Sidewalk Cafe…

Sidewalk Cafe Poster

Our first show in the NYC. Sophia & Neal took the stage at The Sidewalk Cafe in the East Village on October 13, 2011 – the first of four acts for the evening and the only one to play before a full house. We played our whole set – including “October” – but left out “Lush Despair” because somebody…er, uh…neglected to put it on the set list. It was a great show before an enthusiastic crowd speckled with friends. So what if it felt like we were playing played a million miles an hour? We’d hit the stage in the BIG CITY and survived!

In the Pines…

So, here’s how the story of our In the Pines appearance goes: Sophia sent our EP to her friend Josh, then the drumming for the punk trio I’m Better Now. Josh listened to it once and called his friend Steven Clair: “You have to put Laminated Menu on the line up at In the Pines.” A few weeks later, on July 16, 2011, Sophia & Neal were on stage at the Theatre at the University Settlement Camp in Beacon, opening the show for a handful of bands including I’m Better Now, The Nelsonvillians, Robbers on High Street, The Erin Hobson Compact and Schwervon! The audience was small but supportive, especially Major Matt Mason and Nan Turner, the guitarist and drummer, respectively, of Schwervon!, who encouraged us to approach The Sidewalk Cafe in Manhattan for a gig.  Four months later we were on stage there, too.

Music on the Squares…

Over the summer of ’11, Sophia & Neal did a few sidewalk performances on Main Street in Beacon, NY, including two Music on the Squares. We opened for The Lonely at the first, playing our whole set for a well-attended performance right across the street from the Yankee Clipper Diner. For the second, we opened for The Edukated Fleas, a ukelele swing duo, and attracted our first-ever air guitar-slinging audience member, who followed his performance with a request for Ave Maria. 

We also played the Beacon Car Show on Main Street, if for no other reason than to cross “play a car show” off our to-do list. The set sounded great.

Listening Room…

On May 13, 2010, Laminated Menu hit the big time for the first time with a Listening Room appearance at Whistling Willie’s in Cold Spring. We were one of three openers on bill and were able to squeeze in three songs before the featured act. The organizer, Kathleen Pemble, billed us as “NoBro Intelli-Pop” – not bad. Of note: Our future drummer, Candace Cole, was in the audience. So was our future producer, Greg Remillard, who commented on the shades of Velvet Underground he hear in our music. Here’s the photo we snapped for the poster:

Laminated Menu

Our Legendary Open-Mic Performance…

On February 17, 2010, Sophia & Neal took a stage as Laminated Menu for the first time, playing “I Like You,” “Boom” and “Surprise Ending” – on Open-Mic Night at Whistling Willie’s in Cold Spring. It was Neal’s first time on stage ever. More than a dozen friends & family showed up to cheer us on, and Kathleen Pemble, a talented singer/songwriter who ran the Open-Mic Night, invited us to play a Listening Room showcase at the bar a few weeks later. We were on our way…


I’m sleepy – Boom! That’s the sound of my head crashing down. It’s creepy, all alone in this godawful town. I’m wondering if the sun is coming up or going down. I’m under the impression it don’t know it’s way around.

Maybe it’s late. Wouldn’t that be great. The stars on my ceiling are glistening.

I dreamed I was on a plane – center seat, center row, center aisle. Surrounded by Jesus freaks smiling impatiently. They told me if I followed they’d lead me up beyond the stars. I told them I was too tired – too tired to go that far.

Maybe it’s late. Wouldn’t that be great. The stars on my ceiling are glistening.

I woke up on a sofa, stretched out on the floor. Whatever, wherever – all’s I remember is being shown the door. I wandered down a darkened street looking for a light. Gotta quit this coma soon, but, baby, not tonight.

Maybe it’s late. Wouldn’t that be great. The stars on my ceiling are glistening.

Sugar Cookie

Used to call me ‘Sugar Cookie’, and I’d answer with a smile. Kick it into neutral, then we’d glide another mile. Used to get there lickety-split, but he didn’t seem to care. As long as there were tree limbs in my hair.

Think I’m over my head.

Used to think that ringlets was the only way to go. Get you in before the crowd, keep you late after the show. I suppose one day I’ll meet his mother. Probably get hit on by his brother. Wonder if those are daggers or colored contacts in his sister’s eyes.

Think I’m over my head. My RPMs are on red. Think I’m over my head.

Thanks so much for your priceless advice, I’ll be back for more tomorrow. Never had a problem begging or stealing, but I sure don’t like to borrow. Ixnay, ergo, s’il vous plait – what language are we speaking today? You bring the means and I’ll bring the passion, and we’ll make our getaway.

Think I’m over my head. Mr RPMs are on red. Think I’m over my head.

00 Drive

He always kept the lights down low, the venetian blinds just so. From daylight to darkness our lives were askew. Now I ask you: What’s a girl supposed to do? Midnight phone calls. Drop-offs and knocks. Plain vanilla envelopes. Swamp water socks. The scar on his forehead. The scab by his eye. I couldn’t help thinking: He must be a spy.

He walked in the bar like a shot on the wind, and he ordered a glass with no ice or no spin. I could tell by his eyes he was up to no good. I could see in his hands he had something to hide. I thought he was a liar but what could I say before he swept, swept, swept, swept, swept me away. So much for my dreams – they were wide as the sky. I just remember thinking: He must be a spy.

It says a lot about my curious nature. I’m so surprised when I consider the facts. I guess it’s a wonder that I got out alive. I just remember thinking: He must be a spy. But…

Oh, could he drive.

The moon went dark as we strolled down the street. And a car rolled up and I was out on my feet. Sometimes I wonder if he thinks about me: If he thought I was blind and I just couldn’t see. The things that he told me just didn’t add up, and now he’s crushed my heart like a Dixie Cup. Now I gotta roll, take a powder and fly.

He must be a spy. He must be a spy. He must be a spy. I really think he is a spy.

Lush Despair

He couldn’t decide, so she went for a ride. Headed south on 9, was she out of her mind. So much for that car. Now she’s counting stars. Counting satellites. Two by two.

She couldn’t care less, so he thought about the caress of another address. Oh, he’ll probably get caught. Maybe he ought to think things through. One by one. Two by two.

It’s like the swirl of an ocean on a radiant day. There’s always something to swim through. The last blush of a dream. Just ask and I’ll scream. And I’ll drag you in, too.

Oh, leave them alone. Let them find their way home. Not caught in a slipstream by the side of the road. Funny how the time, the date, the weather always makes things better.

Call it a draw. Two to two. Two by two. Two to two. Two by two. Two by two.