February 11, 2016 - 12:51am
... so after posting yesterday's blog... I took a quick shower and then raided the hotel breakfast... at 6:15am. I thought I could rope Dane into going with me but alas, I was by my lonesome, eating waffles and watching CNN.
... I slept like a baby afterwards though until 10am.
We had some good convo going on in the hotel this morning... we were killing time until going to the venue but we also had a nervous/anxiousness to our vibe.
Age of Days hasn't really been on stage in a year (not that we're concerned)... but you're curious what the hiccups will be and how much rust needs to get knocked off... and considering the venue is called "Fargo Civic Center" and it's close to sold out... that's where the anxiousness comes from... nobody wants to go on stage and suck in front of 12 people, or 1,200... although if you suck in front of 1,200 people... you learn to stop sucking a lot quicker... or quit.
The venue is super close to the hotel... we were told to be there at 2pm... we showed up at 1:45pm and scouted the venue.
... yeah it looks like a basketball arena... too small for hockey. It's still big though.
Saint Asonia was just beginning to set up... I've seen them headline in Toronto so I knew what to expect.
... yup... they sound pretty thick.
... people can say what they want about Adam Gontier but he walked on stage and killed it... off the bus in soundcheck.
I say it all the time... with singers... you have the tone, or you don't... it's harsh but true... it's a thing that can't be taught... you just learn how to control the gift you've been given... or smoked your vocal chords upon.
It was very hurry up and wait... and we're all nervous to make sure the crew in the building like us... and to let us know whatever we should be doing (or not doing!) to make their lives easier.
... 3 major things I find make these situations go smoothly:
1) Never assume. If you don't know, ask. Even if it's a stupid question, I just say "sorry, possible stupid question..." and ask. Assuming is how you get yelled at.
2) Don't go over your set time. If you're supposed to be on 7-7:30, then that is your set time. Going over 1-2 minutes can ruin your relationship with the stage/production/tour manager... and that's a basement couch you don't want to sleep on.
3) Common sense and common courtesy. Sounds simple right? Idiots fail this test first chance they get... and when you're an opening band, you are not equal to the headliner or anybody above you... and that's ok! It's their show, it's their ticket. It's their fans. You're along for the ride... or less. Introduce yourself and ask them what they want you do to. Don't worry, they'll let you know about your rider, food, soundcheck time, etc. They will tell you... I promise!
Soundcheck went well... my drums were pretty cold from being in the trailer the last 36hrs... well my rental drums... all the hardware had frost on it.
Yes, I rent a kit when I can... why? Because I don't want my main kit bouncing around in a van/trailer for 70 hrs the next three weeks... or to have to drag it all into the hotel room every night... and also because 90% of drums sound the same once mic'd up and through a PA.
Argue you all you want but once you've tuned up the kit, the tone comes from the player. I can confidently say this because a) I've mic'd up a lot of kits the past 10+ years and b) I've listened to multiple people play my kit during several shows and have noticed the difference. A few years ago I had a FOH guy come up to me and tell me my kit sounded completely different (better) when I was playing it... and it was now official in his mind that there's only so much he can do on his end... the source/player can make a huge difference.
... so we finished our soundcheck but forgot to check this intro/walk-on thing I made.
... our monitors tech took my "intro iPod" over to his station, plugged it in, hit play, and I think most people in the venue pee'd (or worse) themselves a little.
... the subs work!
... it was pretty loud!
... like... the loudest.
... 20 minute story short... it was patched in wrong and... almost blew the system.... and that would've been a bad start.
... it got sorted though... it's pretty cool hearing a piece of audio on a system that large... curious to hear something I've recorded (music/song wise) through it.
... finish sound check... it's dinner time... there was catering.
I just wanted to eat piles of meatloaf and mashed potatoes... but I knew my limit... and my limit wasn't anywhere near how much I wanted to actually eat... It was now 6:30pm and I hadn't really eaten since 6:30am.
Finish dinner, and anxiously pace around our dressing room... which is like locker room... which I'm cool with. I'd typically be at hockey Wednesday nights so this is sorta close... except it's 5 on 2,000+ (I think)
... 9 minutes to stage time.
I head down to stage right... the rest of the guys follow.
... 1 minute to stage time. We put our fists in the middle and decide to go throw down... it's good to be back.
... intro music cues.
... I walk on stage.
... I forgot how dark darkness is when you're in the dark and everything is dark black.
I have 3 things to do:
1) not trip over anything
2) plug in my iPod (which was charging) for my click tracks
... 1 was fine... but I could NOT find the cable for my iPod anywhere... black cable... in the dark... not good! I hear the intro music about to wrap up... I make a game time decision... I can either delay and awkwardly get it plugged in once the house lights come on... or put my inears in, and just go for it
... my gut said I'd be fine.
We rolled the first two tunes without the click and it was fine... we/I rehearse all the time with it so I know the feel... so does everyone else too so it's easier to lock in. That being said, I couldn't hear much on stage... it's a big stage so Reid being so far to the left of me... without him in my monitor, I can't hear him at all... and he was just barely in my monitors.
We have a break after the 2nd song so I plugged things in and we're back to normal.
... holy smokes do the songs feel slow... which means my adrenalin is running things right now... which I hate the feeling of... but another reason why I love playing to a click... sometimes it's slow, sometimes it's fast... but I know it's always right!
The set went well though... we had a spot we wanted to try and snap a pic of the crowd so I grabbed my phone and took a couple. Good times... great crowd!
Off stage we went through our usual motions where everyone is riding high on the fun of being on stage but also apologizing for little mistakes.
... I think you should allow yourself 3-5 minor mistakes only you'd notice... any major train wreck (or bed shitting) stuff should be addressed the next day... in short, enjoy the evening since it's too easy to beat yourself up when there's nothing you can do about it RIGHT NOW.
I packed up (we had tons of stage hands and I didn't know what to do with them) and went over to merch... which was busy. Selling CD's, signing stuff, and taking pics with (new) fans.
I missed all of Saint Asonia's set but made sure to catch all of Disturbed's. I had to see it... the stage setup looked pretty nuts... the lighting is top notch!
They didn't disappoint.
This is a great tour to be on. We're very grateful and I hope we're able to maintain any momentum we gain the next few weeks. We all want to play... and I hope we can count to 3 and jump.
... music is a choice.
There is a Perkin's beside the hotel... there's also a McDonald's... we went with Perkin's... although it took forever to get our food, it was a good chance to chat about the show and have that "come down" period. There were a few people there who recognized us and asked for guitar picks and more or less, to sit down at the table with us... which is a little awkward. I'll make sure to carry picks from now on.
... pretty tired though... and we don't have to leave til 12pm tomorrow to drive to Winnipeg. I miss wifi and I miss my normal data plan.
Reid and I are sitting in the 2nd floor lounge area with our laptops... and cherry coke... because as Reid pointed out... there's no Cherry Coke in Winnipeg after all!
... you don't have to twist my arm about that.
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!