I finally got to see Regis and Kelly on a Monday morning with my little brother. Gelman, the show’s producer, came out to warm up the crowd with a couple jokes and lay down the law as far as the amount of hollering allowed—NONE! He made this one rule very clear, but louder and even clearer was my brother’s “Lets Go Mets!!” shout that came within the first five minutes of the show.
Classic. We laughed the entire way home.
I took the 7 train to Jackson Avenue in Queens, and reaching the top of the subway steps I began to see the buildings, then the traffic lights, cars, bikes, pavement. I grabbed my keys, which were clipped to my pants, surveyed the horde of bicycles chained to the more than twenty racks, and spotted my Panasonic. I built this bike from the ground up, I have a warm spot in my heart for her, she’s an angel. She was on a bit of an angle when I got closer and I realized my front tire had been stolen.
Later, I was walking home to Greenpoint, pathetically carrying my bike over the Pulaski Bridge, cursing to myself and sometimes out loud, intently staring at the front tire of every bike that spun by me. My Panasonic had taken me wherever I’d needed to go. Now I was going to be late for work and bound to get an earful from someone who didn’t have to answer to anybody else. Balls!
I hadn’t seen a good show in over two weeks. On this night, the very day my bicycle was vandalized, Nightdogs were playing in Williamsburg. I have to walk? Outraged, I almost didn’t go. Within the first two blocks, it felt as if 900 happy people whizzed by me on their bikes. They all had front tires and I didn’t. A guy had a pretty lady on his handlebars, kids doing trick jumps off curbs. They all smiled as they rode. The bicycles made tracks. Two then three blocks ahead. I cursed the criminals again and again. Fuckfaces.
I finally got to the place, Gutter, a half bowling alley/half venue. There was a good crowd; it buzzed. I sat at the bar toward the back, where it was the darkest and most quiet, and whacked down a few drinks before they started and loosened up. I wanted it to be that kind of night. Four others sat at the back bar: three dudes and a gal, all illuminated by their cellphones, oblivious to their surroundings. About 40 to 50 others zombied around the venue with PBRs in hand.
Nightdogs took the stage, which had plenty of space and was two feet off the ground. The background music was shut off and within an instant the crowd forgot about the worst parts of its day. The science of the music was brilliant. Crescendos that weren’t bossy. The music seemed to grow to the proper sharp point each time before getting brightest.
Lead singer Tim Poovey has been blessed with natural windpipes that don’t require tea before belting. Deep, full. The type of voice that could fill the room without any instruments at all. The melodies were entrancing. Horns crept in and they warmed the room. The other Nightdogs were not to be missed either: Cole, Alex, Andy, and Drew each provided a perfect spoke (my fucking bike!), complimenting each other at every change. Communicating constantly. Could be the fact that all five of them work in a bar together while not playing music. A bar where Tim, a prolific pinball player, had his high score stripped from him one night; he still hasn’t gotten it back. It’s only a matter of time, though; the guy’s deadly.
Every song seemed to upstage the previous, setting a different mood each time, some lonely, some triumphant, all full. They closed with “Past All the Hills” and I can hear it now, a quiet tambourine chirps in the back, the guitar seems to cry and Tim tells a story. Good luck not listening to this song a few times in a row.
The walk home was a good one. I didn’t miss the Panasonic. I got to stroll. I looked around at the buildings and the people smoking. I listened to a girl fight with her boyfriend on the phone. I stopped and grabbed a bag of chips from the bodega, and the first thing I did when I got home was download the band’s album, zipped it onto my iPod so I would have it for the morning on my walk to the subway. Good Nightdogs.