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Routine does not spell rut

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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:
  


Once we’re off, we lose our shit over Deerhoof’s set, talk to strangers, pressure strangers into buying our t-shirts, frown, and move the blasted equipment into the goddamn van. Then we complain, drive to some kind person’s home (last night we literally begged the audience to find us somewhere to stay—this desperate tactic worked shockingly well and we stayed with a nice girl named Whitney), tell jokes and confide in each other, and sleep on the floor. Then we repeat.


The repetition is strangely liberating. Playing the same songs every night removes some of the usual “something to prove” anxiety. Empowered by this monotony, we’ve been performing with the same fearless spirit with which we check our email or go to the movies. Though we’re feeling progressively more comfortable on stage, we haven’t grown accustomed to how big these venues are, and how receptive and fun Deerhoof’s fans are. It’s still so exciting.


Deerhoof, as people, are so kind and warm that you find yourself being less cruel and condescending as a result of their influence. Watching Deerhoof perform, too, has been educational. They have so many qualities that we aspire to have—overflowing creativity, beautiful/creepy moods, the ability to be both challenging and accessible without sacrificing the integrity of either—that seeing them slay each night feels like both a kick-ass rock show and a study session.


Last night’s show, at Cumberland’s, a cavernous, dive-y venue in Charleston, SC, was brimming with college students, some throwing bottles, some throwing up. They crowd-surfed during our song, “Felt Wings,” which was funny because that song is particularly moody, and, for us at least, “chill.” But the show was as fun as our dinner at Hominy Grille, which is saying a lot.


We’d wanted to see the Confederate Museum and the Haunted Prison but we ended up sleeping late the next day. We’re currently on route to Columbia, SC. Dear internet, if this is a dream then I don’t want to wake up. More Monday…


Love,

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