Category Archives: Show Journal

NYC Show @ The Local 269 – CMJ Music Festival

Hi it’s JC Penny, the singer.

I showed up a couple of hours before the show and the first thing I noticed inside the door of Local 269 is ammonia. I think people barf there a lot. However the sound was terrific. I felt at home as soon as I started screaming.

We had a perfect time and many people who weren’t our friends came up and thanked us for the great show including the manager/owner. I didn’t get to talk to him beyond him saying “I really enjoyed that” to me and then rushing off to clean something.

My father came and we spent 3 days walking up and down Manhattan. To me, Manhattan is the city in my dreams. Whether I’m running from something or flying, the background is Manhattan. It’s immense, dense, and lavish.

Finally, I want to apologize to the nice people who drove all the way from Delaware to see California Dirty Penny. We had no control over this. It was a music festival. I hope you enjoyed the cupcakes we offered. I understand if you threw them in the street. Delaware is far, I think.

singin Happy Birthday Ghengis - click to see more

singin Happy Birthday Ghengis - click to see more - photo by Terence Collins Aw, Yeah

El Mocambo, Nov 12 – “It’s a better world, finally” show

dirty penny plays the El Mocambo, Nov 12

dirty penny plays the El Mocambo, Nov 12

JC Penny here again. It’s always me actually. If you sing it means you got something to say.

Guitarist Lovely Louie loved this show. He proclaims it top 3. Grimlock liked but I think we were too loose for his taste. Candy declares it his all time fave. Yoko came up to me after and hugged me tenderly and said “you’re a strange, strange man mister Cavener”. He’s right. I’m barely human. I liked it. I loved it. I couldn’t concentrate the next day at my cubicle. I am supposed to be learning Visual Studio 2008 and all I could do is daydream. Hungover and daydreaming of my 40 minutes of flight on stage. Saves me thousands of dollars in therapy. I actually felt like an astronaut.

The title of this OAM was “It’s a better world, finally”. I try to always put together some theatre for a show and never the same one twice. An Original Act for Mankind, or OAM. This one saw animals inflating and deflating a singing astronaut at their leisure via vaccuum powered switch. Now does the title make sense?

Run With the Kittens played after us. They are gods. I don’t know them personally. They are not paying me to say this. Ha! I have all their albums. I feel shitty about something, though: I promised them we’d bring 20 people minimum. I really thought I could pull this off for once. My main promotional vehicle is Facebook. I never pressure my 100+ friends to come to any show. I just send one invite a week before and one reminder the day before. Nothing elaborate. Just “hey if you’re not doing anything…” But this time I had a whole campaign. I sent 4 or 5 messages to all invitees. I held a mini-contest. I didn’t directly ask people to come out. I just tried to honestly build a buzz through sweat and dedication to the cause. In the end I got 23 confirmed attendees and about as many “Maybes”. How many actually showed up? 4. Altogether the band brought in 15. I feel crappy that I didn’t come through. The Kittens brought 40.

We put on a true art rock performance. There were many really pumped people after the show talking to me all excited and nervous. And there were some that hated us. You could tell they thought we were too ridiculous and disjointed to be allowed on stage. I think the first band, Scott Mission, were in this camp.  Scott himself stood over me while I setup my costume before the show.  He asked “Stage antics?”.  I replied “Ya.”  After the show he said to me “I liked the stage antics.” Hee hee.

There are people who are friends and fans, and there are people who are fans. Only one kind comes out to your shows. We only have the other kind… I just thought I could cash in on the low pressure to attend I’ve been maintaining just for once. Oh well.

Nate, lead singer for RWTK said I sound like Frank Black. Thank you.

If anybody has any pictures of this show please send them to dirty at thatsmydirtypenny dawt calm.

Our NXNE gig, the “Better Living thru Rock” show

I liked it.  Louie not as much.  Candy liked it.  I forget to take Yoko and Grimlock’s temperatures on it. The OAM (Original Act for Mankind) theme for this gig was a corporate training session entitled..

