Brooklyn with Von Geyer and Vacances

There is no place like New York city in the spring. The cafes drag their tables back out to the sidewalk, flowers are blooming, all the cool people are smiling and even the pizza rat has a little extra pep in his step because it’s a magic time after the slushy brown snow and icy covered winter and before the oppressively hot, dumpster boiling summer.
Last Friday with the optimism of spring in our hearts we loaded up the van and hit 95 South heading for Brooklyn. The traffic was pretty brutal but we made it to Bar Matchless in time stretch out, wander around Greenpoint and get some pizza. My phone kicked the bucket which was a real bummer. I was disturbed by how naked I felt without it. Food for thought. But I digress.
The show was a bit of a hometown affair. The headlining band Von Geyer was fronted by Falmouth native and current BK resident Charlie Geyer. Charlie played in bands with Ben and John from middle school through college.
Bar Matchless is an sweet venue. It’s like a friends garage that has a bar, a stage and PA system in it. It’s small, dark, loud and has a patio for smoking and resting your ears.
The opening band Vacances had a polished electro pop sound with nods to Blink 182 and Depeche Mode. We talked about bringing them to the Cape for a show.
Our set was crazy. People we know in NY brought their friends out and some new people we’d met last time we played the city showed up. We had a hyped crowd singing along the whole time. It feels so good to have that kind of response out on the road.
Von Geyer closed it out nicely with a set of straight up swaggering rock and roll. We all wandered off to explore a city that stays up all night.
In the morning Steve and I met with director Nick Santos gave him the footage Steve shot in California for our new video Icarus which he will be editing. Back in the van we briefly considered a trip to Coney Island but the vote was to head home. All in all a great trip. Love seeing the NY shows grow. Can’t wait to go back even if it is covered in brown slush and ice or the dumpsters are boiling.

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The Met with Spiritual Rez

We circled the building housing The Met in Pawtucket, RI looking for a parking spot. From the back side the old red brick mill looked derelict and ominous with lots of rusted metal and broken glass. The front half of the building however has experienced a great transformation. As well as the fantastic music venue it’s also host to shops restaurants, and office spaces. It’s like a mall, if malls were really cool.
We loaded into the venue. The guys from Spiritual Rez, the headliners of the evening were onstage sound-checking. We wandered around the club admiring the giant paintings on walls of music legends like Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Hank Williams. When Spiritual Rez was done with their soundcheck we exchanged warm embraces, hauled our amps onto the stage and did our soundcheck.
Afterwards we headed upstairs to a bowling ally with a bar and restaurant. The bowling lanes were super old-school, candle pin style and they even had “ball boys” who manually reset the pins and rolled the balls back. Rhode Island has a knack for doing hipster things without being pretentious. It’s a gift.
We met a nice couple who had been to a few of our shows in Falmouth. They bought tickets to our St. Patrick’s Day show at Grumpy’s and told us we should play at Ocean Mist in the summer. They described it as “Grumpy’s on the beach.” Sounds pretty cool.
We got on stage and played a pretty brief (forty minute) set with some minor sound issues but it was a full tilt blast. Time constraints can help put some urgency into the music. A big crew showed up and was raging with us. We met a lot of fans for the first time and made some new ones. We signed a set list for someone and tried to act nonchalant but we were probably as pleased as them.
The next band was Cosmic Factory a local jam band trio. They played some funky stuff and threw in covers ranging from Primus to Rage Against The Machine.
Spiritual Rez took the stage and put on a hell of a show. Their energy is infectious. They have been touring nonstop lately and it comes across. They are super tight and the songs off their recent album Apocalypse Whenever are taking on new life. The lead singer Toft is a Florida native and has a southern preacher’s ability to work a room and raise people spirits. At one point he had the crowd singing, “Don’t be afraid,” raising the phrase in volume as he repeated it, building to a wild crescendo as the band all joined in.
I spent a lot of time at the merch stand selling our gear and made friends with Spiritual Rez’s merch guy Jay. He is s good dude. On the porch outside huge clouds of fragrant smoke hovered all evening. I guess that’s just how they get down in Rhode Island.
My sister and her husband came out with some of their friends. It was great to see them at a show. We don’t play their neighborhood often so it was a treat.
After last call we loaded out into the bitter cold, reminded that winter wasn’t over just yet, but having played The Met, a venue on our wish list we knew the future always holds warmer nights.
See you at Grumpy’s on St. Patrick’s Day 8 PM. Get your presale tix at Grumpy’s  or from a band member.

