The great creaking wooden frame of the Hotel Utah interior is very much like an old ship, id imagine. It is fitting then that Down in the stage pit, a lone mermaid watches over the two-tiered space.

Last time the place was dead and hollow, like a ghost ship, but now its fully animated with the warm light drinking regulars exude. A dread-headed man marshalls us musicians who have piled all our gear onstage in an exhausted heap, and tells us to take it all off and wait for Sound Man to arrive. I half expect a collective groan to rise up. Sound Man is obviously late and i can see Dreads is trying to maintain a sense if order.

Outside a bearded dude in a purple NY ball cap shakes my hand after skeptically dismissing the possibility of any sort of soundcheck. “We have a really complicated setup.” He says.

I ask if its their first time to the west and he says “nah, this is our third time out west this year.” I try to keep my jaw closed. To do that much touring at this level seems like some mariners curse to sail endlessly, never setting foot ashore.

Moby Dick is gettin in my skull. Its something that happens when i read books full of that rich, chewy old language. It was all i could do to stop myslef from stepping out of the shower at Lee’s brothers house saying, grandly, “Now, dear George, having punctilliously fulfilled all the offices and requirements of my toilet, i stand before you gratefully, and much refreshedly, at your service.”

But where more fitting than in the belly of this great drunken boat of a bar should i put on the dated pretense of Melville’s masterpiece? Perhaps tonight i will address tbe crowd thus: “Call me Edwin!” And sing a shanty or something. We’ll see soon enough… Aye soon indeed.


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