Just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who came out last night to see us play at NXNE; we really appreciated the support and the chance to play for you! A special thanks to Jess, Sonia, and Amanda for lending a hand with stage setup/breakdown and generally making our lives so much easier. Come say hi sometime (on the internet) if we don't catch you before stumbling out of the city!
Toronto has treated us really well so far (except for the frigging enormous rainstorm tonight that caught most of us at some point while running around on Queen St. ... I personally spent a good 20 - 30 minutes in the doorway to someone's flat before running across to the Hideout to catch David Martel... he was Pretty Dang Good if you enjoy some energetic indie rock with a big orchestral sound). I'll write a more substantial update tomorrow about the Stupendous Trolleys Adventures, Canadian edition, tomorrow when I'm not quite as soaked, delirious from lack of running around to conferences on not much zleep, and prone to parentheticals.
May 29, 2008: Trolleys @ NXNE!
Just this morning we received some very exciting news: The Trolleys were accepted off the wait-list to play at Canada's biggest music festival, North By Northeast (NXNE).
We'll be playing at 9pm on Thursday June 12 at The Tattoo Rock Parlour (567 Queen St. W.) in Toronto, Ontario.
May 29, 2008: New YouTube Videos!
May 12, 2008: Trolleys In the Providence Journal!
In an article the Providence Journal published today about political fundraisers in Rhode Island, The Trolleys were mentioned as providing musical entertainment for RI State Representative David Segal's fundraiser last Thursday at Nick-a-Nees. (Unfortunately, due to typographical errors at the ProJo, The Trolleys are simply called "Trolley" in the article. You can't win them all...)
We're excited to announce the launch of our first independent website, www.thetrolleysband.com. Check it out for all your Trolleys updates, including some songs on our music page that can't be heard anywhere else!
Many thanks to John and Tim for all their efforts and to our friend and tireless webmaster, Jaaron, for all his hard work.
Hope to see you here often!
April 29, 2008: Spring Arts Festival
After a an awesome night at Jerky's on Friday, we awoke Saturday morning a little overtired but extremely satisfied.
This particular Saturday was the annual Brown Spring Arts Festival, an artistic conglomerate of music, dance, drawing, painting, and other various crafts. The Festival provides a chill atmosphere for anyone to come and make art. We played there last year, and the orchestrators of the event liked us enough that they asked us back, but this time for twice as long!
Luckily it was a beautiful day, and the Spring Arts Festival was held outside on Brown's Main Green. We played for nearly two hours. It was early in the day and people were laying all over the green, so it was a perfect opportunity for us to play some of our slower ballads (which we don't play all that often).
Mixed in were a few Cake Walk Dances (yea, the winners actually got whole cakes for themselves), a little football, and dudes walking a tight-rope suspended between trees. Although I did get an ill farmers tan, there was no better way to spend that gorgeous Saturday afternoon. As always, thank you to all the familiar faces who listened. I hope you had as good a time as we did.
April 26, 2008: Jerky’s
A huge thank you to everyone who made the walk/drive to come out to Jerky's last night... we definitely had a great time playing for you all!
Not to much else to report in the Trolleys Nation... we're working on getting some YouTube clips up in the near future of the Spring Weekend shows for your viewing pleasure-- two hours of footage or something like that? Yeaaaah!
We're also working on another as-of-yet-untitled new song, and hopefully it will be ready in the next couple of weeks. Although I'm pretty aware that very few people actually know the titles of our songs, since banter eats into the ol' music-time. I guess knowing full titles of all the songs we play live is like having a fan club membership, or something.
April 18, 2008: Trolleys in the Daily Herald!
We're excited to report that the Brown Daily Herald ran a FRONT PAGE article today profiling The Trolleys!
April 14, 2008: SPRING WEEKEND!
This past week was crazy in so many ways that it's hard to know where to start.
A few months ago when it was still mad cold outside, we tied Flight of the Conchords in a poll reflecting who Brown students wanted to see play at Spring Weekend. This alone made us pretty happy.
Our happiness was intensified when we learned that there was going to be a Battle of the Bands on the Thursday of Spring Weekend to determine which student band would play on the Mainstage on the Saturday of Spring Weekend.
