February 9, 2017 - 6:36pm
... I'm sitting on a questionably clean couch at The Co-Op in Albuquerque (NM)… it’s times like this I’m glad I have an amazing (selective) memory! All I gotta do is think back to Wednesday… a day that just wouldn’t end.
… not for bad reasons though… it all worked out so… actually… I’ll just cut to it… we’re not dead.
Today was a show day… and typically I try and schedule 2-3hr drive so we have an easy way to kill time before load in.
We’re out of the hotel for a “musician’s noon” and hung out in the hotel parking lot for a bit… ignoring the fact it was 1,000F again. We aren’t able to load in until 6pm… and it’s only an hour drive…
McOffice it is.
… which is fine… because they have decent Wifi and $1/drinks.
… so as far as data and hydration plans go… it’s pretty good!
We dropped Reid and Dane off at McOffice then Brendan and I went to the post office… that we couldn’t find… GPS has been throwing some curveballs on this trip.
(Honestly, all our phone GPS’s are solid… and way quicker to input addresses… just sayin’.)
When we returned, Reid informed me that his card didn’t work at the cash… and that the worker had “comped” him some cheeseburgers.
(… I’m still laughing about this… fast food REALLY is affordable here??)
The McEmployee seemed really interested in us being in a band… finally caving and asking Dane and Reid to grab a pic with him.
(… works for me… we are going to be here for 3-4hrs… probably having spent $10 between us… $12.5 if we included Reid’s order.)
Spent the afternoon working on socials and doing emails… time really does fly when you’re chatting with several people on several social platforms… it was easier when I was at home... easier to turn to my left and do some stuff while Pro Tools is doing stuff.
… it is tough because I feel you should keep on top of the messages and reply quickly… but I also (unfortunately) understand why larger acts simply don’t… there has to be a tipping point where it’s overwhelming.
… we’ll do our best though if/when that time comes.
We made our way to Austin… a city I’ve heard so much about because of SXSW… so I was kinda excited about it.
… until people kept telling us/me to “be careful.”
… because now I'm sketched out a little.
Our lives (in a way) are packed in a van right now. Between our instruments and our personal items… such as the one I’m typing on right now. We brought our essentials to function for over 2 months… and you can’t really wrap your head around what you need until you realize how much of it you don’t… really… and how much of it you do.
… in hindsight, I would’ve packed less… as they say with travelling… “pack half they stuff and twice as much money”… I guess the joke is we’ve already brought all our money.
(lol... *tear* … seriously… the eggs are in this basket.)
We find the venue and discover an alley in behind… full of vans.
… sounds about right!
So, similar to Queen Street in Toronto… or I guess I should say, the idea that people portray Queen Street in Toronto, there’s a bunch of venues and bars all in a row on this street… that I can’t remember the name of… so everyone is loading in, loading out at the same time… and there’s basically no cover since if you want to go see live music while you drink, there’s no shortage of options… again, real talk, the competition is often to provide booze, the entertainment is secondary... if you aren't buying a ticket.
… there’s a vibe in Austin so far though… and alley smells like a combo of day old prawn and urine.
… and there was an incident with a “knife guy” that I missed… can’t remember if it was before or after the show but Reid and Dane were telling me about it… apparently the guy was recreating a scene from a movie… but things like that can really go south fast.
I looked at the schedule inside:
Another Lost Year 11pm
Lullwater - 10pm
Never Say Die - 9pm
Ok cool… I think Lullwater had hooked up this show (late notice date filler) so all good if they want to switch spots on the bill… there is some advantage to playing later on these types of gigs… up until about midnight.
… and considering how things might go tonight… getting packed up a bit earlier since we have a drive tonight (all night)... being able to head out easier once the show is done wouldn’t hurt.
“Do ya’ll wanna draw straws for set times?”
(… yup… we’re all thinking the same thing apparently. lol. *tear*)
I went back inside…
… I heard the cheers from outside…. and I recognized the voices… none of them Reid, Dane, or Brendan’s.
To be honest, it kinda put us in an awkward position and we did offer to switch spots with ALY if they wanted. We both have a long drive tonight (to make radio tomorrow) but we’re guests on their tour and we’ll take one for the team… and if we can play a little longer to practice a few songs we haven’t played in a while… I’d be ok with that.
… so the new set times:
Never Say Die - 11pm
Lullwater - 10pm
Another Lost Year - 9pm
… going to be positive… perhaps there’s walk in traffic… the front is open… and there’s a lot of country (and apparently reggae next door) going on. If you want rock… here you go!
The crowd did pick up as the night went on… a decent sized pub crawl came in while Lullwater was playing… there were a couple comments that maybe we ended up with the sweet spot after all… but my gut said that’s a pub crawl… and they aren’t here for the music… because if they were, they’d be up near the stage… not at the very back (where the entrance is) shouting over a live (loud) rock band and getting smashed.
There was a decent number of people left by the time we played… but that pub crawl easily could’ve made a difference if they a) stayed and b) made it to the front of the stage.
We’d thought about playing a few more songs but decided to keep it to 30mins so we could all head out on time.
