Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mad Caddies Return to NYC After 7 Years

In the weeks leading up to the Mad Caddies show at Gramercy Theatre, a change of venue occurred.  Santos Party House would be hosting the show, and ultimately, the relocation hurt the experience for a lot of fans, myself included.

It was pouring buckets when I arrived at the venue, my socks soaking in my shoes.   I retracted my umbrella, and went into an entrance clogged with people watching the rain douse Lafayette St.  Dripping, I approached the ticket booth.  "I should be on the press list for Mad Caddies," I said, producing my ID.  "You have to go around to the other side," informed the woman.  Even though the booth continued through to that side behind her, I had to go back out into the downpour.   I guess I'd gone through the smokers' exit, but why was it so easy to get in that way?  I went into the other door, showed my ID, and waited as the woman on that side scanned the list for my name.  "You're not on it," she claimed.  A cheer from inside as the Caddies took the stage, opening with "Shot in the Dark" from the new album, Dirty Rice.  I texted and emailed my contacts, but the show had already started, so I didn't expect a response.  I swallowed my pride quickly, and offered to buy a ticket.  "It's sold out," remarked the teller.  I heard the band move into "Backyard."  I started grasping at straws, texting a friend inside to see if anyone around him might have an extra ticket they hadn't been able to get rid of.  When I heard the squawking trumpet intro to "Leavin," one of my favorite MC songs, I was pissed.  "Can I show you the email from my contact?" I pleaded with the teller.  I turned over my phone, and she began looking through the email chain.  "You already did the interview?" she asked snottily.  "Yes."  "At a bar?" she laughed, like I was trying to pull a fast one.  "Yes."  "I have to text someone to find out."  By now, the Caddies had dropped into "Without You," another fave.  "Okay, you're good," she said, and stamped my wrist.  I bolted down the stairs to check my bag, and entered the room to the applause at the heels of "Without You."  I spotted my friends in the back, and breathed a sigh of relief.  I'd missed four songs, but I was in!

This was when the differences between Santos and Gramercy became glaringly apparent. Santos' upstairs capacity is listed at 480 on their website, but there's no fucking way that's true, considering Gramercy maxes out at 499.  So it was packed.  The space is also interrupted by six large columns, two of which invade the stage, which forced bassist Graham Palmer to take his spot behind one of the monstrous structures.  The two sets of columns flanking the room are connected by benches, making it impossible to travel through the crowd without going directly up the middle.  The result at the back of the room was a near-constant shoving of people passing in both directions.

Thankfully, the Caddies are pros, so they didn't let the building's shortcomings affect them.  Even a flash flood warning, which simultaneously lit up every phone in the crowd, couldn't distract them mid-"Mary Melody."  It was interesting to hear the tunes with the addition of Dustin Lanker on keyboards, especially since he's joined the band as a full-time member.  He's in the forefront on Rice, giving an almost Ben Foldsian touch to new number "Down & Out."  "That song's about a dead hooker," singer Chuck Robertson informed at its end.  While Sascha Lazor strapped on his banjo, Chuck schooled us that although he had a beard and there was a banjo onstage, this was not a hipster thing.  "Just to be clear, this is an incestual banjo and a lazy beard."  The crowd jumped to life for the Caddies classic "Monkeys," which was followed promptly by the pirate singalong "Weird Beard."  Robertson exited as his bandmates embarked on an extended dub jam, with Keith Douglas taking the melody on trumpet.  "Brand New Scar" was the last of the new songs to be played, and the rest of the set continued like a greatest hits compilation, which I'm not complaining about.  A raucous "Road Rash" made way for a gentle "Drinking for 11," and then Chuck growled through the one-two punch of "Contraband" and "No Hope."  Unfortunately, the venue scheduled some bullshit DJ set after the concert, so they had to wrap things up early.  Lanker turned his keyboard into an accordion for "All American Badass," and Ed Hernandez jumped into the crowd to play his trombone, finishing the night with screeching feedback.

I taped a two-beer podcast with Keith before the show, so be on the lookout for that.

MAD CADDIES - 05.16.14 - SANTOS PARTY HOUSE (1 hour, 25 minutes)

Shot in the Dark / Backyard / Leavin / Without You / Tired Bones / Mary Melody / Lay Your Head Down / State of Mind / Down & Out / Monkeys / Weird Beard > Dub Jam* / Brand New Scar > Coyote / Road Rash / Drinking for 11 / Contraband > No Hope / Villains / Falling Down / Distress / All American Badass

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this! I was there but I couldn't remember the full set list for the life of me.