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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Don't Walk on the Carpets


HI! Long time no talk. Not in a weird romantic way or anything this time, just have not a lot going on at the moment.

Vegas was pretty nuts, you should have come. A few of us got there the Thursday night, the night before the thing started, and immediately felt homesick. Vegas is one of those places that feels distant and familial at the same time...it was like being really pampered pet inside a cage..you can't leave, but that's fine because you don't really want to. Towards the end of the weekend I almost completely stopped thinking about or even being aware of the outside world all together.

Since we'd spent most of they day doing stop-overs all over America on cheap flights, we kind of just took it easy as soon as we got to the hotel. I'd just like to add that the first thing I saw at the airport upon deplaning was a bank of slot machines. The second thing I saw was a woman make a bee-line from the plane to these machines and start gambling literally 3 minutes after we touched down.

We stayed at the Palms Place, a really nice hotel a 25 minute walk from the strip, so basically in the middle of nowhere. Which was fine, because as we'd discover the next morning, the tower we were in was part of a complex that had everything we'd need to survive indefinetely - a pizza place, a frozen yogurt stand, a movie theater, some slot machines, a few water fountains, a giant pool with a poker table, a nice view of the playboy club and suites across the complex, a one-michelin star restaurant (that we didn't go to, haters) a suite had a basketball court inside, and a gym (for Jonah). I think Thursday night I watched tv for 6 hours (for some reason we had 2 flat screen plasma TVs on the wall, one facing the bed and one facing the pull out couch, with a third TV somewhere in the bathroom, that somehow I never saw, only heard about). The good thing about Thursday night was that we had to scrounge for a room since that night wasn't included in our deal, so all 4 members of the band that had made the trip early were in the same room. So that was fun. Sandy was so excited about the quality of the room that she almost bounced right off the balcony. It was pretty nice. Not the best room I spent time in that weekend (Natalies was nicest) but pretty great - the 3 aforementioned televisions, a button to press to have them clean your room, a nice bed, one of the nicest views probably in the entire city (if you like looking at neon lights and skyscrapers - I do) from the 53rd floor facing east directly at the strip, and a bevy of cool stuff we didn't actually ever use - dishwasher, jacuzzi, high tech fancy blender, etc. Then Sandy took off to gamble and I basically didn't see her for the rest of the weekend.

The next day was show-day so we woke up super late and just wandered around the complex like zombies for the whole day. Not because we were tired, but because Vegas was already asserting it's mentally vexing effect on our Canadian brains. Even though the Palms I think was built with a more youthful and hip demographic in mind, there was no mistaking the classic touch of Las Vegas - hallucinogenic carpeting I made an ocd-style point to stay off of unless I was trying to actually gamble, food options limited mostly either to buffets or 24 hour style fare, lack of sunlight, lack of quality oxygen, human zombies everywhere, old women with walkers and breathing tubes eating hamburgers next to you at the diner, bikers, indoor smoking. The entire operation is just one layer of desert mindset after another - at the top is the actual desert, which you notice with a frightening insistence at night as you gaze across the profile of the city, which abruptly stops at a definite point in all directions - the desert. The next layer is you, wherever you are staying, each hotel like it's own mental biosphere, seemingly completely self sufficient and cut off from the outside world - the only time I left the complex in almost 5 full days was Thursday night to bravely cross the street to get a grilled cheese at Sonics. It was full of weird highschool kids and bikers..I dared not leave the Palms again and didn't really experience spacial freedom again until I left the airport back in Toronto. These places are expertly designed to hinder your ability to ever leave them. Ask anyone at any time of day what time it is there - it will be hard to get an answer. I tasted fresh air only three times over my entire experience - once at night on the roof of the building, and twice in the pool. The second time I went to the pool I was met almost immediately with severe thunder and lightning - the god of vegas again warning me not to stray. It was like being in space or a science fiction movie - by the end of the weekend I wasn't completed sure there was anything on the other side of the walls, and worst of all I no longer cared.

