Birthdays Like This

This one goes out to… the friend who drove Michael Stipe from his own party, by asking if he didn’t agree that The Replacements are the greatest American band of all time.

If you’re going to have to get older each year, you may as well celebrate the fact with a party. And if you’re going to take on managing a rock band as you get older, with the ludicrous amount of work it entails, you may as well get that band to play your party and make you feel special. Last night, the stars aligned nicely when Radio 4 performed an invite-only show at their record company’s offices to celebrate the impending release of their album Enemies Like This and, what with all the free food and drink and many many friends who came along (some at my invitation, but plenty whom I did not necessarily expect to see), I got to have the best birthday party in years. Thanks to Anthony for announcing the fact to the whole wide world and to the Astralwerks people for the cake.

It helped that the group played a superb set. (Would that we could do all shows with only a vocal PA.) It didn’t help that it was over at 9pm, which left FAR too many hours of partying ahead. We took ourselves over to a party under a Spanish restaurant on 34th Street, where Michael Stipe, my upstate “neighbor” Grasshopper from Mercury Rev and Sam from Interpol were celebrating a musical collaboration at some art event or other with their own open bar and a suitably illustrious crowd. A quick Capairinha at the Essex Street Lounge and we finished off the night at The Annex, a new music club on Orchard Street where Tiswas now takes place on Saturday nights and other Paul from Interpol can occasionally be heard DJing. I hesitate to guess what time I finally got my head down at a friend’s place in Greenpoint; what I do know is their phone alarm went off at 7:30am and continued going off every five minutes until I got up, found the culprit and stuck it in the fridge.

I’m out of practice at this sort of thing. (Partying, that is, not putting Blackberries in the fridge.) You have to believe that I’m usually tucked in by midnight these days and at my desk by 9am every morning. The truly scary aspect of it all is that I used to pull those kind of long, star-studded, open-bar-hopping nights three or four times a week. It’s good to know they’re still there to tap into when I feel the pull of the big bad city. It’s just as good to know I no longer have the temptation on my doorstep.


You can hear Radio 4’s new single ‘Enemies Like This’ at the group’s myspace page. The single and album of the same name are both out in the States on May 16, ‘Enemies Like This’ the single is out in the UK on June 5, followed by the album on June 19. The group will be playing France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain, the UK and Greece in May and June. They will then be touring the States through June and into July. Full dates here.

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October 2021