We had decided to make a few changes in our set list after walking around the courtyard of Boston’s celebrated and magical Cloud Club. The spirit of the place had put us in a different mood. The evening’s events were being held outside, and we wanted our music—at least for the opening half of the set—to cohere with the wild, overflowing city garden we’d be playing in front of. As I walked around the brick paths before the night’s music began, I noticed the artistic touches in the garden’s construction—hobby horses stuck onto iron gates covered with ivy; Greco-Roman plaster heads, also covered in ivy; heads carved from coconuts that sprouted flowers; huge spheres of light that appeared, from a distance, to be floating in mid air—and this feeling of delight continued as the evening’s events began. Mali, singer/songwriter/pianist for Jaggery, who had organized the show, began the music with a wonderful song for bells and voice she had written especially for the event (ironically, the metaphorical conceit of the piece concerned weather). Three very good short films were shown. Folk artist Josh Cole passed out percussion instruments as he played his set. Valerie Kuhn’s new cello/violin/vocal project Naked Roots Conducive featured the hilarious lines: “When the Demon comes/It’s time to grow up/When the Demon comes/It’s time to shut the fuck up.” As much as I like these lines, and laughed out loud from the back of the courtyard when Val sang them, I blame Val—or thank her, as the case may be—for what happened next.
Joy on Fire was the closing act of the night, and as we were plugging in and tuning up, Mali ran up to us and said, “It’s going to rain! It may start in an hour, or it may start—” and then we felt the first drop.
The decision to move the show inside was pretty swift. Within ten minutes, the show had changed from a garden party to a basement punk rock blowout. The change of vibe required a change of set, and we stomped into our driving opener, “Le Phant.” It worked, and the energy was good. By the time we got to our closer, “Punk Jazz,” the Demon came, and I stopped the song in the middle to yell at everyone because they weren’t dancing. “This is dance music!” By the time we picked it back up, I had shut the fuck up, and most everyone in the room—including the band (excluding the artist who had been and still was painting a picture of us as we played)—was dancing. So we played one more song—untitled but with the working title “Disco Metal”—as the garden-party-turned-punk-house-show-turned-dance-riot was almost complete.
We were on the road by midnight, headed on Interstate 90 back to the Hudson Valley to demo a new tune with engineer Jesse Melito; to the Hudson Valley, where we’d played two shows booked by our friend Corinna Makris only 24 hours before….
-John Paul Carillo