Psychedelic Rock and Tammy’s Lunch Box: A Small City’s Big Eclipse Plans

There were five cars in the crowded driveway, one for each of the young men in the cramped basement running through their band’s new songs. Their last real gig was on New Year’s Eve, and now it was late March. The keyboard player was keeping an eye on the time because he had to get to a piano lesson soon. He’s the teacher.

Here in Plattsburgh, N.Y., people seem set in their ways with music. If only the psychedelic rock band could break through. Just one right-place, right-time, honest-to-God show where newcomers might actually hear their stuff.

And suddenly, there they are, in the emphatically, improbably, shockingly right place — Plattsburgh — at precisely and cosmically the right time, when the moon is projected to pass across the face of the sun in a perfect eclipse.

And their band, Ursa and the Major Key, has been chosen to perform April 8 as the opening act.

“We’re making sure to breathe,” said Nelson Moore, 28, the band’s drummer, adding: “I sometimes get a little bit of stage fright.”

The crowd size remains a guess. “I’ve heard people say get gas, or get stocked up on food,” said his brother, Eli Moore, 25, a vocalist. “This could be something.”

The eclipse’s path of totality looks like a sash across the United States, stretching from its shoulder to its opposite hip, with countless towns and citizens holding viewing parties large and small, in parks and on mountaintops and in backyards. Plattsburgh, population 20,000 and smack in that path, is bracing for several times that number of tourists.

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