March 26, 2010
Noveller, a.k.a. Sarah Lipstate, is a one-woman ambient noise/drone project that's been expanding the sonic palates of music lovers everywhere for several years running. Contributor Francesca Tallone gives the first of several diaristic accounts of being on the road with Sarah Lipstate.
I really love rock tours. I can’t play a lick of any instrument, so I live vicariously though friends who can by taking copious pictures or doing merch or sort of knowing what time load-in is, or at the very least providing navigational assistance. So when Sarah Lipstate asked me to accompany her on a mostly-Southern cross-country Noveller tour opening for Xiu Xiu, I was really beside myself with excitement. Sarah left Brooklyn rock band Parts and Labor in mid-2009 to concentrate on Noveller and has been doing some incredible things since. I relish any opportunity to see an amazing musician play a show every night, so I knew this tour was going to be awesome.
Day 1: Atlanta; or, cookie overdose.
We arrived a day early and met up with our friend Chris at the airport, who would also be joining us on the tour. The first thing I noticed upon disembarking the plane into Atlanta was a smoking room. Sarah’s mother had driven up from Louisiana to loan us her car for the tour and we were staying at the luxurious DoubleTree Inn. Have you ever had one of those cookies? They are warm and ridiculous and delicious. I think I ate 3 the first day.
Day 2: Atlanta; or, the day West Egg moved.
Our Atlanta tour guide offered to drive us to breakfast at a place called West Egg and, while visions of Nick Carraway danced in my head, he pointed out some of Atlanta’s greatest sights for us.
“This is the NEW Waffle House, this one is really modern and up to date!”
“This is some traffic.” (There was a lot of traffic.)
West Egg wasn’t where it was supposed to be. It had moved a block and was unmarked. At least it was on the same side of the street, and seemed a bit fancier than the former West Egg, so it was likely to maintain its locational integrity.
Noveller’s first show was at the Drunken Unicorn. It was in a strip mall, next to a pizza place. As can be expected, it had amazing artwork on the walls that you have to see to believe. There we met tourmates Xiu Xiu and Girl In A Coma, and once back at the hotel I ate more cookies. I don’t even like chocolate chip cookies. I vowed to eat nary a cookie the whole rest of tour.
Day 3: Birmingham; or, crickets and guided meditation.
At the Bottletree you get a whole Airstream trailer to yourself! It’s my childhood fantasy to live in an Airstream, so when Sarah told us about it I figured I could finally get it over with. We arrived super early and the club was closed, so we napped in our car, aided by a cricket mp3 on Sarah’s phone and a droning, hypnotic meditation mp3 on Chris’ phone. I think it worked.
It was a TV bonanza Sunday so the crowd was thin, but friends from New York and California who now live in Alabama came to the show. We stayed in Tuscaloosa with my old friend Ally and we spent most of the morning lying in the sun in her backyard.
Day 5: Norman; or, I think I love Oklahoma.
We were all bummed by a bad motel experience in Little Rock, but were able to boost team morale by going bowling. I somehow accidentally won, though Chris is a far superior bowler. The show in Norman was well attended and I very randomly ran into an old acquaintance from New York who was visiting friends. In the morning we got lost looking for the Earth, an amazing organic café, before heading to Dallas.
Day 6: Dallas; or, Shirley is really losing it.
Our navigational system, which we dubbed Shirley, had been having a really hard time acquiring satellites for the past few days, and more than once we’d had to turn her off and follow directions I got using my phone instead. Despite this, we made it to Dallas, narrowly avoiding an oil spill on the highway, and had time to go record shopping before the show. It was our second-to-last date with Girl In A Coma, and in between songs, Jenn from Girl In A Coma gave a shoutout:
“Thanks to Noveller for playing these shows. She’s got a really great voice…when you talk to her.”
All Photos by Francesca Tallone
To hear some tracks by Noveller, hit up her Myspace