During the weeks leading up to the Battle, we had very focused, efficient rehearsals. In the final week before the Battle, we were putting in nearly 8 hours of work a day despite the fact that Steve and John were simultaneously in the middle of working on their senior theses and that we all had tests and papers.
The judges for the Battle were Scott Poulson (a founding editor of Vibe Magazine), Mike Delehanty (a booking agent with Lupo's), and Meredith Stern (the programming director for AS220). In addition to having a reasonably prestigious judging panel, the other bands that were competing in the Battle put on very good shows.
Mr. Tamel (a brit-pop-rock band) and Jose Gonzalez (an MC) stood out for their solid performances. The singer from the band that performed last stood out too, but less because he was good and more because his entire head was shaved except for a six-foot pony tail-- and he liked to whip around on stage. He also made a few violently unsuccessful attempts at beat boxing.
If there were any doubt in our minds, it would have been immediately extinguished when we walked on stage. As I looked out at the crowd, I could barely see anyone who wasn't wearing a Trolleys shirt. Each band was granted a ten-minute set, so we decided to play Jimenezi Hop and Pebble Man.
After deliberating briefly, the judges graced the stage to submit their decision. They would name two of the performers who would then compete in a final round, performing one song each. They chose us (hell yeah…) and Jose Gonzalez.
We went second, and without question we wanted to play When Morning Came. Arthur's killer intro hooked the crowd, and the rest is history. The audience was going crazy after we played, and it made it impossible for the judges to pick Jose Gonzalez for fear that riots might break out!
Foreal though, the reason we were successful was because of our loyal friends and fans. Everyone who came out to the Battle and cheered, thank you. You made it happen for us.
Even on Saturday morning it still hadn't sunk in that we were opening for Umphrey's McGee, Girl Talk, and M.I.A. When it finally started to sink in was when we pulled Drew's Toyota Prius into the loading area next to M.I.A.'s tour bus, and comparatively it looked like a matchbox car.
After warming up thoroughly, sound-checking, eating, and talking with our videographer (yeah, we have videos coming soon…), it was approaching 1:30 pm so we went onstage.
From a musical standpoint, we were very pleased with how the set went. John and Steve were particularly tight, and it always means good things when the bass and drums lock in. Tim was also on his game vocally.
Directly after the show, we brought all our gear from the Mainstage to Kappa Alpha Theta so we could set up for what would be our second show of the day.
This late night show was much different but no less amazing than opening for Umphrey's, Girl Talk, and M.I.A. Instead of playing in a 3,500-person arena, we played for two and a half hours in a room twice the size of a modest living room. It was much more intimate, and it gave us a chance to open up musically.
After the show, we didn't even pack up our stuff; we left it all in Theta's lounge. After an exhausting week, each of us wanted to join his friends and celebrate the amazing weekend.
The next day, as more-than-middle-aged Dave Binder sang the 90's covers on Wriston Quad, as hundreds of Brown students drunkenly clasped each other's shoulders and sang along with the recognizable tunes, and as the temperature rose above 60 degrees for the first time in six months, I was thankful for two things: that I had great friends and that spring was finally coming.
March 14, 2008: Murphy’s Law, n.
"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."
The night of Friday, March 7, was more or less a case study; it bears telling. Here's a plot summary for this comedy of the absurd:
Act One: Shoulder of 95, Part I.
On our way up to a show in Wellesley, Car 2, carrying Tim, Stephen, me, and the drum kit, blew a flat tire on I-95, in the rain, in the dark, twenty or thirty feet before an onramp merge. This was all a little unexpected, so we spent about 30 minutes calling some five or six different people to figure out what we should do. Having navigated a never-ending AAA call center (I think Tim got transferred three or four times), we finally got a police car to come to block us off while we waited for a tow truck to take us somewhere safe where we could change a tire. Imagine our surprise that this police car did not: a) turn on any additional lights, and b) did not have any road flares-- things that would have helped alert drivers that there were three guys, all of whom were, unfortunately, wearing black, scrambling around a car trying to figure out what to do.
Thankfully, two of our friends (Aliza and Zindzi) were driving to the show behind us and were kind enough to stop to help us at least get the drums and one of us to Wellesley. Tim and I decided to stay behind, because Stephen could at least set up his own equipment and help with everything else. They pulled away, leaving Tim and me waiting for the tow truck.
