Thursday, November 28, 2013

River City Extension: Simple Gifts 4 at The Stone Pony, 11/27/13

Hey, Thanks

We don't have a lot of traditions here at CoolDad Music HQ, but the ones we do have seem to bunch up at Thanksgiving. I cook the turkey. CoolMom always makes mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of chipotle pepper thrown in. My new tradition is heading out to The Stone Pony on Thanksgiving Eve to see River City Extension.

This was the second year of my new tradition. In trying to figure out how to write this up, I thought I'd just kind of list all the things for which last night made me realize I'm truly thankful.

I'm thankful for CoolMom and the cooldaughters. Before I headed out last night, I got to watch CoolDaughter #2 swim at her swim lesson and open her first night's Hanukkah presents. I got to drive CoolDaughter #1 to her own swim practice and spend time talking to her in the car. As I left for the show, I thought about how lucky and thankful I am to have a family that accepts me and lets me be the person I am.

I'm thankful for the friends I've made through CoolDad Music. My companion for the show was a fellow cooldad that I met through the site. I used to go to shows alone all the time. I enjoyed it. But now, I'm always running into people I've met or worked with through the blog. It's nice to share things like last night with other people.

I'm thankful for Speak Into My Good Eye and the support they've shown me throughout 2013. They gave me a platform and pretty much let me do my own thing. It was nice to see both Chris and Mike last night, and I look forward to continuing to work together.

I'm thankful that I started paying closer attention to the local scene and came across bands like Harper's Fellow. They started things off last night, playing songs from their excellent debut LP, some covers, and some new songs. Cortney Metzler writes some really great songs that she delivers in her beautiful voice, and the rest of the band -- Eric Castellazzo, Brendan Smith, and Alex Ford -- provide just enough New Jersey atmosphere to keep things from veering into full-on country territory.

I'm thankful that I finally got to see a full set from Montclair's Those Mockingbirds. At the Tiny Giant Summer Bummer back in June, I had to leave during their set. Last night, they shook The Stone Pony with their singular brand of alt rock and made me think that they could be poised to move well beyond New Jersey at any moment.

I'm thankful that Kevin Devine was on the bill. He joined Those Mockingbirds on a cover of "Fortunate Son" and whipped the crowd into a frenzy during his own set. Early on, he threw in a quick reminder of last year's Simple Gifts show by giving us a few moments of "The Beers" by last year's openers, The Front Bottoms.

I'm thankful that River City Extension make this show special for their hometown fans every year. They played a two-hour set that covered their entire discography along with several tracks destined for the band's third full-length. Frontman Joe Michelini and guitarist John Muccino were non-stop motion and energy. Bassist Colin DiMeo and multi-instrumentalist Patrick O'Brien had expressions of pure joy on their faces for the entire set, and drummer Mike Costaney was the smiling, laid-back presence I've grown used to seeing as part of side-project Thanks.

I'm thankful that River City Extension brought along a string section to enhance their sound. There's just something about watching a violinist or cellist on stage who can play so beautifully while keeping up with the lead guitarist in kinetic energy.

I'm thankful that River City Extension don't feel that they're boxed into a singular sound or style. New song "Man of Conviction" is the band's interpretation of disco and has me looking forward to Deliverance.

I'm thankful that I positioned myself outside the intense and annoying bro-zone, mosh pit that formed about halfway through the main set. I didn't have a particularly good vantage point for pictures, but safety first.

Finally, I'm thankful for anyone who spends even a minute to stop by and check out my little vanity project here at CoolDad Music. It means a lot.

Sweet potatoes mashed. Turkey in the oven. Time to crack open a Unibroue and wait for the family to arrive.

Happy Thanksgiving.

And here's what I got for the setlist. Let me know if I messed up / missed anything.

Friends and Family
South for the Winter
If You Need Me Back In Brooklyn
Point of Surrender
Something Salty, Something Sweet
Letter To Lainie
It's No Ha-Ha-Ha
Welcome to Pittsburgh
(I Had Thought About This In) March
Girls (*New*)
Our New Intelligence
If I Still Own A Bible
Down, Down, Down
There and Back Again
Man of Conviction (*New*)
Ballad of Oregon
Everything West of Home / Brooklyn (Reprise)
Today I Feel Like I'm Evolving

Nautical Sabbatical

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