Luke

Homecoming: A Love Story

There was no slow transition from sunny and in the 70’s southern California to colder than a well diggers ass Cape Cod. We got home from the tour and were treated to a nice blizzard that dropped about twelve inches of snow. It’s okay though. That’s part of the deal when you live in a place as awesome as New England. We are pretty handy with shovels as well as guitars.
It’s fun catching up with everyone about our trip and a little surreal standing in the hardware store in my Carhartt’s buying joint compound and telling a story about the House of Blues show in San Diego. I’m thinking: was that me?
We had two homecoming shows. One at the Ritz on Martha’s Vineyard, an Island that has become a second home of sorts and the following night at Grumpy’s Pub, the world’s greatest dive bar. Both were near record breaking low temperatures. The kind of cold where you take off your gloves and the wind feels like bee’s attacking your unprotected skin.
Friday night was our new van’s maiden voyage across the Vineyard sound on the Steamship ferry boat, a trip she will take many times. The Ritz is a wonderful little townie bar in Oak Bluffs. It’s one of the only places open year round. Our good friend Philly D was playing any early acoustic set so we got to listen while we ate dinner and  had a pre show drink. John and I even got up and did a few acoustic tunes.
We started playing and although the place wasn’t jam packed it was a pretty incredible turn out for such a brutally cold night. Charles works construction on the Island and knows everyone. Everyone loves Charles wherever we go. It’s good to have a guy like that in the band! We’ve been playing the Island a lot the last year and it was great to see a lot of our friends from over there. During our west coast tour we played all  show case shows with a bunch of other bands on the bill which is great but means 30-45 minute sets. At the Ritz we played for over two hours and got to get into a bunch different things. It was loose and fun.
In the morning we got on the ferry before the wind really started howling. This can be a hazard playing on the island. If the wind really starts screaming you don’t know when you are getting off the rock.
We drove straight to Grumpy’s and set up. I love the afternoon vs. late night scene at Grumpy’s. There’s always a crowd sipping the afternoon away as we set up our ever growing pile of gear. One of these days we have to do a set for those guys.
I went home did some work and dozed off. When I woke up it felt like the wind was going to blow my house down. It was cold outside, not just bone chilling but soul chilling. As my brother Tommy said it was, “really chipping down!”
The Silent Trees were at Grumpy’s setting up when I got there. They’re a great band we’ve been trying to book something with for a while and finally our schedules lined up. The band plays as a duo sometimes with John and Mary trading lead vocals and always floating beautiful harmonies but that night they’d brought a tight rhythm section with them. The vibe was more rock than folk and the crowd loved it. Mary is a member of the Brazen Belles, our very own local burlesque troop. They put on a killer show and had sold out two nights at the big theater in town. The band warmed the crowd for a few tunes and then Mary came through the side door, still in full burlesque hair/make up and a saucy bell bottom/belly shirt combo. It was a really cool moment, very rock ‘n roll. They played a tight set of originals and covers including a epic Led Zeppelin number.
Earlier in the evening I resigned to the idea that it would be a light turnout do to the insane cold but to my surprise the place was packed. It was fitting that it was Valentine’s eve because there was so much love in the room. John’s sisters Mariko and Eva ran the sound board and did a wonderful job. The Brazen Belles crew was in full effect and it felt like a real hometown throw-down. We started our set with Life Is Just A Dream a song that seemed in line with the recent series of events. It was a rollicking ninety minute set. I couldn’t stop smiling. I don’t know the color of energy but I know I could feel it and it was good.
It was great be home, enjoy what we’ve done and get ready for what’s next. We play with Spiritual Rez Saturday February 27 at the Met in Pawtucket, RI. We are really jazzed about this venue and line up. It’s always a good time when we play with those guys. It’s also an all ages show which is awesome.
If you’re reading this and you’re rocking with us, we love you. Let’s keep rolling.

