Tuesday, July 24, 2007

City of Brotherly Grit

Jim here. With a show approaching, I made the trek to Philly this weekend to rock out with MFA and catch up with some old friends. The XPN Fest (or whatever they call it) had the most awesome backdrop (the Philly skyline) I've seen since those D.C. shows they used to have on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Capitol. Fountains of Wayne didn't disappoint and I think I'm going to have to keep an eye on those Fratelli boys.

It always feels good to play, but it feels even better when you get to play outside when it is 74 degrees and breezy. While we didn't play long, I think we are ready for the gig on Saturday. I'm really glad we are jumping right in like this. It's been way too long since the last show!

After practice, I met up with my college buddy, Chris, who was playing in a block party in the working-class neighborhood of Port Richmond. The party was also a 21st birthday celebration for one of the friends of the band. They had 2 kegs, a large box of soft pretzels, a hot dog machine, a popcorn machine and a cotton candy machine! An aside, I turned on the power to the cotton candy machine just to see what it would do. After twirling around for about 5 seconds, the power for the entire block went out for about 3 minutes or so. Oops, sorry folks. Of course, we pretended like it had nothing to do with us. Just one block over, there was another block party with much of the same pomp. I don't think I have really seen anything like this since my early days in Pittsburgh.

Later that night, I went to a house party in the Philly suburbs in an upscale neighborhood (I have no idea where exactly). The back yard was ginormous (this word was just added to Merriam-Webster!) and had a regulation size soccer goal. I think I overheard that the hostess had played some college footie. I assumed the crowd would be the pretentious hipster sort by looking at them, but instead I found everyone to be friendly and talkative.

Community means different things in different places. Everyone knew each other on the block in my hometown. Now, outside of the artist that lives two flights up, I don't know anyone in my apartment complex. If this weekend taught me anything, it is that community is what you make of it... and I need to try harder.

Sunday, the original lineup (Matt and I) went to New York City for a total of two hours. However, while we were there we had the only $5 meal available anywhere in the City. 2 BBQ half chickens with sides, soup and drinks for a total of $12! Then we met up with old work friends Nick and Jessica and hopped across the Hudson and Hackensack rivers to catch D.C. United vs. Red Bull New York at Estadio de Los Gigantes at the Medowlands. While our boys didn't pull out the victory, we saw a hell of a header by the other team.

Aside from major road construction delays on the way back home, it was a solid weekend of enjoyable experiences.

See you on Saturday!

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