Dan's note: A great deal of This Book Is Not for You takes place in Lawrence's Replay Lounge, the best damn bar in America. It's one of my favorite places in the world, like, up there with the Prado, and I'm not fucking kidding, and I'm psyched to do a Lawrence book-release party there on Dec. 1 with the amazing singer-songwriter La Guerre and the great folks from the Raven Bookstore. So in honor of the bar — and with all kinds of gratitude — here are my top five moments at The Replay Lounge:
- For some reason, I remember wearing an actual suit while watching one of the all-too-few shows by the Hardaways, a terrific Lawrence three-piece that used to roll an upright piano in for gigs. The Hardaways were tight and boisterous and a little Ben Foldsy but punchier, and they were great. I loved that band. I loved hearing them at The Replay Lounge.
- As punk-rock theorist Iain Ellis, Adam Powell, and I watched Hot Hot Heat, a woman with a Robert Smith tattoo on her left shoulder stood right in front of us. It was maybe absolutely perfect, the tattoo, the music, the bar, that second of life.
- We used to hold grad student fiction workshops on the Replay's back patio — for one summer at least. I remember reading something amazing by Tasha Haas, talking about it back there. We'd start when the sun was still out. Words and beer carried us into night.
- Late on some other night, I was out on the patio again, but I went in to use the restroom, and the Goners, another bygone Lawrence three-piece, were playing, and the young lead singer with the old-dude croak sang, "That girl's going to break your heart / but it's all right." That's all I've ever heard by The Goners, except for when they played some other song real quick at an after-bars, but a decade and a half later, those two lines still play on their own loop in my head.
- Oh, man, I almost forgot Rainer Maria playing a terrific, longing, ringing set —at a packed all-ages matinee — right in front of the windows, before the Replay even had a proper stage. That was my first actual show there. If you can fall in love with a bar, that's when I fell in love.