Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trowar Report In Photos

Here is the obligatory wing shot. This particular shot
is the Indianapolis to Charlotte (NC) leg of the flight.  From there it was
Charlotte to Seattle.  I was in the air something like six hours total;
not a big deal unless you took the 5:15 am flight like I did.  Factor that in
with the fact that I went to bed at 10 PM, got up at 1 and was on
the road by 2 AM and that kind of adds up.  I really can't get comfortable
enough on planes to sleep, so it was a bit gruelling at times.  Still
I knew this was the deal going into it and I didn't really
mind.  I actually like getting up early.  The only truly shitty part of
the flight is when I provoked the righteous fury of one of the attendants
because the door to the overhead storage would close due
to my carry on.  After berating in front of the other passengers at the ass
end of the plane (where I was sitting), she actually got on the intercom
to point out the error of my ways.  Holy shit she was pissed.  For
the record, it was US Airways.   All of their attendants seemed really
put out for having to do stuff that is a part of their job.
Fred and I rehearsed for a day before John came up.  As usual, the rehearsals were really long and very focused, which I've come to expect/prefer.  I got to try the new (used) Ampeg SVT-350 they purchased for me.  I really like it a lot.  I want to spend more time with it figuring out my sound, but I was happy with what I was able to eke out of it with little/no time for knob tweaking.  There are several jacks on the back, and I'm not sure if I had connected the head to the speakers for maximum quality/volume, but as I said:  everything was adequate.  I don't have to fight near as much to be as loud as the other two.
(Left to Right)  Sade and new bass rig.  They complimented
each other just fine.  It was loud enough, though
ultimately I aspire to Entwhistle levels of volume.
Anyway, the rehearsals were extremely helpful and went pretty smooth.  Fred has been concentrating a lot on becoming a better singer.  We're deciding that excellent vocals would be the best way to differentiate ourselves from other bands.  When you couple that with Fred's amazing soloing talents and John's extraordinarily creative drumming, I think we can really stand out.

Our first gig was on a Thursday was at El Corazon, an appropriately dumpy place in an appropriately dumpy section of Seattle for rock and roll venue.  There were five of us - the manager Chris Wilhite, Fred's son Cole, us Trowarriors and all of our gear in Chris's Ford F-350 crew cab.  Within 10 mins of getting on the road for the 40 minute commute, we fell into a deep silence.  I can't speak for the others, but I really wanted to make sure my head was in the right place for this first gig.  I suspect they were going through the same thing.  At some point, Cole (who by the way is a very, very cool dude) busted out his phone and started playing a Gap Band play list.  Oddly, this was perfect pregig music as we all arrived at the venue in energetic and great spirits.
El Corazon used to be known as the Off Ramp.
Allegedly this is where bands like Pearl Jam,
Soundgarden and Nirvana cut their teeth.  Just like
everyone in south central Indiana has a John Mellencamp
story, I suspect the same is true for Seattle and
the huge bands that came from there in the 1990s.  Which
is to say I have no idea if those bands ever played
here or not.

Fliers inside El Corazon.  Is it me, or at we at an extreme
cultural low for band names?  "Fungal Abyss"?
"Destruction of a King"?  Fucking terrible even if the bands
are awesome.

Another prerequisate shot: the bathroom.

When we arrived, we unloaded our gear into the back room.  We were excited -a huge, high stage in a huge, high room.  I had visions of 200-300 people; my only goal was to turn the place into rubble.  The hilarious part came when the dude came and told us that section was locked off for the night; that we'd be playing in the front up by the street facing window.  We learned more:  we'd get 30 minutes to play, and this was an all ages show, which meant all bands had to be wrapped up at 11 PM.

We were second the second band to get up there.  We ended up playing for 45 minutes, which was nice.  In a nutshell, it went very well.  We were tight.  We left jaws on the floor.  After the last song - which is a slower, more hypnotic song - there was 3 seconds of silence before the place kinda blew up. The crowd, consisting mainly of high school/early college/middle school kids and their parents and girlfriends, was very enthusiastic.  I had lots of well wishers coming up and wanting to know more about us.  One dude even bought me a Guinness and introduced me to a buncha people he was with.  We left with a very warm feeling. It wasn't a perfect show, but we were encouraged by the excitement we had generated.

The next night, we were off to tiny Carnation, Washington, to Pete's Tavern.  This gig did not go as well.  Let me be clear:  the crowd that was there really liked it, it's just that we knew better. I didn't play as precisely as I needed to.  The only way to play better and to recover from errors is to know the songs inside and out, backwards and forwards.  The PA was abysmal.  There was nothing there when we arrived and the sound man was on vacation.  The owner of the venue called in someone else, who literally cobbled something together (he was asking to borrow cords from us if memory serves me correctly).  There was one mic, meaning I couldn't add my wonderful harmonies.  There was no sound check.  The dude working the PA set it up and disappeared.  We couldn't find him. We had to hope there was no feedback or one of us would have to jump off stage to fix it.  Fred's vocals were mangled by a shitty wire or something.  His singing crackled through the speakers, an indicator of a possible bad cord.  As a result, he really strained to sing loud yet in control.  It was futile - nothing he could've done would've made the singing sound right.  The whole situation was cause for a tense ride home.  We really had a pretty animated discussion about that gig.  The good news was that there were ten text messages on Chris's phone from the owner.  He wanted us back badly.  The bad news for him is I suspect we won't be back.

Pete's Tavern, a favorite among bikers and other assorted riff-raff.
And I mean "riff raff" affectionately.
Our last gig was at Eastside Harley-Davidson.  We were a part of their eighteenth birthday celebration.  There were hot rods, choppers, a zip line and this tractor with three giant super charged Hemis.  There were door prizes, free drinks and food from Acapulco Fresh.  And I'm sure that any of those fine folks at Eastside Harley-Davidson would've been happy to talk to you about a new or certified used Harley-Davidson.  Anyway, the crowds were large and steady throughout the day.  Needless to say, we had a healthy nervousness going into this gig, but a great sound man and sound system is about half the battle.  We had a blast and were right back on top of our game.  In terms of precision, this was one of my best gigs.  Fred's vocals were fine and as usual, his solos would melt your face or whatever the kids are saying for "awesome" these days.  John, as usual, is a fucking monster on the drums.  I say this all the time; but if you could hear him play, I'm positive you'd reach the same conclusion.  We played two 45 minute sets about two hours apart.  Both sets ruled.

The set up.

Fred changing and tuning a string between sets.  He's gotten a
new Ibanez that is pretty sweet.  I'm kinda turning into a fan
of some of Ibanez's premium guitars.  They sound clean, are fast as
hell and very comfortable.

Promotional shiznat hanging inside the dealership.

It was tempting in this gig to be some what bummed that we couldn't pull people into the tent.  We sounded great, but the jalapeno eating contest drew more folks than we did.  We also felt goofy when asked to wrap up a set because they were going to fire up that fucking tractor.
Why, God, why?  Who would ever need to plow a
field with three super charged Hemis?

But really, people weren't there for us.  There were plenty of distractions that we had to compete with.  I think it has to do with the mindset of people who are coming out - they're there for a motorcycle sale.  And free burritos.  And the zip line.  I do believe we made a very good impression though it may have been difficult to tell.  I know that organizers were absolutely delighted with us, and that's great.  Ultimately, they're the ones who sign the pay check.

1 comment:

  1. My brother is a rock star!!! Awesome (or whatever the kids are saying) stuff! Thanks for sharing.