Crooked Coast 2 Coast Tour Diary #8

2/4/16

Yesterday Steve and I got up a little before sunrise to do some filming. We are getting some great material for the Icarus music video. We shot at the beach and at the Church of Latter Day Saints which is an amazing building. It looks like a white castle. The gang split up and spent the afternoon at the beaches and restaurants. Ben went surfing with Jay a friend from the cape. He said it was really fun but all the paddling made his arms feel like they were going to fall off.
We all went to Buffalo exchange and got cool California clothes. The girls went to a farmers market and we hung out warmed up our voices and watched funny youtube videos. Winnebago Man got a lot of laughs.
We headed to Winston’s in Ocean Beach, dropped off our gear and ate at a little spot under a tattoo shop that had the best fish tacos.
Winston’s is a cool spot with a good stage set up. The headliners Simpkin Project set up while DJ Carlos Culture spun reggae tunes. The bass was so heavy in the room. You could feel it in your chest.
We wound up having to cut our set a little short (as is often the case for opening acts.) It was all good though we made a tight little set list that we thought would be effective.
We got on stage did a quick sound check and got into it. I think this show and House of Blues San Diego are a tie for the best show of the tour. HOB was a bigger room but this place was packed in and the crowd was lit. It was DJ Carlos Culture’s birthday party. At one point a waitress brought shots to the stage and we toasted Carlos. It was a very “rock” moment. A lot of new fans who had been at the House of Blues show came out to Winston’s. At the end of our set Carlos got on stage and reintroduced us. The crowd started chanting “one more song.” It became deafening and with a big grin he said, “I always try to give the people what they want. Let’s do one more!” It was our first encore of the tour and it felt really good. We did a cover of Feel Good Inc. by the Gorillaz and the place went crazy. This was also the only cover we played the whole tour.
We hung out for Simpkin Project. They where super tight. They had two guitars, bass, drums, a B3 organ played through a Lesley speaker cabinet and crazy three part vocal harmonies. It was deep soulful reggae.
We chilled out danced and hung out with our San Diego friends both old and new. It was a bitter sweet night. We had done about as well as we possibly could but none the less the tour was over.
This trip felt like it changed some things for the band. We made a ton of connections and new fans. It will certainly not be our last west coast run. We are already talking with Summit Agency about a bigger tour. So many people made this possible. Our people back on the Cape who have been coming out to our shows, picking up our merch and supporting us. Our ladies and families who believe in this crazy idea of ours. Stephen C. Atkinson for documenting this journey. Chris McGilvray who fixed up the laptop I write these very words on. We took that support and put this Cape Cod band on the other side of the country sharing the sound of our island. We have a good feeling about this whole thing and are excited to watch it unfold. I promise to keep writing as long as you keep reading and excuse the typos. We’ll see you at the show.

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Crooked Coast 2 Coast Tour Diary # 7

