Kashmir New York Mercury Lounge
About 5 or 6 years ago, my guitar player at the time came back from Denmark with a CD. It was a mix CD that a guy at a hostel in Copenhagen had given him simply because my guitar player (Erik) shouted down the hall to him and said "WHO is this????" The answer of course was Kashmir. The guys had made a CD which was his own personal Kashmir "Best Of" with music ranging from "Cruzential" to" The Good Life" I remember my first few listens being all about "Rose" "Mudbath" "Lampshade" and other songs that were becoming more and more soothing and addictive.
At this point everyone in my band was hooked, we would sing certain lines or hum favourite guitar parts out of the blue. Always Wondering, "Will they ever come out to Canada?" having conversations like..... "If they did they should come with Mew and we will invite all our friends" (Kashmir also became the catalyst for myself and my friends in discovering countless other amazing Danish bands.)
Then Zitilites came out, and to put it simply it never left my CD player for 3 years, still somehow over all that time the album was still revealing itself in a new way that I never picked up before hand. That album is truly, a work of Art.
That same soothing quality from earlier songs was still there but even more so, almost putting you in a dreamlike state once the first twinkling notes of rocket brother begins.
To say we enjoyed this album and the next two to follow is an understatement. Somehow the music is always evoking those same feelings of nostalgia and comfort while taking you somewhere new. I believe that this bands genuine care and patience that goes into their work is how the listener is rewarded tenfold.
Never the less after all this time, Kashmir was coming!!! Toronto? No, but to New York City. I instantly called up those same 2 old band members as well as one current one. The phone calls were short and to the point " Ummm Kashmir is playing In New York city! I think we should go, are you in?"
It was one of those moments of spontaneity where everyone was just as into the idea as I was. When the time finally came for the trip, we had just found out that Oh No Ono were playing the same venue (the mercury lounge) the night before, so we decided to go since "Eggs" is an album we were all in love with. This was actually my second time seeing Oh No Ono at the same venue and the same city. While at the show, I decided to go out for a cigarette. Within a few seconds of being outside to my surprise Henke and Kasper were walking right past me. I then got their attention and we started to talk. I have been corresponding with some of the members for a while now, so they seem to know who I was. I remember Henke saying "Oh, you're the Canadian who writes us on the internet!"
I told them that we had flown down from Toronto for tomorrow night's show, and they seemed very appreciative of our efforts. So we shook hands with a "see you tomorrow night". When I walked back inside to the Oh No Ono gig, I told my other friends what just happened and I think they were debating punching me. They were not impressed with my good timing for a cigarette.
Then the day came where we FINALLY were going see Kashmir play. I really can't stress the anticipation we all felt. And the icing on the cake was the fact that we were all in New York City none the less. Seeing them at a venue as intimate as the Mercury Lounge was just such a dream. When it came time for the show, they played an amazing set and it felt like it all went by in 15 minutes or so, simply because of the feeling of you not wanting it to end.
My favourite part of course is what followed. The show was over and the place cleared out pretty quickly, I had brought two CD's of theirs that I had bought as imports that I was hoping to get signed. So we hung around the stage for little having a beer just in case it was possible. Then out walked Asger, he started taking apart his drum kit with a roadie. We thought we would wait a bit and let him do his thing. Several minute later Mads had come out as well.
I asked Mads for the his signature first because Asger still looked busy and he was really cool, he decided to just sit down with us to enjoy a beer and talk a bit about the tour, how long we've been listening, where we came from etc. such a nice person. Henke later walked out remembering me from the previous night and we talked a bit more. At this point I had all 3 signatures on both albums but I was missing one.
I then said to Mads "Hey man, is there any way I could get Kasper to sign these?" He put his hand on my shoulder, and said "Absolutely." walking me to their backstage room in the basement of the Mercury Lounge. Next thing I know, i'm in a smoke filled room having a great one on one chat with my biggest inspiration. Kasper seemed very interested to hear about my own album which I had given him a copy of the night before, and I again was insisting that they come out to Toronto. He said to his manager "We should play Toronto." the manager replied "On this Tour??" Kasper said "haha no I don't think so. But we should play Toronto."
Next thing I know Erik had made his way down backstage as well. We finished our beers and then all got told to leave from security because the Venue was closing, I do remember him saying something like "Man you Europeans love to smoke!" It was a very small room and we were pretty much all smokers. All of that would have been good enough for me, but somehow it got even better.
On our way out, my friend Erik said to Kasper "So what are you guys up to now? I'd love to buy you a beer". Kasper told us they were going to go to a bar called 2A and invited us to come along. So we did, and at this point I was past being star struck and more than anything just loving great conversation and Drinks with our favourite band. They are such great people and as you can imagine as a musician I had so many questions and just to have the opportunity to get all these inside stories and answers to questions that had been on my mind for what seemed like forever really was a dream come true. One moment that I thought was really cool was when I offered to buy Kasper a drink and he said "Let me get you one instead, thanks so much for coming all the way out for this."
In life, when moments or opportunities like this arise be sure to always say yes. Be sure Enjoy them, and go with the flow (even if you leave a bar at 4am when you have a 7:30 am flight back to Toronto) because you will remember moments like these for the rest of your life. I think we all agreed, that was our favourite trip that any of us had ever taken