Better Living Thru Rock

We all wore acrylic, ugly sweaters.  We figured we’re too ugly to try and look cool anyway.  I constructed a flipchart presentation to introduce every song or “agenda item”.  Most were composed of formulas like “99 virtues < 1 vice” or “fucking = 1/killing”.  A brief explanation was offered and we went into the song.  Yoko liked this bit, so did the stage manager, Chris Ritchie.  Nobody else offered praise.  Louie complained about the sweater.  I highly enjoyed delivering better-living training in tandem with our rock show.  I may break our OAM rule for each show and do that again.

Chris Ritchie, fooled

Chris was the stage manager for our venue, The Reverb.  He did a good job.  We liked him.  He got to know me before the show in a white shirt.  For the show I put on the sweater and then took it off as soon as we were done.  20 minutes later I’m hanging out with my beer and Chris comes next to me “Hey dude.”  I say hey.  “That last band was awesome, fuck, I really liked them.  So not what you expect you know and that lead guy with his whole presentation thing?  It was like a Talking Heads show.  You know how David Byrne mixes in different..”  I wondered for a while if he was playing me.  I waited until I was absolutely sure he didn’t realize he was talking to me about me.  Then I let him go for another minute enjoying the surreal experience.  Then I told him.  He was like “fuck off, no, you’re, oh shit, really, I, fuck, HA!” with hands over his eyes looking at me between his fingers with difficulty.  Hee hee.

Triggerfinger from Belgium, I am sorry

The second band after us was Triggerfinger from Belgium.  The lead guy looked like Wayne Coyne.  They we’re an awesome trio.  They we’re old men like us going epileptic all over the stage, art meltdown sounds that just worked.  We we’re watching and loving it.  All of a sudden: tragedy.  “Lets go checkout what’s going on at Lee’s Palace” someone says.  The sparkle of venue hopping crushes all common sense.  10 minutes later we’re at Lee’s watching… it doesn’t matter.  Spilled milk.

RWTK, Jay Spectre @ the Horseshoe, the elf with a cold show, dec 13

We played with Run With the Kittens and Jay Spectre last night at the Horseshoe. I threw up this morning but remembered to rip the elf ears off my head before going to bed. My original act for mankind last night was to be an elf with a cold. I already had a cold so decided to build my performance around it. I brought my daughter’s Curious George waste basket and a box of Kleenex. I sang our set as a sick elf. Has anybody ever seen a sick elf before? Better yet: has anyone ever thought of a sick elf before? Lemme know.

Anyways, I think we we’re good cuz everybody bought me drinks after that. Jay Spectre were great musicians. I love the sound of horns and rock together. I didn’t like their show, though. I like edge and risk. They were just straight up roots rockers. However, plenty of people loved them. They got a better reception than we did. Proof is in the pudding.

Run With the Kittens were dressed in santa suits. They closed the night and rocked a packed Horseshoe. They share a large part of the blame as to why I was throwing up this morning. That was me, the elf drinking and sick pumping the air like a brother for 90 minutes, their whole set. When frontguy Nate Milk stated that it was time to elevate the sex appeal of the evening and peeled off his santa suit to reveal a matching two piece bikini, I elevated my drink on. He was starting to look good that Nate.

Later Nate told me he didn’t tell his band that he had a bikini under the santa suit and I know exactly why. When you’re a frontguy, your band sort of hates you in a very loving way. They shoot down your crazy ideas because they’re sick of them and a little sick of you, but they love it when you go ahead and do it anyway.

Dirty Penny lead guit Lovely Louie told me he was happy about my more serious than usual stage presence. Lovely Louie doesn’t like Ween.

Once again: last night I dressed as an elf and blew my nose and threw my tissues into a waste basket on stage with my band, Dirty Penny. That’s a happy memory. I hope that flash gets magic trick status at the movie I go see in my afterlife.

Playing with Run With the Kittens, dec 4 @ The Starlight

So I’ve been talking about Run With the Kittens since I saw them by accident six months ago at the Cameron House. I just did a gig myself at The Horseshoe and my dick was swinging, breaking car windows on Queen St. I went into the Cameron for more dick swinging juice and there they were crammed on the tiny stage area of the Cameron’s front house. I was there with Carl Hamfelt and my lady, Lesley. After a few minutes I said to my friend Carl “They’re way better than us” and he replied “Stop, they are not.” A few more minutes went by and he said to me “Okay, they’re better than you.”

