How does such a small state produce so much good music? Rhode Island has been the birth place of some of my favorite bands: Arab on Radar, Daughters, Lightning Bolt and even The Body, who just played here last weekend. Last Monday night, I was able to befriend two more bands, stemming from the Ocean State; Divets, a one man psych project and math rock trio, Anisette, have been all along the East Coast, braving some of the coast’s recent blizzards and backwoods towns, ending up at Doozer’s Pub. Their arrival in Jacksonville was not welcomed by sunshine and warm weather as they had hoped for, nor were their many people at the show to greet them. But sometimes those empty-room shows can provide a more intimate experience, as well as a chance to talk with both Anisette and Divets about some of the stranger shows they’ve played this tour.
After the show, we all met at a friend’s house in Riverside to consume Busch, cheap wine and some fresh Californian herbs that they had acquired on their trip. The living room was live with drunken energy, but we managed to talk above everyone else and discuss what it’s like to play those awkward shows when on a self-booked tour.
John: You guys have traveled a long way, just to play for a few people at Doozer’s. I’m sure you’ve had similar shows on your way down. What do you think is the strangest show you’ve played, thus far?
Joe (Divets): This guy who was supposed to help us book the tour only ended up booking two dates. One place, in Big Stone Gap, VA, was called The Edge. It was this Christian, straight edge venue. They immediately acted weary around us and said that if we cursed at all, we’d have to leave. When we first arrived there was this woman standing at the venue, wearing an “I’m for Jesus” shirt. They didn’t care for us too much.
John: That reminds me of the Murray Hill Theatre here in Jacksonville. Did any thing good come from the show?
Joe: We received some expired orange juice, bread, and milk.
John: Any other difficulties during the tour?
Joe: There was another Christian venue in Mill Spring, NC that we were supposed to play. When we got to town there were these red necks with guns that just sat there staring at us, wickedly. We got to the venue and they told us that no one was coming out, but we could set up and play if we wanted. Luckily, our friends from Blastoids were playing a house show about three hours away, in Winston Salem, NC, so we ended up playing there instead.
John: That must’ve been a relief. I think that those kinds of shows are unavoidable, but worth it to play a few good ones. Are there any dates that you guys are excited about?
Joe: Yeah. We’re playing a show in Queens, NY as our last date. It’s this zine release show. There’s something like, eight bands playing and I guess it’s supposed to be a big deal. We’re playing Orlando tomorrow and then driving, I think, eighteen hours straight to Queens. We’re stoked.
Realizing that it was nearly 5am, we decided to call it a night. We said our goodbyes and reaffirmed plans for future National Dairy/Anisette/Divets shows.
Although they played for an almost empty bar, both Divets and Anisette kept a good attitude and it showed through their performances. We traded some of our merchandise for a few Divets/Anisette split mini-discs, stayed up late and discussed music all night. I feel that the show, overall, was fun and we met some cool kids from Rhode Island. Expect more music from that little mound of dirt off the coast to pop up in Jacksonville’s future.