Act Two: Shoulder of 95, Part II.
Another good twenty or thirty minutes passed while Tim and I waited, making phone calls and generally wondering what the hell we were going to do, both with regards to the show and with regards to the completely deflated tire. In the meantime, the police car behind us had decided to turn on its hazard lights, well after we had been running around on the shoulder of I-95 attempting to shelter bits and pieces of a drum kit from the rain. Tim managed to dissuade Arthur from driving from Wellesley to pick us up and get us playing-- we couldn't leave the car with any sort of good conscience. It was now about 8:30; being an hour late doesn't seem so bad at this point.
Shortly after said phone call, a tow truck pulls off the onramp ahead of us, and backs up to us on the shoulder. After a couple words, the trucker gets in the driver's seat and tries to get the Prius (or as I call it, the robot car) into neutral. With the hooks and winches all set to go, we're onto the flatbed in short order when a second tow truck pulls up in front of us. That bodes well...
Of course, now the car is on the bed of Tow Truck No. 1. Tow Truck No. 2 was the actual truck sent by AAA to get us off the road, as we discover. Tow Truck No. 1 was sent by the state police. Oops.
An awkward negotiation later, the driver of Tow Truck No. 2 leaves dejected/heartbroken/etc., and we're en route to the nearest gas station.
Act Three: At the Gas Station
Thankfully Tow Truck No. 1 is an acceptable substitute as far as AAA is concerned. Our driver is on the last days of his two-week-long obligations for night shift duty and ready for a break.
We pull off at a Sonoco at exit 11A in Canton, Mass. The Prius slides gently into an open parking space, and our driver departs. It's around 9:00 or so. The matter at hand is changing the tire.
The advantages of being at the gas station look something like this: it's not as dark, it's not the shoulder of I-95 on a weekend (read: drinking) night, and there are people around who would be able to help us out, should things go badly. Having acquired a day-glo orange flashlight from inside, Tim and I get to work loosening the wheel nuts. (Consult page 364-66 in the '06 Prius owner's manual for instructions-- I'm pretty sure I've committed those bloody pages to memory).
I'm not sure if any of this blog's readership (?) have had the pleasure of changing tires before, but both Tim and I were surprised at how fucking tight these nuts were on there-- maybe it was the rain that made gripping the wrench more difficult, etc., but it was still pretty damn challenging. Grunting and stomping later, we get nuts one through four loosened. Great. Then we get to nut number 5-- the locking nut. Toyota, if you're reading this: for the love of god, get a separate wrench for the locking nut mechanism, not some lame fitted attachment that prevents you from getting any leverage whatsoever and leads the user to stripping out the interior of the fitted attachment.
Call us f*cked.
Several phone calls later, Aliza and Zindzi are making a second trip to pick up Tim and Ime. We pass the time thinking about the possibility of the locking nut being unimportant, and jack up the car, partly out of boredom and frustration, to see if we can remove the tire otherwise. Nope.
At 9:45, Aliza and Z come to the rescue, and we're heading towards Wellesley once and for all.
Act Four: Wellesley
The rain is now getting pretty torrential, but at least Tim and I are not outside in it attempting to change the tire. There are a series of appropriately vague and confusing phone conversations (Arthur calls me to ask Tim if Tim called Pete, which he hadn't, and then Arthur asks me to ask everyone in the car if they had called Pete and the answer is no, they had not called Pete. I have no idea what Pete was doing at this time.)
We finally pull through the gates of Wellesley and find my friend Josh, who had driven up from Virginia and actually beaten us there, even though he was about an hour and a half behind us in traffic when we started out. It's now about 10:10, and we were supposed to have been playing for an hour already.
As we pull into the parking space, Tim gets a phone call from Steve. His snare drum and stick bag are in the Prius in Canton, which we somehow missed when we were loading out all the drums on the shoulder of I-95. However, this was possibly the worst possible time to discover this bit of news-- driving to get them would mean another 40 minute delay. Fantastico.
Tim and I are engaged in some pedal board trouble shooting to try and figure out how to eliminate the horrible square waves and feedback coming from his acoustic guitar when Stephen comes back with a snare drum and two sticks---Olna, a jazz drummer and a friend of Beth's, graciously made the equipment available for our set and generally saved us.
