Monday, April 12, 2004

Before I relay this past weekend’s shows and how they went, let me explain what went on with the on again/off again show at the Hi-Fi on Friday (April 9th).

About two months ago, I was contacted by an Indiana band, Cyanotic, who were looking to book a gig in Cleveland. Since I was already thinking about getting together a spring show, I added one more band and approached the club with the bill of: Cyanotic, Subliminal Self & The House of Sectionals. They were interested and offered me an April 9th date. After talking with the band and their management, we accepted and moved forward with promoting the show. Things were going along smoothly until one week before the show. I got an e-mail from Cyanotic’s manager saying that, though Subliminal Self was listed on the Hi-Fi’s website, none of the other bands were. I contacted the club about the discrepancy and was told that, apparently, they decided to make the night a cd giveaway party and that, though they kept my band, they dropped the others. Of course, up until this point, nobody had told me. I let the club know this, as well as the fact that I would not perform unless, at least, Cyanotic were added back onto the bill. They agreed and the show was back on, kind of. There were now 6 bands scheduled to perform that night.

On Friday, Greyson and I (along with Greyson’s mother and girlfriend, Beth) showed up at the club for load-in/soundcheck. Immediately, I was pulled aside by a member of another band performing that night, who was helping run the club for a bit. He laid down the situation. Because the event was now overbooked, we had two choices: one, we could play the front stage and go on at about 8:00pm or two, he had brought along a second PA system and we could play the back stage and go on at 10:30. At this point, the 8 o’clock hour was approaching and, since neither the people who were coming to see us or the other band were there yet, I opted for the later hour. The way it would work is this: the stages would be staggered. So, as one band finished, the other would immediately start. This would allow both stages their time and still have everyone be able to perform their set. Everyone wins, right? Well, no.

As 10:30 rolls around, Cyanotic shows up and starts loading in. We were already setup and ready to go, so as the other stage’s music ended, we launched into our set. Oh, perhaps I should have mentioned this: all of the other bands were metal/thrash/hair bands. These were not people interested in sissy synthesizer music. So, our response was decidedly..underwhelming. More accurately, because of the apathy of the audience and the really low volume of the second PA system (which turns out to be nothing more than a glorified practice PA), it went badly. The only golden light of the performance was the awesome support from our friends and family. (Big thanks to Adam, Lauren, Anne, Eric, Dave, my Dad, Sally & my aunt Charity for coming out, despite the confusion!) After a merciless set where we could hear the audience more than ourselves, we got offstage. As the other stage started, Cyanotic began to setup. (sn.1) Unfortunately, technical difficulties with their setup resulted in them going on later than expected. Since the event was so tightly booked, this also meant their set had to be shorter, way shorter. Think about 15 minutes. They were, needless to say, pissed. (sn.2) They finished their set and all parties headed out. At this point, I’d been up since 5am and I promptly crashed for the night.

The next day was the show in South Bend, once again with Cyanotic. (sn.3)

The trip into town was pretty uneventful. We made good time and, along with the time change (they are one hour behind Cleveland), we arrived at about 4pm, a full two hours before we needed to be at the club. Before we sought out something to occupy ourselves in the meantime, we scoped out the location of the club. As we approached it, our hearts sank. The club was located in a semi-sketchy part of town and, from the outside, looked like an old run-down church hall, which is exactly what it turned out to be. Determined to press on, despite the now bleak outlook, we walked around town, waiting for the doors to open. On the upside, I grabbed some an *excellent* chorizo torta in a Mexican Taqueria/ Grocery Store. The place was almost triple the size of my dear Mi Pueblo grocery story. Yea, I was also the only gringo in the whole joint, but it's not like I really needed to know any Spanish to be able to get some food. The torta was huge and stuffed with queso fresco, tomatoes, chorizo and a very liberal amount of cilantro (which might be why I liked it so much) and served with a side of picante salsa to spice things up. I grabbed a pastry to round it out and still only walked out of there $4.00 poorer. (I'm now in a state of depression that this amazing site of Mexican products is so far away.) By the time we’d finished dinner, the club was open and the first act was loading in.

The first band of the night was called Peace Patrol. A group of seemingly 15-year-old kids, they played a set of tight punk (oxymoron that it is). Though the music was solid, the crowd didn’t raise our hopes any. Disaffected punk kids are no more our core audience than the metalheads of the previous night. I was starting to wonder what we had done wrong to end up with this string of bad luck. (sn.4) The first band ended at 8:30 and, as the crowd wandered around, we tried to find out what was going on next. Sean from Cyanotic showed up about this time and let us know that we’d be going on last and that they expected a great crowd later on in the night. This assumption was shortly countered by the club owner’s fear that, though more people might come later, they’d lose the ones that were there now. So, they wanted someone to go on at 9:00pm. Well, since we were already setup (sn.5), we agreed.

Taking the stage, the tension of the night went to work…in the form of an absolutely killer performance. Greyson was spot-on, nailing an energetic stage show unlike any I’ve never seen out of him. I was making my share of mistakes, but the whole of it was synching like spy watches. Shoot, I even talked to the audience, something I usually shy away from. I only wish we had the forethought to tape it. As it is, we did get some awesome pictures from Beth (which will be posted later). As we got off the stage, the night got even better. We not only sold some cd's, but also made a bit of cash off of the door. The latter of which was a first for us. I'm proud to say that, after deducting gas and expenses, we made a whole $3.00 each. $3.00!! Who said that you can't make money doing music? ;) We also got a tour of the place c/o the club owner. Through in serious need of repair, the other areas of the club were freggin *awesome*. I mean, I'm talking an expansive living room/bar, a commercial sized kitchen, a music studio w/ a sound proof room, a bowling alley. Let me repeat that last one. A BOWLING ALLEY! Yup, Club Cackle is also the home of an operational, stocked, 4-lane bowling alley. The club owner invited us to come back and perform anytime we'd like. Providing we can get a corresponding gig in Chicago, we most definitely will. I have to say, this show made up for the crappy gig the night before. The club owner and soundman were great, we put on our best show to-date and, shoot, I got some good food. Definitely a big thumbs up. (sn.6) We ended up driving back that night and crashed at about 4am. Rock n' Roll.

What else happened that weekened?
My Dad & Sally came by on Thursday night. I made some of my patented sweet & spicy pasta. He also brought with him a computer for me. This baby has like twice the specs of my current one. -nice- I only wish I had some time during the weekend to start loading the current system's software on it. But, no such luck. Either way, it was a very cool night.

Oh, I also picked up a small practice guitar. It's an old Stella Harmony (Mine looks exactly like the model to the right, except it doesn't have the white part)

Once again, sending thanks out to:
Greyson, Beth, Boyd (Club Cackle), Soundman (Club Cackle - name slips me), Sean (Cyanotic), Drew (Cyanotic), Beth, Greyson's mum, my dad, Sally, my aunt Charity, Lauren, Adam, Eric, Anne, Dave & all the others who came to the show!