The bright sun is obnoxious when I’ve only had a few hours of sleep. Yesterday I woke up at 9:30, grabbed my back pack and my caixa, and took a six train to Grand Central Station. O maestro was just parking the equipment van when I found him. Y introduced himself to me, and as people started showing up, I ducked into a deli for a bagel lox cream cheese with onions and tomatoes.
We played warmed up on the street corner and then crossed over to the stage area. We played there for about seven seconds, and then the announcer asked for a big round of applause, and then introduced the next act.
The next act was a skinny dude in his 50s, singing a duet with a seven year old girl. The song was a celebration of quarter notes, so when I woke up this morning I notated it with some online software I found. I didn’t figure out how to change the key signature, but whatever, it’s in F.
Some of the other lines in the chorus were “Earth Day, Earth Day! Make a change today” and “Earth Day, Earth Day! Hear what I say!”
Anyway, we strolled as a group through the booths, played at a street corner, played at the exit of the train station. The highlights of this gig was when people break into dance à la Fame! the movie. One dude in a suit busted into some slow motion funk, leading us down the street. Another time the cuicas (there were five of them) formed an aggressive cuica circle around a lady dancing in a dolphin suit. S later used the word “bukkake” to describe it, which L later translated to “juntos” which is spectacularly dirty either way.
Another highlight was when we were at an intersection playing, and L turns around and says, “I smell bacon. Bacon and weed!” I need folks to exclaim what they smell, as I am in allergy limbo.
After the gig, I followed S, G, E, and D to Drummer’s World; later we hung out at E’s place near Union Square. We took the PATH to Newark, New Jersey… a first for me. The walk from the PATH station to Brasilia Grill was only four or five blocks, but it was mostly signs in Portuguese; apparently there are big Portuguese and Brazilian communities in Newark that don’t always get along.
A huge group of drummers showed up to play, as it was o mestre’s birthday. Before the show, we helped ourselves to dinner, which was big salad bar buffet and rodizio. There was a crazy avocado and tomato salad, and of course they came around with meat on swords. I had a chunk of steak, a chicken sausage, a pork sausage, a little bite of pork loin, and chicken thigh.
There was a maracujá birthday cake for o mestre, and then it was off to the parking lot to get our drums.
When we finally went inside to play, the dining room was packed. There were five cuicas, two stunning passistas, and another dozen of us performing with our backs to the service counter, facing the salad bar buffet. The crowd was happy to see us, nobody flinched or covered their ears (my ears were plugged with the blue foam plugs) and I watermelloned it. I watermelloned my entire part. The tempo was insanely fast, so fast that I couldn’t recognize the rhythms anymore. Fortunately, the other 3 caixas didn’t have the same problem.
Afterward, there was the “parking lot concert” and then the city folk made their way back to the PATH. Y told some crazy stories about work, and when the train pulled into Exchange Place station, S and E got up and changed places. I laughed at the joke; others didn’t get it, but I told them not to laugh, that it was awful, at which point S and E accused me of cracking up.
The rest of the evening is content not suitable for blogging, but suffice it to say, it was one of those days that felt like three separate days. I was kind of surprised that the next day was Sunday and I didn’t have to go to work, because felt like the whole weekend had gone by already.