Murtaugh’s Law

…I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.

Or, at the very least, too out of shape.  Because I spent about 9-10 hours on my feet yesterday, and holy hell was the last hour uncomfortable.  But, still.  Death metal and all.

(*Aside:  I’m withholding band names here so as not to completely give away where I was last night to the world at large.  If you want to know who was playing, email me and I’ll get specific.  Now, on to the info.)

I did my out-of-office time and things went quite well, actually.  I knocked off a half hour early and got to go home to eat dinner and see my family instead of heading right to the venue.  Very cool.  Well, except for Dys being sick as a dog.  Eesh.  Gotta fix up the guest bed, it looks like, ‘cuz I’m sleeping downstairs for a few nights.

I left a few minutes late to make doors at 6, but I wasn’t too worried.  Worst case scenario, I might miss a tune or two by the opening band.  Didn’t matter much – I’d never heard of anyone except the headliner before anyway.  So no big deal.  As it turned out, when I got there at 6:10 they were still loading amps and drums into the venue through the side door, and nobody was being allowed in.  They finally started letting paper-ticket holders in at about 6:45, while the will-call folks (like yours truly) stood in line and waited a bit longer.  I got inside at about 6:55, thinking “Oh man, this is gonna be a long night.”

How many bands are playing this gig?  First there were 5 listed, then 6, then 5.  It turns out that there were five bands on deck.  For $25 tickets, that works out to $5 per band.  Each had 4 members.  There were maybe 400-500 people present.  Hmm.  Surely the venue and promoter get $15 of that money.  So the five bands, together with all their roadies and sound crew, etc., got a grand total of maybe $5k?  To split 25-30 ways?  Damn.  That’s a hard livin’.

I popped in my earplugs when the music started at 7:05.  The opening band was a local band.  It featured your typical 30+ year old local-death-metal-band vocalist…long stringy hair, goatee, big ol’ beer gut.  Him, and three other guys who looked like they just got off work at Staples or Applebee’s to make the show.  Still, they were decent, particularly one guitarist whose amp was never turned up loud enough (guys, hire a better sound guy?) and the drummer.  The vocalist was clearly having fun, though.  It’s hard being the first on a five-band bill, so give ’em some credit and some slack.  Not bad at all.  (And definitely worth $5.)

After the opening band finished up, I was involuntarily befriended by a guy named Josh.  He starts talking to me, thinking maybe I work at the venue.  (My Yamalube motorcycle oil t-shirt is a dead giveaway for “works for the venue,” huh?)  (Insert “Yamalube” joke here.)  I corrected his perception, but that was just the opener.  Josh wants to talk.  It’s 7:30 and Josh is word-slurring drunk.  And I’m his temporary best friend.  Yeesh.  This is the problem with going to shows alone.

Josh left to go smoke a cigarette (hooray for local smoke-free ordinances!), and the second band took the stage.  I liked these guys, actually.  They had a lot of talent and even more energy, and it showed.  They were playing to maybe 250 people, before 8pm on a Tuesday night, in a tiny venue in a foreign country.  Didn’t get ’em down.  Their music was pretty good, but their attitude was even better.  I’d go see these guys again, I think.  Well done.

People-watching during death metals shows is always fun.  There are always the old guys like me – old-school metalheads who look like they have good jobs but still cut loose from time to time.  There are the outsiders, the ones that make you wonder what their day jobs are (if they have ’em) – the dudes with heavy piercings and waist-length dreads, the vaguely cute-ish short girl with the full backpiece, sleeves that extend down onto her hands, and chestpiece that goes all the way up her throat.  You know what I mean.  There was also a blind couple, canes and all, rockin’ out to the music, which I thought was cool.  And there was one guy, uh, how do I say this – who had a square white adhesive bandage where his left eye and nose should be.  Yikes.  I headed to the bar and ordered myself a Knob Creek on the rocks.  3 bands to go and Josh has found me again – best get something to take the edge off.

And it’s a good thing…because the third band (the first one with an actual banner behind the stage, yet) started hauling in this weird-ass stage setup that had me looking at it and shaking my head “NO WAY.”  All through soundcheck…”NO WAY.”  The band came out…”YES WAY.”  I sw’ar fo’ Gawd, I paid money to see a band that had no drummer. If this is a bluegrass band…fine.  But a death metal band?  WTF?!? Seriously:  There was a guy behind the singer.  He had this fucked-up rig that was a keyboard stand, and a drum machine on a rack beside the keyboard stand, and then a couple of tom-toms and crash cymbals on a rack beside that.

