool, a truly unique club scene. It was an ex-distributor of pool supplies… or maybe they distributed actual pools – I don’t remember. But it was a wondrous and dimly lit labyrinth.

By this point in the night, only Jake, Zach and I represented my family’s Camaro Great Race. Everyone else was comatose from the NY debut.  (Actually, it was the candy corn.)

Our chase was rewarded by Union Pool’s outdoor patio fire pit, the Poe-esque Heartbeat of the place. Inside, winding hallways meandered in repeating patterns, delivering revelers to multiple party-spaces.  It was the Wonderland of Rock.

I found Nick quickly.  He was talking to a girl who was busy noting that the place was “SO  #$&’ing crowded, they   #$&&*’ing  had to   $#^*’ing   open the  $#*&’ing   coke bathrooms.”

“Nick, what’s a coke bathroom?”

“Hey, Nick’s Mom!” called Sull, Nick’s roommate.

“Hey, Nick’s Roommate!”

“How come Mr. G isn't here?”

“Sharing candy corn w/Abby plus tonight is Jake’s birthday and we’re celebrating! Hey, Sull, what’s a coke bathroom?”

“It’s not what you think, Carolyn, it’s a euphemism. See, the renovations to turn the pool business into a club didn’t allow for huge, public-style multi-stalls, so they added strings of individual bathrooms. Which, due to Bang Camaro overflow tonight, the floor manager had to open.”

“Sull, is that true?”

He was still laughing when he skipped over to warm his hands over the fire pit.

The wait for their set was long – and the stage space was a postage-stamp for 24 guys and their equipment. 

But there were Alyssa and Meredith. I took my place to their left. And this time, we weren’t just near the front. We were the front. 

Being THIS close to the moment -- a cramped, compacted moment -- carried new responsibility. We caught falling amplifiers, mopped beer-spills off cords and cables, used our hair and skin-pores to absorb the beer sprayed directly at the band, so as to protect their guitars.

I’d never before been close enough to feel the Camaro Choir-Spew, refreshing fountain’d plumes of beer, emitted in poetic arcs from mouths of vocalists. 

When the set was over, it was killer trying to get the crowd out.  Last call was long gone yet the pulse of the room throbbed on.

Due to Camaro-dehydration, I never got to enjoy a coke bathroom, but I knew Bang Camaro would bring me new ops for rock experiences in the future.

It took until Wednesday for me to teach with working vocal cords. My students listened to Camaro MP3s, performing literary analyses on lyrics. (Eleven year-olds can discern a rich array of metaphor and nature imagery from the title song alone.) 

Half the faculty at my school canceled their New Year’s Eve Plans to hit the next Camaro show. We were first in line at Boston’s Middle East Downstairs.

All told, it was a successful Birthday Show for Jake, plus my charter school, to this day, continues enjoying Bang Camaro Curriculum.

And a final shout-out to On Time Marketing Dot Biz. Thank you for spiking my site hits. I am right now giving all of you the letter “Y” in sign language.

NOW go watch Bryn Bennett’s promo for DREADLINE www.kickstart#115B9CA