Monday, February 13, 2012

Report: Trowar's First Gig

 Well, Trowar played our first ever gig this past Saturday.  I'd say all and all, I'd rate our performance at a 7; to put it in terms of a report card, I'd give it a C.  There were things that were promising, but we were pretty sloppy.  There are lots of rough edges to work out.  Oddly, we're still pretty happy with how things went.

Back stage door.  No groupies to be had

There was great graffiti everywhere.
The hand stamp for reentry reads "Go Get Your Cancer",
a reference to the most common reason
for leaving the venue.

Here's the tickets we were supposed to sell. 
Note the hilarious typo for our name. 
There's our Spinal Tap Stone Henge moment for this gig.
We played first because we sold the least tickets.  It was a "battle of the bands"-type thing, but we didn't stick around to see who won.  When we played, it was mostly other bands watching us as no one else had shown up yet.  They were very nice and very supportive despite our missteps.  Most of the bands seemed to be comprised of white, middle class, high school kids with very good manners. For that reason they reminded me a lot of the folks that ran around the No Bar in Muncie back in the day.  I'd forgotten about close, tribal feeling those happenings generated.  It was cool to see that that vibe is still alive and well. 

Sade (bass) stands in front of the rig
I borrowed for this gig - an
ancient Yamaha amp.

The Emerson itself is a dump, and I actually man that as a compliment.  Whoever owns it is riding it hard into the sunset as I don't think a single improvement has been made to that space in years.  Graffiti covered walls and scuffed/broken drywall somehow gave the club the appropriate amount of grit.  The staff there really had there shit together, herding bands through set up and take down with clear directions and a kind - but firm - hand.  Throughout the night (at least when we were there) things pretty much ran on time.  Unheard of for most rock shows it seems.

Here is the summary of our performance, starting with the bad:
  • We frequently lost each other.  The sound man was not at fault; the acoustics of the Emerson are abysmal.  All I could hear of the guitar was a loud, sustained noise.  Chord changes were hard to pick up and as a result, we found ourselves lingering in certain sections of the song a bit too long until we were all together again.  While we were up there, I thought it was probably my fault somehow.  I felt much better hearing how muddy all the other bands were.  Plenty of volume, NO definition.
  • Rookie mistakes - at least for me.  I even stepped on my cable at one point during a song, forcing it to come unplugged.  There's no graceful way to cover up that error.  I just had to smile and move on after I plugged it back in.
  • The Emerson conjures up memories
    of New Orleans after Katrina.

  • Not sticking to song structures.  This was in part due to the acoustics issue, but also in part due to our doing our best to try and raise a song up to a higher intensity.  Normally this works for us, but not this go round.
The good:
  • My playing was fairly solid when I wasn't lost.  I got a few compliments and even overheard another compliment in a nearby McDonald's when I went over to get a Coke.  It was a father talking to his sons.  He said that the bass player (me) and really the whole band were pretty good, but our sound was just "MWAUGGGH" - a pretty fair assessment really.  I didnt' feel too bad about that for the aforementioned reasons.
  • My thought about our songs is that the riff heavy songs - of which most of them are - would carry the day.  I was right: when we locked into these riffs, we really had people moving.  Well, the few people that were in front of the stage anyway.  So the songs WILL work; we just need to tighten up.
  • Fred getting tuned up.
  • This first gig met all of our expectations, from crowd size to our actual execution.  We left this gig realizing we have much to do, but feeling better about having one gig under the belt.

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