The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library Tour Recap Day 1: Brighton Music Hall!!! (Neutral Uke Hotel, Golden Bloom, Rocki Rock)

MJEML Set List...including shushing
Photo by Rachel Blumenthal

This is the first in a series of tour blogs I’ll be posting recapping the amazing Neutral Uke Hotel / Golden Bloom / The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library 2011 tour! You can check out all of the tour posts, Rachel Blumenthal’s recap of the whole tour, Kelly Davidson’s recap, Matt Girard’s recap, and Tanya Palit’s interview series.

The Boston Phoenix had a great article about Neutral Uke Hotel (and the show). Boston Band Crush previewed the show. Shawn hit WBUR for a live performance of “King of Carrot Flowers Part 1” as part of a really great radio interview (that closes with a performance of the title track).

They Will Rock You reviewed the show, as did Allston Pudding.

Librarians in Polka Dots
Photo by Rachel Blumenthal

The first evening was a hectic one. Although we did luck out by getting to sleep in our own beds on the first night of tour, we did feel like it was a shame to play all these shows (pretty much doubling the number of shows that The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library had ever played) and hone our skills so much only to not have the opportunity to deliver that new tightness to Boston.  We all sort of felt like we wanted a redo of Boston by the end of the tour.  That is not to say that it went badly.  The show was a blast! We also dressed in matching polka dots!

Rocki Rock (Protege of Neutral Uke Hotel/Golden Bloom’s Josh Cohen) opened the evening with a bunch of Bloomers/Ukers backing her! I got to hear her sound check, which was excellent, and had a few videos (recorded for me by Librarian Holly Collins and posted below) to check out, but sadly, I had to miss her set. Why? Back in December the Library received a grant from the Iguana Fund (check out their web site), which was a HUGE help in letting us make Volume One. As a result, we really didn’t want to miss the Iguana Fund showcase night at Passim (some great photos here). We sound checked at Brighton Music Hall, four of us rushed over to Passim, played two songs, and apologized as we literally ran out the back door to a getaway car driven by Sophia Cacciola, and flew back to BMH just in time to get on stage.  I always get myself into complex adventures and I am pleased to say, my fellow librarians always seem excited to be along with me, even when they possibly leave their shoes and makeup bags in the ZipCar we rented to make our quick journey.

A welcoming door...unusual!
Photo by Rachel Blumenthal

The show itself was great fun.  We even got to “pass the torch” from our regular bassist Lisa Battiston to Kelly Davidson, our tour sub, by having them both play on our last two songs! Double-bass attack!!!!  The Neutral Uke Hotel set was a little scary for me as I had only rehearsed along to the video, but I managed just fine in the end.  We had planned a fun encore of The Motion Sick’s “30 Lives” + Golden Bloom’s “Doomsday Devices” to showcase the split 7″ that we had collaborated on and then closed out with Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Song Against Sex.” The most fun part was bringing back the whole Library, all armed with ukuleles to rock in a giant tiny-instrument adventure to close the night (video)! All in all, a blast!

The wonderful Bob Colby recorded a ton of the show, which you can enjoy right here (and below)!

Rocki Rock opened the evening.
(Another video here.)

After Boston, we headed down to Brooklyn to begin the rocking…