Party! Party! Party! Day 3: Don Hill’s, NYC… AKA The Greatest Birthday Present Everrr!

Wait... What the hell is going on?

Wait… What the hell is going on?

Waking up after the crazy night I had at Asbury wasn’t easy. But, since I woke up literally 10 minutes before checkout, I kind of blindly fumbled around, grabbed my things, and hit the road.

Friday morning was BRIGHT and sunny (ow!!) and made me feel a little like a wampire. Blehhhh. Creeping out into the blazing sunshine, I grabbed a coffee and a terrible sandwich from the local gas station, and we were back in the car heading home to get ready for the night’s festivities in NYC.

Even through my hungover, throbbing eyes I could hardly wait.

Camera bag packed and batteries charged, back on the train I went, heading into Manhattan. The Honah Lee boys and the Cobras had to be at the venue relatively early to load in and soundcheck, so I just met them all there. It was pretty early in the day, and as the buzz spread about the show, the line grew all the way down the block and around the corner behind the venue. I could hardly believe it.

Apparently the Reverend Strychnine Twitch (AKA Billie Joe Armstrong) had twittered about the show and all of the iphone-toting Honeydips and Big Dogs were out in full force to participate in a little Lushology. Can’t say that I blame them. I had no idea that the show I was about to witness was about to blow my silly little mind.

Hours passed and each band (including the Foxboro Hot Tubs!) soundchecked and headed off to get ready for the show. The real rockstars were transported in fancy vans to their swanky hotels. Us poor folk just waited outside in the clothes we’d worn all day. They finally let us in and my giddy self was excited to be let in with the bands. Glad I had my lammie – it definitely saved my ass this night.

The place filled up quickly, and Honah Lee went on first. The thing I love about shooting these boys is that we all know how it’s going to go. I normally stand near Jim (and tonight was no exception), and as the lights went down and they went on, I could tell that they too were thinking “Is this really happening? Wait, hold on, is this for real?” In fact, one of my favorite shots from this show (seen above) is of Tim making eye contact with me making a face like “Is this FOR REAL?” Yes, buddy! IT IS! It cracks me up.

They started with a bang and the crowd seemed to be into them. I made it a point to sort of eavesdrop on the conversations going on around me while they played. All of the comments I heard were positive. One guy behind me said “Hey, I actually dig this!” and with the next song, he got louder, “HEY! I ACTUALLY DIG THIS TOO!!” and it continued through song after song. I was literally exploding with joy. Finally! Love!! Lori Carpenter and I were right on the front of the stage, singing and dancing our asses off. This was Lori’s first Hot Tubs/Green Day small venue experience, so I was excited to show her WHY I love seeing bands like this in small places. She had no idea what was about to go on.

My boys were doing SO well!! The only damper on the evening was that Tim’s fiancee Jenny couldn’t get anyone at her bar to cover her shift for her so she could come to the city with us. It broke my heart to see them up there doing so well with such a HUGE opportunity to share their music with a whole new audience, and she couldn’t be there to see her honey shine so brightly. So I made sure to keep on texting her throughout the night and sent her some mobile phone photos while they played.

All was well with the set until Tony punctured his kick drum head (which sounded like a wet load of doody), and then it became a game of “who can tell the corniest jokes to kill time while the drum tech replaces the kick drum.” Cue the Benny Hill music and silly running around. Thankfully the drum tech was lightning fast and the whole exchange didn’t take more than 4 minutes – which probably seemed like ages to the band. Initially my fear was “Did Tony just puncture Tre’s drum? Jesus…” but it turns out he only busted his own drum. Phew.

With a new drum in place the boys finished their set and left the stage. My mooney-eyed, excited self was even treated to a sweaty, post-rock kiss from my love, leaning over from the stage. Gosh, I’m such a lucky girl! <3 <3 <3

After Honah Lee, the Cobras came on and you could feel the venue heating up. The Mystic Knights of the Cobra put on more than just a show, it’s an experience. You witness a theater-worthy performance each time they play. If you ever get the chance to go and see them play live, please don’t wait. It’s really something to behold.

Having played and toured with the Hot Tubs before, the crowd knew the Cobras and their songs and were ready to tear the house down. It was so awesome to see our friends be so well received by the crowd. Their popular hit “El Camino” (which is freaking catchy as all getout) had the whole venue chanting and jumping and going nuts. I was still on stage left (in front of Chino) and was starting to get pressed harder up against the stage as their set went on. So much for getting another beer or using the bathroom. I was in this spot for the long haul.

Finally it was time for the Foxboro Hot Tubs to come on. OMG. I was SOOOO excited. Not only did my boys just share a stage with them, but we were in a tiny venue, the day after my birthday, and I had my camera. Camera dork overload! SO excited!

And then one of the bouncers came over to me.

“Excuse me miss, you can’t have that camera in here.”

“What? Why not?”

“No shooting Foxboro, sorry! You have to either leave the venue or leave your gear with the front door.”

My heart broke right there. Not only were they asking me to not take pictures, but I couldn’t even stay in the venue with my bag. I wanted to cry.

