Sunday, May 4, 2008

Well, the weekend...

This past Friday, our band played at a place called The Rock & Roll Grill, an all-ages non-alcoholic club in the heart of Downtown. Gina (my lovely wife) had dropped me off at the place (actually, in the $10.00 parking lot at the end of the block) and I took out my equipment and shambled over. I'd met Mitch (our singer) at the door and proceeded to go in, and the doorman (whom I later found out was part-owner) stopped me and asked, as I attempted to simultaneously drag my bass amp, bass guitar, and gig bag into the 'venue' (more on that later) "Are you with a band?" I thought it was funny, actually. I chuckled a d told him, "Stifler's Mom", and Mitch corroborated my statement. So I went in (got my hand stamped, though maybe that occurred before I left to forage for food), took my equipment downstairs (with Mitch and his son Ian helping out), and surveyed the area. Yes, we were playing downstairs (The R&R G has 2 stages - upstairs and downstairs - and Stifler's Mom had the downstairs area). Let me give you a little more background on the type of gig this was. This was a benefit for a couple of organizations called Sick Gurlz and Sox Place, charities that help street kids. The name of the event itself was 'Punk's Alive', and was supposed to be an 8-band event, with an $8 cover charge, which I thought was going to charity...When I got there, I'd noticed that the cover charge was $10...not $8 as originally agreed upon, but $10. So we went downstairs with my stuff. Evidently, the place was an old speakeasy back in the good ol' days, w/the metal doors and everything. Evidently, the place hadn't been swept since the end of Prohibition. Evidently, the stage for the bands was 'constructed' that afternoon. More on that later. No, really.
Anyway, I got my equipment situated, and went to go eat. I came back, and the place was starting to fill up. As I'd stated before, this is an all-ages non-alcoholic venue. This means that the majority of the patrons were ages 10-16. I felt like a chaperone. Now, the event was supposed to start at 7:30, but didn't get going until about 8:15 or so. Fair enough - a lot of shows start late, no big deal. Gina had shown up at about 9 ish or so with our friend Holly, who uses forearm crutches to get around. Going downstairs was a real treat for her, I'm sure (there was no elevator, and the stairs themselves were a bit rickety, and the handrail wasn't connected at the top - only at the bottom and the middle), but she managed. They caught the band 'Ill Will', who came on right before us (both 'Ill Will' and 'Fulcrum', the first band to play downstairs, were awesome). So then we went up. I started putting my stuff on the stage, and I notice it's made of particle board. I really didn't think about it - I just was taping my cords down and trying to get set up. So we started ("Ace of Spades") and things seemed to go fairly smoothly, but after that first song, my amp cut out. No sound from it whatsoever. So...we ran my bass through the PA system the place had down there, and we soldiered on...well, by the fourth or fifth song, my foot went right through the stage. I should point out at this point that we are a fairly energetic band and that we jump around a lot on stage. Well, I guess I hit the weak spot on the stage. My foot went right through. For a split second I thought I had to go to the emergency room, but I took a brief assessment of the situation, and, since I felt no wrenching pain (only the slightest twinge), I figured I was okay. So I kept playing (our guitarist Mike, in fact, joined me in the hole for a brief time). We went on with our set, and I noticed that the space in front of the hole was rather weak as well. It was particle board, and ready to fall apart. Needless to say, the hole just bigger (I'm a big guy, and we're a high energy act - what can I say?), and then we ended. Right away, I knew there would be trouble because the doorman (1/2 owner) started asking about 'What happened? Who did this?" Well, we tried to explain what went on as far as my falling through the stage, etc., but he didn't care. Evidently, there was another plank on the stage that was supposed to cover up that whole weak spot. Well, there was a plank, but it wasn't covering much up - it evidently had gotten moved off to the side as each band got on, played, and got off the stage. By the time we got on, it was just there, a bit in the way (no one told us what its purpose was until afterwards, and no one from the venue felt it necessary to check to make sure it hadn't gotten loose - again, until afterwards). So the guy starts taking pictures of the hole w/his cell phone, as do the other employees. And he starts rumbling about, 'Well, we need to take care of this', etc. At one point, Gina had offered to go to Home Depot to buy them some particle board, and he said, "That's not the point!" He was all concerned about who had moved that second plank. As if a plank of wood/particle board, improperly affixed and secured, could withstand four hours of punk rock bands...No, punchy, I think the point is that you had a stage made out of PARTICLE BOARD, covered by planks of wood/particle board that looked that they'd been haphazardly screwed into the stage to begin with...I very well could have broken my leg on that ramshackle construction; THAT'S the point! Anyway, we just left. I mean, the whole band just left. Fuck all that, anyway...I'd later found out that the ladies from the charities had shown up and the bouncer/owner had wanted them to pay full cover. Needless to say, they left. Hell, they even wanted to make Mitch pay for his son! I think it's safe to say that we'll never play there again. Of course, I was worried that some trouble would come out of it (Gina took a chunk of the 'stage' with her; partly as a souvenir, partly as 'Exhibit A', just in case), so I didn't get much sleep over it. Saturday was a better day over all - I hung out at home, and in the evening Gina and I went to go see Margaret Cho at the Paramount Theatre. We took the light rail, and got there in plenty of time. Her opening act, Ian Harvie, was born a woman but feels like he was born in the wrong body. Needless to say, he struck a comedic goldmine with his routine. Funny as hell. As, of course, was Margaret Cho. Afterwards, we went to The Rock Bottom Bar & Grill and had food & libations (beer & nachos), then went home. On the light rail. I love the light rail...today we went for Indian food and shopped for groceries...that's it for this weekend, I suppose - if I think of anything else, I'll let ya know...

1 comment:

Holly said...

The Spinal Tap Children's Festival was definitely interesting. The thing is, despite the comedy or errors...you guys sounded really good.

I especially love that you didn't miss a note when you fell into the hole in the stage! :)