After Wednesday’s non-show, we were eager to rock- but first, to get the hayull out of New Jersey. Preferably while not sitting in traffic.
AAAAHHHHH. Pennsylvania, you look so good! (More of this ahead)
As we approached Binghamton, Angela regaled us with real true facts about the area, perhaps the most intriguing of which (followed closely by the establishment of the first institution in America dedicated to the treatment of alcoholism as a disease) was the existence of a cuisine, local specifically to Binghamton itself, called spiedie: marinated cubes of meat stuffed into a hoagie. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find a convenient place to try this sandwich, but I guess that just gives us a reason to come back, now doesn’t it?
Binghamton is a surprisingly picturesque little town that sat the confluence the Susquehanna and the Chenango rivers
The government buldings and facades downtown facads are full of striking detail.
The town has unfortunately suffered greatly from economic changes over the last half-century, and many of its beautiful buildings lie vacant.
Still, it’s refreshing, coming from a place where everything is constantly being torn down and built anew, to see a place that retains the look of the past.
The gothic building in the background here is a church, the cornerstone of which bore the number 93.
“Wait a minute,” I said, “that church is only 22 years old? That doesn’t seem right.”
“That would be 1893, dear,” said Angela.
You’ll have to excuse me- as far as Texas is concerned, architectural history began with the ranch house.
Apparently Binghamton is also the hometown of Rod Serling. This plaque stands in front of the town’s only high school.
We met this elderly black shepherd while strolling around. I forget her name but she was extraordinarily friendly.
We also took yet more band photos, whoop de doo.
Thursday, May 21: 16 Walnut (Binghamton, NY) with Street Feet, Crystal Methodist and the Cryptics
We’ve been playing clubs of one variety or another for most of this tour, so it was nice change to kick it at an old-fashioned punk rock house show.
The native tribes had executed this crash cymbal and displayed its head as a warning of some kind.
We played first this time. Tino from the Cryptics graciously offered us the use of his band’s cabinets and drums, and we eagerly (Sam: “YOU GOT BLACK MARKET CUSTOM TO BUILD YOU A DRUMSET?!?!”) accepted. Setlist:
This Is For Zora
The room was lit with a fluorescent light, which made for much easier picture taking (although it kept coming unplugged, plunging the band and audience into utter darkness), and Angela came up front to get some good ones.
She also got some pretty choice drummer face shots.
Melissa: “You look like Weird Al!” [in between peals of laughter]
This show was set up by Paul Ghi, who also plays drums (and sings! It’s like this is the theme of the tour and nobody told me) in Street Feet.
They were a power violence band, but with some of the looseness that you see in classic grindcore. Paul used a wrist-finger seesaw technique for his blastbeats, which is not something I’ve had a chance to observe closely a lot and was cool to watch. Go buy their record and give the Binghamton punk scene some love.
Crystal Methodist and the Cryptics are on tour together (an 8×10, two 4x12s, heads, and a drumset, all in road cases, plus merch, food and EIGHT PEOPLE in one van! These kids are pros) and share a couple of members.
Crystal Methodist delivered hardcore so gnarly (or in the parlance of Cryptics’ drummer Chris, which I shall heretofore adopt, “nasty”) as to inspire a full-scale mosh pit in the living room of the house.
Once they were done, Tino switched from drums to bass and Chris sat down behind the kit for a set by the Cryptics of very well-executed old-school hardcore punk a la Bad Religion.
This was the first show of a monthlong tour for these guys, for which Chris, Tino, and Logan, who plays guitar for both bands, learned a great deal of material on short notice. Although it was a little apparent that they didn’t feel completely at ease with all of the songs just yet, they pulled off an incredibly solid performance. I was particularly impressed with Logan’s guitar solos and with Chris’s combination of power and flow, which reminded me of Josh Freese’s work with the Vandals.
As a bonus, I’m pretty sure Chris was the first real-life native of Staten Island I’ve ever met.
Anyway, I think by the beginning of next week these bands are going to be pretty much a machine. If you live in the Midwest, the Plains or the West Coast, I highly recommend you mark your calendar to see their show.
Many thanks to Paul for making this show happen, Allison from Empty Vessels for hooking us up with him, Tino and the New Hampshire crew for rocking and lending us their gear, and everyone who came to hang out and party. Binghamton showed us a great time.
After things wrapped up, we made the perhaps not terribly well advised decision to try to make some headway toward Pittsburgh before we found a motel, which meant Sam navigating twisting country roads in upstate New York and Pennsylvania in the dark while nursing a desperate need to pee. It didn’t help that I was AS USUAL running my mouth instead of navigating, sorry guys.
We finally made landfall outside Troy, where we bedded down in a freezing cold room, but awoke to a crisp morning in the Pennsyvlania countryside and the prospect of a daylight drive through the Alleghenies to Jamie’s hometown of Pittsburgh.
Tonight we have no show- we’re taking the day off in Pittsburgh- but tomorrow we’ll be at the Third Street Dive in Louisville with Overload and The Elixirs. See y’all there!