John And Peters – New Hope, Pennsylvania
Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks
We’re gonna put this in the first 25 words because it’s that important: John and Peters in New Hope is the most amazing place in the world! This little place on a little street in a little town, the perfect way to dive into our 2nd night of seeing the Meat Puppets. It’s this tiny bar with a sliding door leading 3 steps down to the basement in the back with low ceilings. When I say low ceilings I mean 7 or 8 feet high. You know what it felt like? It had the feel of a teenage party where one of your friends parents goes out of town and everyone runs a muck-only there’s also booths, like a diner, all around the room and they have awesome food.. This makes Mercury Lounge look huge. Sign on the front door says “Smoking Permitted”. How amazing is that? Almost as amazing as Mickey Melchiondo, better known as Dean Ween(!!!!!) hanging with the band as I watched the merch get set up. You might ask what would Dean Ween, Cris and Curt Kirkwood be talking about. What else? TROUT of course! There’s a sweet river a few blocks from this place that separates Pennsylvania and New Jersey. City folk like myself don’t usually see cool looking land and stuff, so I’m trippin’ on the architecture of this town and this place even before the show. Speaking of shows, this one starts at 9:30 , so much time to be spent in this cloud of smoke taking in a night of Meat Puppets.
It feels weird to smoke inside. I’m not at all used to this as The World Takes walked into the building a tad after 9(they’re from here, well 2 of them) and started tuning their stuff. The set list is within view, but the chords are over the words so I can’t make it out. But I do know when they started rocking, I was into those first two cuts heavily. Besides looking kinda like Curt, which was made evident at last nights merch table where at least 5 people asked him to sign Meat Puppets CD’s, the guitar player/lead singer Steve really takes some queues from a Curt Kirkwood style of guitar playing. It can get really spacey at times. If they play a bigger place on this tour, maybe he’ll come up and jam with the boys during their set. That’d be cool. This place is packed to the gills with every one of these booths filled, with waitress service no less bringing pitches of beer back and forth through a crowd with barely any standing room. I settled for a spot by the girls bathroom after all was said and done. Sound in here is awesome, I hear the vocals surrounding me.
At around 10:05 or so The Meat Puppets trotted downstairs onto, well, I guess we’re calling it a stage. The show was not to go on without a hitch however, as somehow in the mix of things some beer got spilled all over Curt’s peddle board. Such a tiny place, everyone crowded everywhere you could see how that could happen. He messed with it for a little while and eventually got it to a point that he was alright with, and “The Monkey and the Snake” ( along with “Touchdown King” and the sweet new track “Waiting”)
kicked us off for the 2nd night in the row. Everything with the guitar sounds sounded awesome to me, but I’m no musician after all. Change up thrown when Up On The Sun makes an appearance in the 4th slot tonight and Plateau followed.
Tonight is the night of the extended jams. Check that, tonight is the night for super extended jams. Up On The Sun drifted to a far off land for a while there, and then it came back to earth and blew our freaking minds. You know what else I notice on the steps on the side of the stage? Dean Ween with his eyes closed, head nodding drifting off to this far away place Up On The Sun with us. He’s one of our peers tonight. Of course, in the back of my mind all night was “maybe they’ll jam”. I’ll save the suspense, that did not happen.
We got our “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and “Hey Baby Que Paso” fix tonight, and I’ve figured out the names of those songs from last night that I didn’t catch. Elmo took the lead vocal duties again tonight, and the song is “Cathy’s Clown”, an Everly Brothers cover.
That was hilarious, I love this freaking band. After the song Elmo states: “I wrote that earlier”. The title track from the new record “Rat Farm” is glorious as hell if I may say so myself. “Time and Money” was played last night, although I noticed Curt shaking off Shandon when he suggested it tonight. In the bar earlier in the evening, I overheard them at sound check playing “Down”, but that didn’t appear tonight or last night.
Sloop John B, Lake Of Fire and Backwater before they said goodnight and ducked up the stairs. No idea what time it is as my phone was dead hours ago. I don’t know this place, maybe they don’t have encores. But none of us cared, as a Meat Puppets chant grew strong with us in the crowd and pounding on the fragile ceiling went along with it. Eventually, they came back down and we showered them with cheers. For a small place that can’t fit many more people we got loud. Remember that “super extended jams” line? I wouldn’t have even brought that into the mix if it wasn’t for this encore. “I’m A Mindless Idiot” and “Lost” had to combine for close to 20 minutes at least. These guys are like their own video game, these sounds are coming from guitars? Then “Oh, Me” began and the place erupted again. Deaner has moved to the right side of the ‘stage’ now, passed me by on his way there and I made sure to touch him.
Again, who knows what time it was when they went off, but I know this much. Most of these folks stuck around to just reflect on this epic evening of events. I was talking to so many fans like just like me, about so many different shows. Like the girl who came all the way down from Vermont. That makes my trip from New York look like small potatoes now. Whatever size vegetable, this trip to Pennsylvania for two nights has been amazing. Now the band will spend the next two nights in my town. How great is life?