And all that before you even start talking about the layers of simulacrum on the strip itself. People who did venture out were treated to such psychological pleasures as New York New York, the mini New York...we drove by it at night on the way back to the airport...if you look carefully you can see tiny office spaces through the windows of the "Empire State Building", no doubt housing floors with all decimal point numbers like that movie Being John Malkovich, and obtuse workers forever bumping their heads on the ceiling. Or you could visit the Venetian, which must now be in the running for fakest-looking Venice in the world (currently held by the actual Venice)...the Luxor, which is the 4th largest pyramid on earth... we soon had the idea that someone should just build a giant casino complex that's a tribute to Las Vegas itself - imagine a scaled down version of the entire city housed in a building just slightly smaller than the actual city. You could visit "New York New York New York", or "Paris Paris Paris", get your picture taken beside a slightly smaller version of the 4th largest pyramid on earth. For fun you could gamble fake Vegas money on some of the replica slot machines you've heard are popular in the real Las Vegas. They could buy and ship that smaller Statue of Liberty that's in Paris and stick it next to a fake Bobby Flay restaurant.

We played Friday night and then again at 2am later the same night. It was nice to get all our obligations over with in the same night, but we were then left with the frightening prospect of what to do with the rest of our time - we didn't catch our flights until Monday night. Luckily there were after parties every night in the hardwood suite, which is the place I was talking about earlier with the basketball court inside it. Not like a prop net like you have in your driveway - an actual basketball court with couches and everything. Usually there were like 20 people shooting baskets at once, with room for about 20 or 30 more people inside the court to wonder why people weren't accidentally getting beaned with basketballs every few seconds, seeing as how these were all indie rockers shooting, and who were all mostly drunk off the free Sailor Jerry coctails being served at the bar that was also in the room, and also due to the fact that at this point it was like 3 or 4am.

It's not secret that the music industry is a competitive place to work. Not for musicians mind you - that's the easiest job in the world. But people who do actual work - book tours, work at record labels, promot concerts, write blogs (ha) - you realize pretty quickly befriending these people that it's a bit cut throat and high paced. Unspoken competitions exist regarding who stays at the office furthers into the night answering annoying emails from band members wanting to rescale fonts or get last minute guestlist passes. It's easy to understand - most of these people live in New York or LA or London and have moved there from somewhere else and pay lots of money in rent and to a certain extent live on a knifes edge between success and moving back to to Iowa after being let go from a job they barely had in the first place since their industry is already in such a mess. Well let me tell you something else about these people - that industrious drive that enables them to work so hard and long in the office translates perfectly to social life. Already understanding how to seemlessly go from work to social life by attending concerts for fun/work every night and generally blurring the lines between work and fun like no on else - bring these people all to Vegas at once and it's like a party concentration camp. We thought we experienced party-darwinism last month at ATP, where you would see friends in multiple hotel rooms over the course of the late night, having just done 2 hours of karaoke (another thing about music industry people - they love karaoke..think about it carefully) and perpetually with 2 drinks in their hand and a bottle of whiskey in their purse and already planning where the breakfast party was going to be. I don't even really party, but in Vegas the party-osmosis kept me up until well past sun rise every night I was there after Thursday. Luckily because sleeping is not one of my many talents, I'd be up at the crack of noon every day, mentally prepared to loose all my money to a grade-school educated blackjack dealer, who was able to put my brain in a headlock every time just by virtue of going to bed at any point before 4am the night before. Just kidding - I only gambled twice the entire weekend, and came out ahead by $60 (discounting the $5 service fee at the ATM, the $35 seafood buffet dinner I paid for even though I could only eat about 10% of the offering, and of that only a further 10% looked at all appetizing [except for the desserts, of which made up about 90% of that secondary 10%], the $5.66 I spent each afternoon on my one daily square meal of spinach and cheese stromboli, the $8.87 I spent on Sunday on a single serving of frozen yogurt, the $7 we spent on a movie [which is actually really reasonable, or so we thought until we finished the movie, {Easy A} easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen, a movie that makes Juno seem like Kids in comparison] and I think that's it) and left Vegas feeling like a conquistador. Or a Matador. GET IT?!?