We are able to play a somewhat abbreviated set in front of an enthusiastic and very patient crowd, which made all the trouble worthwhile (as always). We loaded back into the rain, and split up-- Arthur, Pete, Stephen, and I were on our way back to Providence, and Tim and Z were on their way (thanks again to Aliza's cheuffering) to the stricken Prius.
Act Five: Getting Home?
Tim's night getting the Prius home was not at all easy – or short. But maybe I'll let him tell it from here:
At the same time as I left Wellesley, Arthur's girlfriend Margot (who has a "platinum" AAA membership entitling her to 100 miles of free towing, enough to get the Prius back to Providence) left Providence with her friend Claire in tow. Margot, Claire, Zindzi and I converged in Canton at 1:00 a.m., with AAA promising a tow truck there by 1:30.
At 1:45, with the tow truck nowhere to be seen, Margot called AAA and was told the same thing she'd been told at 12:30: the tow truck would be there within the hour. The four of us night owls piled into Margot's Buick and passed the time by huddling close enough to watch a few episodes of "The Office" on Margot's iPod. At 3:00 a.m., there was still no tow truck, and another call to AAA revealed more of the same: a truck would be there within the hour.
By this time, the three girls were all tired enough to curl up and sleep -- Margot and Claire in the Buick, Zindzi in the backseat of the Prius. Just in case a tow truck showed up, I kept myself awake, sitting in the driver's seat of the Prius, observing the customers who patronize the Canton Sunoco station in the wee hours of the night, thinking of the many ways in which the night was proceeded differently from expected, looking forward with increasing desperation to my warm bed back in Providence.
At 4:00, Margot finally got the call: the tow truck would be there within 15 minutes. At 4:30, what had come to seem impossible finally occurred: the orange lights of a tow truck appeared around the bend, illuminating the spruce trees and grey sky of Canton, MA. By 6:00, I had slipped a $5 bill into the tow truck driver's hand and – along with Margot, Claire, and Zindzi – had stumbled blearily off to bed.
Was there a silver lining in all of this? Well, in some ways yes, in some ways no. Certainly the night felt like a metaphorical test of our endurance and determination to get where we're going as a band in this early stage of our career. And certainly the night offered up an unexpected batch of heroes (Aliza, Olna, Margot, and 3 truck drivers, to name a few). Then again, at the same time, the night also felt like a sharp reminder that preparation and hard work will not always be rewarded. I think of my grandfather who, in his (usually unsuccessful) attempts to console me, would rub his nose, look at the floor, and say, in a scratchy and flat voice, "Well hey. Shit happens."
-John C. & Tim
February 28, 2008: The Trolleys New Website is UP!
January 24, 2008: NYC Round One
This past weekend, we played our first shows in New York-- show 1 was a 1a.m. at Arlene's Grocery on Friday, and show 2 was an 8-or-so at Kenny's Castaway's. After driving up most of the night from VA and Tennessee, Arthur and I got in at 2 or 3 a.m. on Thurs. to meet up with Tim, and later Stephen and Pete, the latter of whom had just come back from working at an orphanage in Ghana (no joke, he'll tell you all about it). We spent four hours before Arlene's rehearsing in this somewhat funky art space in Brooklyn (Guereje) and praying that Pete
a) was not sick with malaria, and
b) was well enough to play several hours later.
We got in complete run-throughs of everything in that brilliantly red room, making sure that we didn't completely suck after a month of not rehearsing, etc.
Show 1 went well enough, for it being at 1a.m. and all. I can't see worth shit while playing, mostly because of the lack of glasses (after breaking them a couple times, wearing them became a terrible idea), but evidentially there were about 20 or so people there and they seemed pretty receptive from what I heard later. The bartender evidentially warmed up to us, and supposedly there was "random guy in front mimicking the bassist" who seemed pretty into it (I'm not sure that one's actually true). I have no idea if reality-impaired backstage amigos "iPhone guy" and "LSD dude" involved in the non-linear circus for use of the backstage bathroom were in the audience, but I can only hope they were.