So they programmed the drum machine, and every now and then Jethro here would quit playing keyboards, grab some drumsticks, and beat on the drums and cymbals over to the side.  Really getting into it.  Jumping up and down like he was the baddest motherfucker on the planet.  I stood there the whole time, mouth agape in disbelief.  (Heather, I damn near texted to your email account.)  The fuck?!?  If you don’t have to, say, use your feet to play double-kicks at 180 beats per minute, then hell, I could be a death metal drummer too!  Where the fuck do I sign up?

Sadly, other than that the band wasn’t half bad.  Surely somewhere in Europe there’s a decent drummer you could sign for touring duty, at least?  Hell, there’s probably somebody you could pay in bologna sandwiches.  Advice?  Do it. That way you’ll avoid what happened last night, which was at least half a dozen fans bitching loudly about your shitty drum sound and lack of balls during and after your set.

Okay.  So then there was band #4.  Apparently this band has a following – there were lots of band t-shirts in line before the gig, and in the audience.  They were the band that my involuntary buddy Josh was talking up.  They were…meh.  Not bad, clearly into it, very talented drummer, they just did nothing for me personally.

Band #5, the headliners – aah, finally the people I came to see.  This is an old-school British band from the early ’90s, reunited and touring on their own material.  So they could be a lot more laid back about things.  In fact, the singer encouraged people to buy records, buy t-shirts, etc. of their opening acts.  “Go ahead and download our shit – we’re not getting paid for our old record deals anymore anyway!”  Heh.  Sad, but funny.  They were technically awesome and had great stage presence, particularly the singer and one guitarist.  They seemed to be having fun in general, particularly about playing a podunk club on St. Patrick’s Night.

About 11:30 or 11:40 my legs finally couldn’t take anymore, so I left my spot on the rail behind the soundboard and took a seat at the bar for the end of the show.  It was cooler back there anyway.  The show ended at 11:58, and I thought:  1)  That was fun.  I should do this more often.  2)  Damn, I’m tired.  3)  Fuck, my alarm is going to go off in 5.5 hours.

I headed to the car, thinking I’d zip home like always, but nope.  I forgot:  driving through the main bar district at midnight on St. Patty’s means I’m gonna get stuck in traffic.  D’oh!  Still, I got home little the worse for wear and collapsed into bed.  (Again, yay for no-smoking ordinances – I don’t have to shower before I can go to bed nowadays!)

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5 Responses

  1. Love that picture of Lethal Weapon! Ah, the non-nutzo Mel (though – hah! He was *playing* a nutzo). He was a treat.

    I hate doing the alarm-math. But cool points to you for going to see live bands mid-week! Sorry to hear about Dys… sending feel-good mojo her way!

    For some reason it seems that I see bands midweek with some regularity. I think it’s because the clubs where I usually see them are fairly tiny, and so they don’t bother wasting a good weekend slot on them.

  2. I’m glad you had a good time!

    Hire a better sound guy…heehee! You’re funny! You just figured out in your head what these cats are making, you know they can’t afford that!

    “House sound guy and $5. Good sound guy and we’re down $50 to $100? House sound guy it is!”

    Sad but true. 😦

    Seriously, I imagine the first two and possibly the third band were more or less playing for McD’s money and that’s about it. Hard life…but it has its moments, I’m sure…

  3. Smoke free…whew!!!! Even hit the metal scene too, huh?

    Glad you had a nice…smoke free eveing!

    City ordinance. Everywhere is smoke free now (I think there may be a few very specific exceptions). It was “smoke free” last time but a few jackasses still lit cigarettes in the middle of the crowd. While semi-tightly packed together? Nice. None of that this time. I hate having to scrub the smoke smell off before going to bed.

  4. I always feel slightly less fun when I start to do the math for what time I have to be up the next day. Glad you had fun though!

    You’d think that since I suck at math it wouldn’t be as bad. I guess that math is just a little TOO simple.

  5. […] Douglas Adams for a while before finally heading to the venue.  (My favorite local place – here’s the blog of the last show I saw […]

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