What rumination on Las Vegas is complete without some hilarious gambling anecdotes:
-the time when I sat down on a plush chair in front of a slots terminal (there isn't actually anywhere neutral to sit in the entire city - you are either walking somewhere, sitting watching a show or in front of gambling, or standing on someones bed or in their bathtub at a party, or trying to sleep...no sitting) to check my email (The Palms charges $13 per day for wifi in your room, but has free wifi everywhere else in the complex) and a guy sits down next to me, inserts a $100 bill into a 10-hand poker machine, presses one button and goes up $60, presses another and goes down $80, presses the button a third time and ends up again, and cashes out at like $270 after pressing three buttons.
-watching Pauly D from Jersey Shore play craps infront of 6 giant cameras and lights
-figuring out the free drink scam - they give you free drinks if you gamble, but here is the scam - the only reason I lost money on blackjack (I went up $100 the first day in about 25 minutes and then peaced out) the second day because I was waiting for my "free drink" (a severely watered down whiskey-sour. I don't even really drink, but was able to drink it like it was gatorade. Even Theresa's Sprite was watered down) to return like 15 minutes after making the order. I was up like another $60 when I made the order..by the time it got to me I'd lost like $100.
-The purely speculative and unconfirmed rumour about Chris Lombardi's friend who won $2 million dollars somehow, and was immediately put on a private jet by the hotel and chartered back to New York for his own safety.

Anyhow, see you again in 21 years, Vegas.

Some general Notes:
-We are probably doing a halloween show in Toronto this year after all. Oct 31 at the Garrison
-Me and Jonah are DJing at Unlovable on Thursday night (Oct 14)
-We aren't coming to the UK anymore in October, but are gonna play a few shows there at the end of November (NOT London). Sorry! The band we were opening for cancelled all their shows, including this tour. We still don't know why.
-We are probably gonna play SUNY Purchase again the first weekend in November, and if we get cut off after 3 songs again like last time we are gonna be really pissed (we will be really glad actually)
-There are no pictures for this post because the only pictures of Vegas I've seen so far are on peoples FBs, and posting them would just be weird).

47 Comments:

Anonymous Gary C said...

'Not coming the UK anymore' should come before 'Probably playing Oct31 show' in your list of bombshells.
Those of us with tickets for shows prefer the emphasis that would demonstrate.
Bummer.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Aaron Wolf said...

come to Berlin. Please.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous dan said...

glad i didn't buy a ticket for against me yet....fuck that! what are the UK show?

2:04 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

...oh, against me have cancelled the tour. play kinston...or, need i say it again, the ginglik in shepherds bush...it used to be a public toilet you know?

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes yes yes fuck the uk and totaly fuck agenst me that bands shit but so are u guys???? hmmm might have been a good bill. Any whoooo soo they are geting sex vid and iron age to play on the 31 just to let u kids know oh and mabye haymaker too

10:00 PM  
Anonymous dooney and bourke outlet said...

Thank you for sharing, you're just for me is very useful. I really like your post.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jesus, baudrillard, shut the fuck up

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Hey, sorry you aren't coming to the UK end of October, but it would be more of a party with FU headlining anyway. Anyone got any of tha dates yet?

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if sex vid plays I'm gonna go poo.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vegas was awesome. Thanks for the memories!

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that when I showed up on Friday every member of Fucked Up looked simply radiant. Like they were glowing or something. Best looking band of the weekend by far.

Dave

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, thanks for incorporating a techno set at the Hardwood Suite.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, thanks for incorporating a techno set at the Hardwood Suite.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

scotland sir?

we would love to have you back again.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really hoping that you guys were going to get Mob 47 to play like you promised….well, not really promised, but rather suggested might happen.
I'm really kinda shocked and surprised that there are no naked pictures of Mitsou on the internet. Why is that? She is french. You cannot tell me she has never been naked.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous dana said...

dave: agreed! young guvna is even more handsome and cute in person

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fucked up are cute

?

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WILL YOU MARRY ME SANDY???

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ps plz post more pictures of sandy txh :)

6:12 PM  
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Blogger microjoy said...

come to richmond, va

3:11 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

so...what are these other UK dates yer doing? can i book you to play in my local pub?

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

come to oxford yeah? remember last time when damien knocked that old woman out cold?
what a slut that was fucking hillarious

4:31 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

can you release australia side show dates pleeeeeeeeeeeease. so we can get flights over from nz on earlybirdy prices. or. come to new zealand. we can give you one beer and one sheep. if you want.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Thanks for reviving my memories of that weekend!

3:39 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:39 PM  
Blogger david said...

hey my friends, family and a bunch of property consultants of mine went to vegas last summer, we almost did what you did. its like we are the same group. good times.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you ashamed to say that you were opening for the Arcade Fire? They're an incredible band. eh...haha...I was so tripped out when I heard about that, but too bad the shows got canceled due to bullshit politics.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ayyy nvm, so yes it was against me! now i see why you guys were ashamed...haha. the arcade fire shows should be amazing.

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