CT's Harrisburg Diary
photos by Commander Trish and John Yakovou

an orange alert vacation...

We were more than happy to be able to hit the road for the Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg, PA during the “orange alert.” I have never received so much attention walking around with a cardboard box in my life. The air is palpable, thick with terror tension. Anyway, we also love playing in new places, and we all had high hopes for the conference gig. A quick two-and-a-half hours later we rolled into Harrisburg, a great little city. I had never been there and had no idea of what to expect, so I was pleasantly suprised.

After dealing with the hotel and the conference stuff, we decided to head over to the venue, Violet’s on Walnut to suss out the situation and get some dinner. Violet’s is a cute little restaurant on Walnut Street, in a good area of the downtown (I think). I guess we were pretty obvious when we got there, as Violet herself came up and introduced herself. She asked which band we were and then told us that the staff liked our poster the best and were excited to see us play. That made me think of us like a candy bar, with a really cool wrapper and worth the try. I liked feeling like a candy bar.

The restaurant features a long bar on your left when you walk in and then about halfway down the bar to the right, the adjoining dining room. The bands were to play in the dining room, the far half of which had been setup with a PA and floor monitors. It was a little strange to have some respectable older locals still enjoying their meals as we came in, but there was no problem and all in all people seemed to enjoy the bustle of the conference. We saddled up to the bar and met spunky Suzanne at the bar, who worked out to be very fun and cool to hang out with during our stay there.

Our night of music seemed to have been specially booked, as it was all bands from new york city. Cramer played first and provided the probably difficult task of changing the atmosphere of the dining room into that of a gig. I say difficult, because the band room had all tables facing the band with people sitting at them, many of them still eating dinner. In effort to back the cause, I went into the room and stood in the middle, hopefully enticing others at the bar to come in too. Anyway, Cramer played a real good rocknroll set and left us feeling psyched to play. By the time they finished there was a good crowd and the dinning room was no longer for eatin'.

We had a great time playing. Cramer left the room all rocked out and we were all loose and ready to go. We had “amped-down” for the show, knowing it was a small room. This worked out well for us, as it was vital to be on the quieter side. Despite some band concerns, I was happy to use my old Univox amp, which made it through the set, just like I said it would... We played a good set and John and I freaked out during portions of it, especially at the end of his new one, Out on the Rails. During our last song, Victory Shuffle, there was a huge welling-up of the bass in the monitors. We weren’t sure what it was, but we all looked at James anyway. My theory is the acoustic was picking up the monitor and looping the bass. Also, the other bands had this same problem, so who knows. Anyway, we found out later that we had a few reporters at our show, and the Commander was able to make some connections, so all in all we were very pleased with the way everything went..

After our set, the wildly popular Izzy’s took the “stage” (read corner) and cranked out another good representation of the current nyc scene. Unfortunately, I missed the set, as Jason and I dragged all the gear back to the hotel, BUT the rest of the squad liked it a lot. By the time Jason and I got back the Izzy’s were done and Clara Venus was starting. Sorry to the other bands for that night, but I was selfish and pretty much just drank for the rest of the evening. Our friend Michael Landgarten and his guitarist Chris showed up to knock some back with us. Later in the evening Michael turned into the best connection we could have had, introducing us to several good contacts. Hats off to the boys from Maine!

We all ended up back at the hotel, which was in full swing on floor 2 with the “main stage” (read hotel banquet hall) events. We caught most of the Witnesses who were OK. During their set we started showing each other our favorite baseball card poses. My Mickey Rivers batting stance was not to be messed with. We continued this outside the main stage by the bar with some of our new industry contacts. We even got a very cool NYC entertainment lawyer to strike up a pose (the old-timey one with the hands on the knees). George, you made our night!

As we reached our certain drunkenness, the last band for the night, The Act, set off the hotel fire alarm with their smoke machine. Not to give any quarter during the orange alert, the hotel shut them down, half a song into their set and started evacuating the hotel, first of all the musician scum that littered the main stage room. Tyler and John used the fire as an excuse to go out and get some beer for the rooms, while the Commander and I talked to PA Rocks! correspondent Paul Autry about the general state of the music industry. Paul caught our set at Violet’s and we ran into him again at the hotel main event. He contacted us later and he will be posting his interview with me at some point.

PA is close and made for nice traveling. We woke up to snowfall and thankfully saddled up and got out of the big storm before it covered the whole coast. It was nice when it did, because it sort of changed the Orange alert to White, and that seemed less dangerous.



the gracious Violet of Walnut Street

Suzanne rocked the bar...

...the bands rocked the dinning room.

Jason got to play under a fry lamp

Johnny Y.

JJ in action

fun set!

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©2002 furniture music
all photos ©2002 Trish Naudon and ©2002 John Yakovou