2/3/16

We woke up and shot at the Pacific Beach pier for our new video Icarus. It’s an amazing spot with lots of people fishing and surfing. Then we headed to LA. After a mandatory stop at In-N-Out Burger we headed to a mall inTorrence where a high school friend of mine Clenet Verdi-Rose was working on a movie set. It’s inspiring to see people you grew up with do things like this. It’s a Dakota Fanning movie. We watched them film a scene both from a little ways off and from the on set monitors. This was cool hollywood moment for us.
From there we headed to the music store and stopped at a coffee shop, trying to work out some issues with the our website. The website issue was a mystery, the guitar store had just sold the guitar John wanted and we got a pretty hefty parking ticket. The mood in the van was a little dark as we headed to BNV Studios. We pulled into a sound stage and a guy asked us if we were the crew from Buzzfeed. Nope, wrong address. Across the street was BNV Studios, located in a cute little residential home. We parked and Nicole Vasquez led us in. We walked through the beautiful home, across a patio with with colored lights and burning chimenea and into a garage where the studio is housed. The place is incredible. State of the art sound and a full performance stage with lights and our logo projected on the wall. They made us really comfortable offering tea, water and beer. Nicole’s husband Brian is the engineer at BNV Studios. He made us feel at home and pulled some good performances out of us. We played around with some vintage pedals and amps like little fat kids in a candy store. We recorded a live set of our songs and a nice surprise cover tune. They also had multiple camera people taping the whole thing. They could not have been nicer. It was an wonderful way to break up the tour a little bit. Keep your eyes out for those videos.
Nicole and her husband Brian have a great story. Brian is a former pro baseball player who went into radio after an arm injury. They worked together at KROCK in LA for eight years then got married and decided to get out of the corperate world and go the independant route. As well as a great engineer Brian is also a song writer. They record bands and voiceover work there. They have something really special. I would recommend it to any musician in the area. We didn’t want to leave. Although all good things must come to an end our studio session at BNV at least ended with a plate of fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies.
We took the long drive back to Pacific Beach and passed out. Today we get in some beach time and relaxation. Tonight is our last show. It’s at Winston’s with The Simpkin Project and DJ Carlos Culture. I think it is going to be crazy.

Luke

Read More News

Crooked Coast was formed in the summer of 2012 by Cape Cod natives Luke Vose, John McNamara, Ben Elder and Charles Walton. They distilled their hometown’s celebratory summers and harsh winters into the 2013 album Thanks for the Memories with infectious hooks, sweaty dance floor rhythms, big guitars and wordplay both gut wrenching and irreverent.
For two years they toured the East Coast playing festivals, clubs, bars and colleges. They conceptualized and self produced music videos. Elder and Vose took their passion for art and design and turned the band’s merchandise into a budding clothing line.
In 2015 they released Wildlife. Capenews.net described it as, “an album that pops with wild swagger.” Wildlife is the sound of a band that has grown together. The production is polished but the songs are brash. Driven by Walton and Elder’s thunderous rhythm section McNamara’s full throated rock ’n roll howl and Vose’s raw nerve, heart on the sleeve rap/singing volley back and forth over blistering guitar hooks. The album has shades of the Strokes on the doomed love song Domino, Social Distortion on the country punk number Martyr and Sublime on the sun bleached World Spins where Luke remembers, “I was sixteen in a Honda hatchback/ Doing one-sixteen down route six and back.”
The lead single “Go Back” is tipsy trip through the memories a small town. Charles Walton’s DJ Premier inspired drums drive the story about being pushed into a cold world. John McNamara sings, “I remember all the times before/ Well that won’t happen anymore/ All the times that I regret/ I’m all set/ You can’t go back again,” before the song breaks into gang chorus of brothers in arms.
Pixy 103 radio DJ Lori Lori quickly picked up the song saying, “I had to play them. It’s has a very catchy melody that will keep you singing long after you hear it. The music, the voices and the energy make this album one to own for sure.” 95.5 WBRU put the song into rotation as well saying, “The mix between indie rock and hip-hop is not too common, yet Crooked Coast manages to add a unique twist on both genres.”
They filmed a music video for “Go Back” with director Nicholas Santos on location in NYC and Cape Cod capturing the energy of a band on the verge.
The recent music video for No Caroline No is a sun soaked island party with boats, floats and skateboards.
During the winter of 2016 Crooked Coast toured California playing House of Blues, beach bars and LA rock clubs as well as recording at BNV Studios Hollywood. The tour inspired the band, hitting them with a lightning bolt of energy and possibility.
Crooked Coast continues to pave their own road to success with bold music, visual art and explosive live shows touring the east and west coast.