#realtalk - Politics and ethics… being packed up and ready to go is one thing, but the thought never crossed our minds to leave early (bands still playing)… you just don’t do that… and if someone did that, that would’ve said a lot about respect. Travelling like this, your band is a team but all the bands (as a whole) is a team as well. This is not easy… it can be fun, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At one point or another you’ll need help… gear issues, missing/forgotten items, financials, morale… it’s a sum of the parts. It’s doesn’t have to be completely even, but it needs to maintain a balance.
… but the only reason to leave early (Age Of Days succumbed to it a couple times over the years) is when you have a drive that you can’t make unless you leave now. We had no crew… and when you’re chasing a bus tour, especially in Canada… and you have a 12hr drive… sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pack up… and miss (especially on those larger tours) that late rush of merch sales.
… but that is not the case here or tonight though.
We played… played well… nice size drum riser here too.
Reid toyed with the idea of heading out onto the street… I reminded him how far you don’t have to go before time delay kicks in and you have no idea what’s going on.
(... because science.)
… skipping to that, Reid hops off stage and makes his way to the street… maybe 80ft away from the stage… so (really) easy math, 10ft/1ms delay.
You can easily hear 10ms delay… and if you have a good ear (which Reid does), he’s now realized he’s paddling himself up shits creek.
I’m fighting his late vocal blasting in the monitor beside me… I think he just started yelling or talking to people outside… the band is fine, we can just keep playing… it’s fun though… I like the element of danger.
We finished up, packed up… I chatted with a daddy/daughter combo on their own mini pub crawl. They were using our merch table as a “table” table… which irks me a little since I’ve noticed 9/10 spills in a venue happen on your merch table if you let people treat it like a “table” table…
… they had nice things to say about our set and it was nice to know the people there appreciated it.
… except this one guy who apparently gave Reid “some pointers” about the songwriting… apparently “Like A Nightmare” is too derivative…
It was fun though… Reid ended up comping him a cd which was funny… the whole album is derivative.
(... in my mind we signed it… I actually just deleted what I think we would’ve (I would’ve) wrote… it’s pretty funny though... but derivative.)
So packing up, loading out… this is where things got dicy and I’ll choose my words wisely.
This show was put together on super late notice… so promotion is what it is… a place to break up the drive, off the street traffic, no cover, etc… you sorta get what you get… except tonight was a cut of the bar sales.
… from past experience, and hearing from bands over the last 10+ years… you’re at the mercy of the bar… since it’s one thing to say “X number of people paid cover” vs “X number of drinks were sold”.
… often, even if sales are low, a bar might top up the $ because it also reflects on them.
This is a solid tour package. With proper promotion, there’s no doubt we couldn’t get more bodies in a room like this… the venue is really cool! … and some of the “more intimate” shows so far… in my mind, I want to come back and pack those places on a second run… as a thank you for helping us fill a few dates on late notice.
… but this hiccup with the bar put things in an awkward spot. Now a night we're still having fun (because that’s 1 of 2 options sometimes), is now a little insulting… and the numbers we’re being told vs what we saw are not adding up.
… there’s no way 1 of the band members on this tour, spend 10% of what the bar said they made… just no way… but again, you’re at the mercy of the bar.
Luckily it was dealt with diplomatically (over the next hour). We settled up, and we all went on our way… much later than I’d hoped… again… we were already driving all night…
… we didn’t make it very far until the Jameson caught up with one of us.
“Just give me a bag or something, just incase.”
… if you think you’re going to be sick, we are pulling over. This is our home… do not hurl in the van.
… I think we had gas station dinner… I bought some Starbucks energy drink thing… see if that will keep me awake.
… oh dear.
… literally oh dear… as in deer.
It wasn’t long into the drive (a 5hr drive) that we started seeing deer all over the place… well, on the side of the road… standing around… just wanting to ruin your day.
The “speed limit” on these roads (secondary highway) is 120 km/h … yeah… really… in the dark, through a gauntlet of deer… seriously.
I have a soft spot for animals so I sorta like seeing the deer… but after the moose accident a couple years ago… and having my eyeballs coated in powered glass… I’m good… I’m good for wildlife on night drives.
I counted 199 deer… +/- 10… since sometimes it’s tough to see how many there are in a group.
Only 2 were on the road were we had to slow down enough (form 70-80 km/h and actually honk at them… which was funny… in my sleep deprived mind, they are apologizing for not crossing safely.
Speaking of safely… mad props to Brendan for powering through that drive… I woke up several times after trying to stay awake on look out… it was a grind though… and he didn’t try our luck through deer alley… and he slowed down even further when I voiced concern over a few deer-ier patches in particular.
… radio was 12pm… no hotel tonight… our go to, Walmart… where you find Wally, you find Clown… and that’s a great combo for more reasons than I’m willing to share or admit right now.
Found one with Clown and Starbucks (aka Bucks)… and gas station…
… we pulled in at 7:33am. The sun was already up. Brendan pulled into one of the many vacant spots, put the van in park. He leaned forward and put his forehead on the steering wheel in a comical manner…
“Good job Brendan.”
His hand went up to like my real world Facebook comment… and then he was out.
… the last thing I remember doing was opening the my door, kicking off my shoes outside (I’ve been wearing them for 21hrs… and they’re gonna smell like it), and then I was out… telling myself “Do not forget your shoes beside the van.”
Good job Brendan.
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!