Iron Horse October 16, 2010

posted September 29, 2010

ANNUAL NIELDS IRON HORSE SHOW!!! Saturday October 16th at 7pm.

ANNUAL NIELDS IRON HORSE SHOW!!! Saturday October 16th at 7pm.

Hello friends and Happy Fall.

I must say that this is the first year in a LONG time that I have not resented the hell out of the fall. I so love summer in New England that I am always sad about it. Maybe it’s the fact that we had a really long summer this year thanks to a hot June; maybe it’s the fact that I got to see a majestic Moose crossing the road this week; maybe it’s the fact that Monarch butterflies chose OUR front yard to lay their eggs, live their caterpillar lives and spin their crysalides(I looked that up); or maybe it is the fact that my son, having started Kindergarten, is as cheerful as I have ever known him to be. No matter why, everyone’s favorite season in New England is finally also mine. Though the leaves are different than usual owing to the drought, they are no less beautiful this year. I tell you this because I am attempting to lure you here. You really should come. It’s gorgeous and better than that, Nerissa and I are planning our annual Iron Horse show.

Some of our very favorite musical memories happened at the Iron Horse. Three of our cds include material recorded live in this magical space. Two of them were recorded entirely in this our beloved hometown club. We moved to this Pioneer Valley in large part because of this club. People all over the country are always telling us that they dream of making it to Northampton for a show in that hallowed room. Well, folks, now is the time. But I am guessing you are wondering about those famed musical memories. Here are my top 5:

1. Our first headline show at the Iron Horse in June of 1992. We had only played the open mic. We were as green as anyone could ever be. We were given the amazing opportunity to play a free show on that stage by the founder of the club, Jordi Herold. Nerissa made us the best press kit out of our two measly pieces of press and wrote us a fabulous bio and included photos taken of us by one of our students at the time. She sent it to every newspaper in western Massachusetts and some of them chose to print it. We plastered the town with posters and told all of our fans in Connecticut to come. We expected about 25 people if we were VERY lucky. 165 came. I will never forget the sound of their feet above our heads as we sat in the dressing room, incredulous. We played the best show of our lives up to that point and danced around the dressing room afterwards, happy, oh so happy. And then we knew that we might actually be allowed to do this thing again. After that, Jordi let us open for Cheryl Wheeler and Vance Gilbert. And a beautiful relationship was formed between the Nields and the Iron Horse.

2. One snowy night in January, we were scheduled to play two sold out shows. The first show was exciting and joyful. But during the encore, the electricity went out. We did something off mic and expected that everything would be fine in a few minutes. The audience carefully left and Eric Suher came up to us and said, “there is a line all the way down the block for the second show and the power company has no idea when they’ll be able to get the power back on. What should we do?” We were a 5 piece band. And only three of us had instruments that worked without amplification. So Dave drove to Hatfield to pick up acoustic guitars at Nerissa’s house. We figured we do 3-4 songs and be done. But when we started to play, we realized that it could be better than amplified sound. The room was lit by a candle on every table and several candles on the stage itself. We sang without mics, Dave Hower played drums with brushes, Dave Chalfant, David Nields and Nerissa all played acoustic guitars. Without a sound system we were not even tied to the stage. We hung off the rafters; we swung from the metal balcony; we joined the audience on the floor as we sung our hearts out. When the electricity came on halfway through the show, the audience all shouted to leave it off. We did. The Iron Horse could handle it.

3. In March of 2001, when I was 32 weeks pregnant with my first child, we took over the Iron Horse for our second set of two shows that we were recording for Live From Northampton. Recording was wonderful, but I had not accounted for how difficult it was going to be to play guitar for “Snowman”! We worked it out, but I am guessing that the Dec version of “Snowman” was the one included on the live CD. The CD (“Live From Northampton”) was the last recording the 5 piece Nields ever recorded. It remains our ode to our favorite club in the world, filled with the best fans on the planet.

4. On a terrible day in 1995, we did what we thought might be our last Iron Horse show. Jordi Herold had sold his beloved club to Jo and Craig, two very nice people who, that day, told us they could no longer afford to run it. Everyone said that whoever bought it would turn it into a run-of-the-mill rock club with nothing but cover bands. But then Eric Suher bought it and protected it and preserved the amazing musical treasure that it remains today. This is one of my favorite musical memories because I was so very grateful that night for what the club had given me- both as a performer and as a member of the audience. This club is a community center, and we are so lucky to have it in our Valley.

5. Then there are the times when we were in the audience: Michelle Shocked in 1993 from the third row, Fleming and John- one of the coolest bands EVER. Google them. You will not regret it, Moxy Fruvous so many times, but particularly one night when a couple got engaged. We saw The Story in 1992 playing on a stage crowded by the set for Daniel Lanois; Ollabelle in 2003–one of Nerissa and Tom’s very first dates; Ben Demerath and Dave Chalfant and Tracy Grammer and Jim Henry- Dave sang! The Roches- from the balcony. I almost died when they did “Hammond Song;” Suzanne VEga when Nerissa was a couple of days away from giving birth to Johnny. Northern Lights when Katryna was a couple of hours away from giving birth to William… and so many more, too many to count. This place is like no other. Come sit in the audience and sing with us. It won’t happen again for a WHOLE YEAR!

So there. Come to our show. We like you and we want you to be there!

Love, Katryna & Nerissa

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  1. Wow, you were at that The Story show too?? woj and I were on the floor near the stage, what an amazing show that was.

    Aside from your “blizzard show”, my second-most treasured Iron Horse memory is seeing Tori Amos for the very first time, in April of 1992. “Little Earthquakes” had only just come out and I don’t think the show was sold out. We met and talked with her downstairs and it was one of the coolest nights ever. 🙂

  2. Bought my tickets (for myself and my sister Melanie) today!

    I have a recording of that Fruvous engagement show if you ever want it. 10/30/1998. 😀 It might be up on by now, too.

    I saw Ollabelle there, too, but any memory of what they sang was seared out of my memory by the white-hot Grace Potter & The Nocturnals who opened for them. :)I would have loved to have seen the Roches there as I, too, love Hammond Song thanks to WXPN playing it somehow related to you. I love that on the Live from World Cafe disc, they get so intense that they overload the mics.

    I have so many memories of gorgeous IH performances by y’all that they all blend together, from aerobic dance floor shows to quietly weeping at the beauty of Easy People to thinking that surely Katryna is going to step off the stage onto the center front row table. Can’t wait to see more in a few weeks.

  3. Oh, how I love an Iron Horse show!! I think every one is my favorite, but it was the perfect spot to celebrate my 30th. I am sad to miss this one. Maybe next year 😉

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