The door to Don Hill’s was not monitored or manned, or locked, for that matter. This guy was asking me to put my gear, my livelihood, in an unmanned doorway basically with a sign on it that said “steal me!”

I explained to the guy that I would really rather not leave it in the doorway to be stolen, that I was a photographer and that it’s my main source of income. He seemed to understand. He made me strike a deal with him: “If you promise to put it on the floor here by me and NOT use it – NOT EVEN ONCE!!!, you can stay where you are. But if I see you take that camera out even one time, you’ll be kicked out of the venue.”

I agreed. No photography tonight. Sigh.

I was really sad that I had my gear with me and wasn’t allowed to use it. But if that’s what Foxboro wants, who the hell am I to argue? They had their tour photographer Chris Dugan on duty, and that’s totally fine by me. His work blows mine out of the water so if there’s anyone allowed to shoot, it’s him. Oh, and did I mention that the great Bob Gruen (!) was there shooting as well? So yeah, I’m okay with taking the ax for those guys.

The worst part about it all was that the MOMENT that the Hot Tubs appeared on stage, literally EVERYONE had a camera and was snapping away. EVERYONE. Not even kidding. The place became a flood of flashes and hands in the air with pocket cameras. I grumbled to myself. The security guy kept an eye on me the whole time, as he was directly in front of me. No pictures.

As I look back on that and really think on it, while I’m bummed, I’m really not. Not having my camera to worry about was liberating. I was free to, oh, I dunno, catch a certain frontman when he hung upside down from pipes in the ceiling and flung himself into the crowd. I was free to bathe in a waterfall of PBR without a care in the world. I was free to crack up while Trell (one of the Cobras) whipped Billie Joe in the face multiple times with a can of PBR, only to see him laugh it off once he realized it was friendly fire. I was free to throw my arms up in the air, sing with my whole self, and get thrown around in the crowd. I was free to get on stage and dance near Jason White when the entire crowd was invited on stage. No camera? Yeah, minor bummer, but I believe that the memories I have from that performance far outweigh the photos that I might have taken, or worse yet, the damage my camera may have endured with all that PBR flying around.

Don’t misunderstand: that band, and the Rev in particular, drank more PBR than I’ve ever seen ANYONE consume, ever. And I hang out with Moscow Girls, Pintos, and am a patron at the Mill Hill Saloon. Seriously. They must have gone through multiple 30 packs on stage… I lost count.

If I had the opportunity and the band’s permission, I’d LOVE to shoot one of their shows. I just think that for my first time, this was probably the BEST way to see them. I could really enjoy it. And believe me, I did.

After Honah Lee’s set, Tim had made his way through the crowd and was talking to lots of fans. He was WASTED. I mean, whoa. But it was great. He found Lori and I and came up close with a HUGE armful of PBR’s for us and totally joined the fun up front. The three of us had a blast. A few times I looked over at Lori’s face and she was visibly blown away. “I told you,” I mouthed.

If you’ve never been to a Hot Tubs show, you just don’t know. So. freaking. awesome.

Toward the end of the set the band covered the Cobras’ “El Camino,” and the Cobra ladies got up on stage to sing. The place went crazy, bouncing yet again to that catchy song. It went on and on, and on some more.

We heard “Stop Drop and Roll” about 6 times, and “It’s Fuck Time” maybe 7 or 8. I didn’t care. It was seriously the greatest birthday present I could have ever asked for.

The show went on for literally almost 3 hours. They covered the Who’s “A Quick One While He’s Away,” and even played “Blood, Sex, and Booze,” to my great surprise.

Frikkin amazing.

The show ended and my ears were ringing but I really didn’t care. Perma-grin was in full effect and I was in a happy fog.

Seriously, did that just happen?

The Cobras and Honah Lee headed downstairs to the band green room, which was controlled by a stupidly-narrow hallway. How you’re supposed to get amps and people and drums through there I don’t know. Jim lead me by the hand to the hallway and then we were split up by someone going the other way. The bouncer manning the door threw me against the wall with his forearm under my NECK and said “Where the HELL do you think YOU are going???”

“Downstairs,” I said, trying to swallow, unsuccessfully.

“Oh no you’re not.”

“Does this mean anything?” (I held up my laminate)

(Bouncer looks shocked) “Oh, sorry. Yeah, go ahead.”


The scene in the green room was fun. We hung out and had some beers and talked about music. We sang Happy Birthday to Stef, and then continued the sweaty night out into the streets of NYC.

Lori graciously drove the band van home from the city, with a carload of us drunkies and I seem to vaguely remember Tim wanting to hang out the sliding door or window or something. It’s kind of a blur.

In my opinion, the blurry nights are probably my favorites. This one was certainly a night I won’t soon forget – well, the parts I can remember, anyway.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!!!!

Here are the pics!

NEXT: DAY 4 at Tim’s and the Mill Hill. Coming soon!!!

One Response to “Party! Party! Party! Day 3: Don Hill’s, NYC… AKA The Greatest Birthday Present Everrr!”

  1. woogie says:

    Where’s the after party??