I remember slightly less of Show 2 at Kenny's Castaways, mostly because it was pretty hectic setting up and breaking down. We were preceded by the genteel and lovely Red Orange Morning. The show itself went splendiforously--everyone in the band was tight and pretty spot-on, and we brought a merry bunch of about 30 or so to the show. I remember the wood paneling at the bar (a welcome break from the concrete and busted drywall business-as-usual), the moose head, platinum or gold albums, and the neon signs: a generally entertaining collection of bar bric-a-brac.
Both bars liked us enough to have us back, from what I heard. It's a start, NY.
Hopefully we'll get the new songs ("Hey Juda" and "Tennessee Fields") ready within the next few weeks. Rumor has it that "Trigger Soon Lord" is also slated for a long-overdue, sax-tastic arrangement.
Thanks as always to those who made it out, and continue to support us. You're much loved.
October 22, 2007: Boston
Rounding off a pretty busy week of shows, we got in the car to drive up to Boston (Somerville, technically...) to play Abbey Lounge with two great bands, Maya and Dave Clark Band... but holy shit, what a night. The Sox more or less kicked everything off by destroying the Indians at Fenway while everyone was setting up and soundchecking. When we ducked out for dinner before the first set, we saw a whole Greyhound bus full of people coming from a wedding, and we joked that they were coming to Abbey. We get back, find the bus pulled up in front of Abbey Lounge, and Tommy, who works there and is generally a great guy, explained that the owner's daughter had gotten married that day, and the wedding party was stopping by for a bit. So now we have fifty people from a wedding in addition to the eighty-some people already inside, and we get to play what amounted to one of the most fun shows we've ever done, thanks in a large part to everyone who was there (+ a special thank-you to everyone who came up from Providence that night to see us!).
We finally pack up to leave around 1:30-2, and somehow, some way, there's a massive amount of traffic on 93 at two in the frigging morning. Four of us are packed into Arthur's car, Eleanor, crammed in with all our gear, and are all watching through the windshield as on of the guys in the black Nissan ahead of us opens his door, a good five or six times, to sick up on the highway (and all over the car). We felt pretty bad for him, but the whole situation ended up being absolutely ridiculous.
We got on our way, and, like some of the more bona-fide rock stars out there, had one of our cars break down on 93 outside of Quincy (we have pictures to prove that). In the two or more hours it took for a tow truck to get there (2-4:45a.m. or something), we had a pretty lengthy discussion with a Mass Transit officer who worked out of Norfolk for the Navy for awhile and stopped to give us a hand, and sat around shooting the shit and playing guitar in the back of the car. Miraculous also was Tim's ability to be put on hold by AAA for a good 30 minutes of easy listening, while I was able to call and get through immediately... what the hell. The whole trip ends at 7a.m. in Providence, and I'm wearing a bunch of Arthur's clothes because I lost my coat in the bar.
I think that's it... I just needed to get all that down sometime so I could remember, haha. Hopefully there will be some pictures from that up soon; we just got some of the pictures from our last studio session up for viewing and stuff, so check those out.
Thanks to everyone in Boston for making it such a great night, and hopefully we'll be back soon
October 14, 2007: AS220
A big thank-you to everyone who made it out yesterday for the show at the Living Room; thanks also to Grow and Fungus Amungus for letting us stop by to play... it was awesome.
We've got a couple days to recharge, and then we're playing AS220 on Tuesday of this week... hopefully, we'll be able to debut a new song by then!
October 9, 2007: Show Last Friday
... was somewhat unreal, especially when Arthur had his head shaved, in the dark, in the middle of 'Ithaka'. Also, the uncertainty of whether the floor would actually collapse from jumping added some suspense, haha.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by... if you're free, check us out downtown at the Living Room with Grow and Fungus Amungus this Saturday 8PM, $5 cover!
October 1, 2007: Studio Rundown
After a mammoth 14 hour session yesterday, we've got two new songs well on their way: "Election Night 04" and "When Morning Came." Spending the extra time tracking guitars, drums and sax together was well worth it, and everything should go a lot faster in the whole process (no more week-long sessions drinking Red Bull / coffee / Jack Daniels and figuring out how to line up bass and drum takes recorded a month apart).
Another interesting part of yesterday was that I discovered that everyone in the band has more or less the same "funk face," which more or less looks like squinting and vigorous head-shaking... I'll see if I have any pictures (real, non-funk face pictures of the sessions should be up soon).