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Thursday, Feb 22, 2007
by Harlem Shakes

Harlem Shakes w/ Deerhoof
Diary #6


The van smelt funny today.


When last we spoke, the subject of our discontent was THE NOISE. The noise is the total lack of silence on tour, and its result is mild insanity. But today we couldn’t help but shout over the constant chattin’ and iPod shufflin’ that something smelt awful—not funny… awful. Thevandra has become a moving dungeon, a pit of sounds and smells that puts Hades, or CBGB‘s for that matter, to shame.


But, at last, we arrived in Athens.


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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007
by Harlem Shakes

Harlem Shakes w/ Deerhoof
Diary #5


Being in a band with five go-getters means that someone always wants to show the other guys some cool new music (“dude, have you guys heard “Mental Perturbation” by Morton Feldman”), tell a joke (“how many indie rockers does it take to screw in a light bulb? What—you don’t know? Yeah… you should really go check that out”) or point out a sign that says something like “No Jesus No Peace, Know Jesus Know Peace.” Such fun can turn a good Shake bad.


To counteract all this over-stimulating, anxiety-attack-inducing fun, we’ve been taking solo walks around venue neighborhoods, putting on Jose’s gigantic, ear-enveloping headphones, and, like we did today, heading to the Gainesville public library to visit separate sections.


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Monday, Feb 19, 2007
by Harlem Shakes

Harlem Shakes w/ Deerhoof
Diary #4


Hey Internets. As we get into the heart of our journey, it’s time we took care of some of the crew. No account of this tour would be complete without mentioning Peter Venuto’s glorious Electronic Rainbow Machine (ERM). Finally, someone has created the thinking man’s pyrotechnics. Each night we watch Deerhoof perform in front of this five-foot diameter circular rainbow, pulsing in time to the music.


It’s an incredible contraption—a three-pronged windmill with multicolored lights on each tab. When the windmill spins, it creates a sentient wall of color that whooshes, spins, and twitches—a perfect complement to Deerhoof’s cheerful paroxysms. His machine is the way we imagine the inside of Deerhoof’s collective band brain might look like.


And then there’s Peter Venuto himself, the friendly longhaired Canadian who operates the ERM live each night. (He got the idea for the rainbow machine, apparently, from early-computer-style player piano reels, and, not surprisingly, Las Fucking Vegas!) Crouched next to the band, wearing striped velvet pants and a zip-up sweatshirt with a tank-top underneath, Peter runs his fingers over a little pad of buttons that triggers the machine’s many subtle functions.


Deerhoof first befriended Peter after they witnessed his “trashlights”—trashcan lids outfitted 250 tiny LED lights that create an undulating, similarly colorful effect—and now he’s part of our big touring family, showing up at every gig with his magical windmill.


The crowd in Tampa Bay—where neither our new tourmate Busdriver, nor us, nor Deerhoof has ever been—was one of the tour’s absolute best. A fan built a purple rubber dinosaur for Deerhoof and gave it to Satomi who beamed with gratitude.


Last night we slept in a motel in Orlando that had a special rate for serial killers. We wistfully recalled the days when four-on-the-floor meant a dance-punk beat, not a sleeping arrangement. We woke up, and more than half the band (Jose, Todd, Kendrick) went to Disney World to protest Disney’s conservative politics and ride totally fucking awesome roller coasters. Lexy and Brent sought quiet places in which to hear the inside of their heads for the first time in many, many days.


Love for now,


 


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Thursday, Feb 15, 2007
by Harlem Shakes

Harlem Shakes w/ Deerhoof
Diary #3


We’re now four days into tour—four shows, four cities, four venues, and what feels like a thousand hours in Thevandra. A pattern is
developing. First, we drive all day:


Then, we arrive at a venue, load equipment into the club, soundcheck (if time and tattooed men permit), and find food.  Then, we play our set:


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Wednesday, Feb 14, 2007
by Harlem Shakes

Harlem Shakes w/ Deerhoof
Diary #2


On Tuesday, North Carolina—land of Blackbeard, Michael Jordan, and prose-master Allan Gurganus—welcomed us with open arms. After a satisfying set at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, we said goodbye to our bearded, Ashkenazi guardian angel, Jon Natchez from the band Beirut, who had been playing bari sax, French horn, and flute for us. After the show, our friend Daniel from 8088 Record Collective kindly lent us his floor.


We met his neurotic timberwolf, Treebeard. Daniel told us: “I swear, the wolf is more afraid of you than you are of it!”  We tried to tell the animal, “dude, you’re the wolf here, we should be afraid of you—in fact, we’re totally goddamn terrified of you! Oh my god! Oh Jesus Christ! It’s a wolf!!”


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