RWTK are a tight, telepathic multi-genre loving posse of four ugly clown boys that turn lead into gold, and then gold into milkshake. They do jazz, rock, disco, and meringue all in one song and make it look easy. They can tell a joke just with instruments. I’ve always admired musicians that can do that. Zappa’s stuff does that. You can just be sitting there listening to some horns, guitar, and drums and you’ll suddenly laugh like at the punchline… Well, I do.

Anyways, we played with them at the Starlight in Kitchener, Ontario. That’s an awesome place. Picture The Horseshoe on Queen but with really nice sofas, expensive lighting, same hi-fi sound and less urine smell. Also, a lovely newly finished huge dance floor with no less than 6 professional disco balls. The place seats about 100 comfortably, really comfortably. They mostly do DJ dance nights but will do bands once in a while that are touring nationally (which reminds me, I must ask my publicist how she landed that gig).

The next time me and my baby have nothing to do and no kids and a hundred bucks, we’re going there. And you should, too. It’s worth the 100 km drive.

Oh yeah, and the staff are nice and friendly. I nearly shit my pants when the bartender said “what can I get ya?” and smiled SINCERELY. Also chatted with door guy, manager, sound guy. No discernable attitude or ego. No need to wipe my face after. Going to Kitchener is great because you’re reminded how our cool metropolitan international city of Toronto sucks. The nickname ‘T-dot’ sucks, too.

And the final thing that makes Toronto suck more than Kitchener: nobody knew RWTK or Dirty Penny in Kitchener. We are complete unknowns. FIFTY COMPLETE STRANGERS CAME OUT TO SEE THE SHOW. I was beginning to think people didn’t like music anymore until I went to Kitchener.

Anyways, Dirty Penny and RWTK rocked the place. We gave a really good show. You could see it in everybody’s faces and when they came and talked to us after. This is no surprise since both bands were feeling awesome by the time we went on. The venue actually made us chips and dip AND gave us four beer tickets each.

Thank you, Kitchener. Thank you, Starlight. Thank you, Bernard the manager and staff.

By the way, we are playing with RWTK again at the Horseshoe on Dec 13th. That’s a saturday night.car

Clinton’s Tavern, nov 6

Last night we played Clinton’s… again. I was pretty great. The rest of the band was okay. I wore checkered Moschino pants. The same one’s Jim Carrey wore on the cover of Vanity Fair forty thousand years ago. I said this to five thousand people last night and nobody remembers it. If you know me then you know I have a good memory. People say to me “wow, I wish I had your memory” after we bring up a memory and I fill in all the details but it’s not so great. It means my bad memories don’t fade away as fast either. On bad days I walk through the city being stoned by every bad memory from five years old until now.

Anyways, last night we played with Flowers of Hell. They were good but almost didn’t get on because their band leader was being a general prick about stuff and pissing off the Clinton’s staff. I had to put out a fire. The bartender was going to have them dropped on the spot but I made sure I listened until he was done complaining. Demoted the ‘out’ to a ‘strike’. This band leader IS an asshole. He was an asshole to us multiple times in the week leading up to the gig. I respect him though. He cares about his band and his music and that’s it. Goodness and tolerance are not necessary fuel in art’s furnace. I’ll buy that. Sometimes they are even a bad idea. Nice guys finish last, bla bla bla. We’ll see. There’s more than one way to skin a cat (I have more clichés, just call me). I’m doing the same thing as him – except Louie and I both share the band leading title – although I’m doing it by being nice. Who will judge the winner? Is the winner the one whose band is played on the radio next to The Arcade Fire and Ween? (Ween’s a bad example but I guarantee you the world would be a better place if it were the kinda world where as many people liked Ween as much as they liked The Arcade Fire) Is the winner the one who makes a comfortable living from music? Yes, I think that’s the one. Hmm… I think he’s gonna win. The guy’s way more driven than me. I only endeavour towards good art. This guy does that and ambition in parallel. That’s okay. When it’s all done god’s gonna look at his pile, then my pile, and he’ll get the trophy but later she’ll be having cocktails with me cuz I’m far better looking.

I just had a great idea. I’ll tell you about it later.

JC Penny

the same moschino pants jim carrey wore