Pavement Tour Diary: Memories of New York | Bleader

Pavement Tour Diary: Memories of New York


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Pavement and their fabulous festoons
  • Pavement and their fabulous festoons
In the back of the van now, trying to catch up (recover?) from six weeks of constant shows. I'm somewhere between Iowa City and Milwaukee (wasn't I just there?—touring can feel like Fight Club sometimes), on my way to my second show with Iron & Wine. I've been out on tour since August, doing the final Pavement dates in North America, double-dipping with Sonic Youth on the last two shows, and then heading with them down to Austin City Limits. Flew home from Austin, had eight hours in my house, and then drove to Iowa City with Sam Beam and company. I haven't had time to write anything at all (the New York dates were in the middle of 12 shows in 11 days), but I did take as many pictures as I could. As I try to catch up to where I am now, I'll catch you up too. I was in New York City with Pavement in September, our monthlong tour of the States coming to an end . . .

We began Pavement's run in NYC at the Williamsburg Waterfront, and they wouldn't let us bring in the semi. We had to crossload it into three smaller trucks at super-early o'clock. This is a huge pain, but that's standard when you're doing a strange park show in a huge city. The view from stage was incredible! As we were waiting for the lights to go up, I had time to run to Blue Bottle. I go to the one in San Francisco whenever I can, but this was my first time in Brooklyn. It was as fantastic as on the west coast, and the pourover is king.

Blue Bottle cold press
  • Blue Bottle cold press

Spiral and one heck of a view
  • Spiral and one heck of a view

The Gyllenhaal siblings were in attendance, but I'm afraid they were more into Jenny and Johnny than Pavement. After the show we walked over to Vinnie's pizza before heading back to the hotel. The Ace Hotel. The hotel. We were going to stay there for a week. Man, life sure gives you the good stuff sometimes. The hotel gets kudos from everyone for its design, style, and lobby parties. The restaurant in the hotel (the Breslin) gets written up for being one of the best in the city and the coffee shop in the hotel is the first Stumptown on the east coast. (They opened their second location in Red Hook while I was there.) Needless to stay, I spent a lot of time in there. Every morning, to be exact. This is one of my favorite hotels anywhere.

I would like one of everything please . . .
  • I would like one of everything please . . .

Vegan pizza at Vinnies in Brooklyn
  • Vegan pizza at Vinnie's in Brooklyn

Pavement's second day in NYC was to tape The Colbert Report. I'm a huge fan of the show; they don't have many bands on, so it was an honor to be there. I'd also heard rumors of a skit with members of Pavement! Mark Ibold used to appear on a TV show that Colbert costarred in called Strangers With Candy, so I didn't think it was too far out of the question. When you do TV, the crew has to show up early (I've been loading in at Letterman before the sun has come up), and this was no exception. The Colbert set was amazing in real life—so many funny things going on in the background that you probably can't see unless you watch it frame by frame in HD. I posted a picture on Facebook of me sitting behind Colbert's desk and didn't think anything of it; we went on setting up the gear around the fireplace. We took a bagel break outside and as as we came back in, a security man I'd never seen before took a look at me and said:

"Jeremy? I see that you posted a recent picture on the Internet. Can you take it down, please?"

What? I felt the blood rush to my face. How did he see it? He certainly wasn't one of my "friends." Was it bad form, putting that stuff on the Internet? I had no idea! Is someone doing constant searches on the Web for Colbert Report studio pictures?

Oh man, I felt so horrible. I sat down at the nearest terminal and took the picture down, apologizing the whole time. I found out later that they'd asked folks to not do that, but no one had told me. . . .

We were invited to sit in the audience during a run-through of the script, which was still being worked on, and the "crowd" ended up being Gwen (my wife), my brother, myself, and the writers! Colbert was in character and did a dry run, and it was one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen. He would break character to talk about punch lines or change the images that would accompany the jokes. If there had been any question in my mind of whose show it was, it was totally gone. I used to think that shows like that were mostly a team sport with someone telling the jokes, but there's no doubt that this is Stephen Colbert's show. He tweaked every joke, changed things around, dropped things that weren't working, and made everything better. He knew in a second when a joke wasn't sharp enough. The weight of putting together a show this size every day from scratch started to seep into my head. I was totally impressed. They broke off for two hours to work on the script, and come showtime I couldn't believe how much tighter it was. The run-through had been hilarious, and the live show was a mile ahead of that.

We did Jimmy Fallon two days later and it was amazing how limp it felt after Colbert. Things were slow and didn't really work, and it seemed normal for them. It was like going to a minor-league baseball game after watching the World Series. Jimmy Fallon does have the best music on late-night TV, though. And the best suits. After doing Fallon we had a half hour until we had to be back in Central Park! We sped across town like I've never done and barely made it. It definitely didn't help that the UN and President Obama were in town closing down half the streets!

And the best house band on television!
  • And the best house band on television!

What th-?!
  • What th-?!

The Pavement Central Park shows were killer. There were some of the same faces in crowd every night. We had to stop show number three for a half hour because of lightning, but not one person left. Ace of Cakes made a cake for us, and it was really fun to have all the families backstage eating it.

Ace of Cakes had serious crew.
  • Ace of Cakes had serious crew.

We came and conquered New York. It was wonderful.

One of those nights . . .
  • One of those nights . . .

What else did I find in New York?

New Wonjo. It's incredible. It might be the best thing you can eat at 4 AM anywhere.

The cold noodles at New Wonjo
  • The cold noodles at New Wonjo

Cafe Habana in Soho. My average morning in New York is Gimme! Coffee and then breakfast here. You can't lose.

My favorite huevos rancheros on earth. Cafe Habana.
  • My favorite huevos rancheros on earth. Cafe Habana.

McSorley's Old Ale House. Oldest bar in New York. How could I have never been to one of the most unique bars on earth? They haven't dusted the place in 100 years (this may not be an exaggeration) and you will thank them for it. You know when people order drinks in movies and they just say "I'll have a beer" instead of what kind? This place has light beer and dark beer. One of the best finds of the year for me.

White/Lichens reunion at McSorley's
  • White/Lichens reunion at McSorley's

Jeremy also posts on Twitter and is probably on the road right now. . . .

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