maxwell’s.

This past week was a really busy one – and a rewarding one – for us.

On Tuesday, we re-issued Footstone’s Lippy CD digitally.  Monday night I sat up and watched the online services, making sure that it went live on iTunes, Amazon and the like.  Jim had set Lippy up in the Dromedary online store, so all I needed to do was pull the trigger at midnight (ultimately some Facebook friends convinced me to launch it a little earlier).  It was pretty cool to start getting emails at 12:10 on Tuesday morning, as people purchased the CD from the Dromedary website.

In fact, Tuesday was the most traffic we’d ever received on our website, until Wednesday.  On Wednesday we released our Haiti benefit comp, Make the Load Lighter: Indie Rock for Haiti.  Just about all the bands on the comp linked to our site from their own fan sites, and lots of Facebook friends shared that link throughout the day.  Then, our distributor was great about aggressively pushing the compilation to the online services, so by the end of the week, the comp was available for purchase on Amazon, eMusic, iTunes, and a few others – just three weeks after we conceived of the idea.

In reviewing things a bit, I probably could have done a better job with the artwork and liner notes – in reading them, they seem like an afterthought.  That’s probably because they were an afterthought, one of these “Holy shit, I need artwork for this thing!” thoughts as I was packing up the CD to FedEx to our distributor just five days before it’s “official” release.

The reality about the compilation was something I tried to articulate within the liner notes: I understand what Dromedary Records is.  We’re a micro-indie.  But I continue to hope that despite being so small, the collective efforts of sixteen bands and one micro-indie will result in a larger charitable contribution than Sandy and I could make by ourselves.  As of today, just four days after it’s release, Make the Load Lighter is in the black, and as long as we can keep the going-forward expenses down (or, as is my hope, zero), we’re doing okay.

Saturday, though, was the best part.  On Saturday, we went to Maxwell’s for the Footstone reunion show.

Leading up to the show, we got some press – first came the Aquarian, who were kind enough to imply that we were a grunge label from the Sub Pop era, and that people should break out their flannel and head out to the show (link here).  And we also had a very nice piece in the Star-Ledger and NJ.com by Jay Lustig (who had written an awesome feature on Footstone back in the late 90s).  The NJ.com piece ran last Thursday, and appeared in the newspaper Friday (link here).

We arrived at the club at about 6, mostly because we had a shitload of work to do prior to the show.  Stuart Wexler, who is currently working on creating a documentary about the 1990s music scene in New Brunswick, NJ, was kind enough to come with three video cameras.  He filmed Footstone all day long, in and out of the club, on the way to the airport to pick up Bishop, in the car, wherever he could.  The idea was to document the day, ask the band a few questions prior to the show, and then film the FRC and Footstone sets for possible future use.

My job was to capture the sound.  Which, of course, made me frantic, because I have no idea how to do that.

Thankfully, Andy Peters (sound guy extraordinaire) helped clue me in on what equipment I needed, and Carson, the current sound guy at Maxwell’s, helped me get everything set up and tested during Footstone’s soundcheck.

I was then able to sit down and have dinner with our friends (who were kind enough to come all the way out from our area of western NJ), conduct a brief interview with Footstone, and visit with a bunch of folks who came to the show – there were probably a dozen old friends to visit with, and an equal number of new friends.  And it was great to be back at Maxwell’s.

The Dark Brothers went on first, and they were fantastic, real raunchy and raw, but with the polish that comes with being exceptional songwriters.  After their set, I was able to meet the band, and they were all very nice – I spent some time chatting with Joe, and wish I could have spent some more.  Great band, nice guys, and yes – they did play “Knee Deep in Sin,” their contribution to Make the Load Lighter.

Next came Friends, Romans, Countrymen, reuniting for the first time in a few years.  It was great to see Sean and Brian, and to meet Dan.  On the band’s Facebook page, they describe themselves as “Burly pop-core, Jersey City style,” and that’s just about right.  Fittingly, they opened with “The Day Footstone Died,” and Sean explained that the day Footstone died, they were supposed to be playing with FRC right there on that very stage.

The band played an outstanding set, even bringing up original members of the band so they could play some of their earliest songs.  It was a big party, and as they were playing I looked around the room and realized that Maxwell’s was packed.  Since I’m hobbling around on crutches due to a broken leg (and since I was recording the shows), I had to set up camp next to the sound booth, and thus didn’t immediately realize just how full the room was.  But when FRC started to play I was actually in the booth, which is elevated slightly above the floor, and I realized that the room was full, and there was still a line of people coming in.

By the time FRC was finished, there was a lot of energy in the room, and although some of FRC’s fans left after they were done (which bummed me out), more people came in and the room was still jammed when Footstone launched into their set with a cover of Cheap Trick’s “Hello There.”  They played their first three or four songs without stopping, just blasting energy and power into the room, and the crowd was really into it.

They were tight as hell – they sounded as if they’d been playing together all this time (I know that they did have time to rehearse more than they did for my party back in September).  They were just fantastic, and the overall vibe at the show was that bands like Footstone should never break up.  They were just so good.

After the show, we hung around for another beer and then caught a cab with Rico (thankfully he was with us, because we couldn’t get a cab and were going to have to walk back to our hotel), and called it a night at about 3AM.

It was a long day.  But a great day.

~ by Al on February 8, 2010.

2 Responses to “maxwell’s.”

  1. Fun night. Do it again.

  2. We had a blast, Al. Great to meet you, and thanks for everything you did to make that happen. Dan (FRC)

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