A light and lovely three hours to Portland, Oregon.
As usual, lots of interesting music. Since we have landed back on the west coast everything has become lighter, jammed to some Death Grips, and we all shared a laugh at the intensity of their band. Stand out hits on this shorter sprint were Dent May’s, ‘Born Too Late’ and ‘Video Life’ by Chris Spedding.
We had some good discussions about past bands and artists we’ve all been involved with. Our collected history/experience playing, touring, and struggling at this craft. How people never stop judging no matter what level of success you’ve had both personal and professional, and how you gotta be a little crazy to choose a life like this. If it’s something you truly love you just have to follow through and not be deterred. You have to persevere, as well as be self aware and have some kind of foresight. Chasing that dream. Also, we’ve been killing each other with bad jokes and past experiences – you ain’t gonna last long if you don’t have a sense of humor.
The gig was at Bunk Bar (the one in water ave, apparently an important detail!)
As soon as we rolled into the Bunk Bar the bar tender said, ‘You look like you need a drink. What can I pour you?’ Ordered a whiskey ginger and a chicken salad sandwich & salad. Service was fast and the food was excellent. It was filling enough to just eat half and save the rest for later. Ate while Sego was loading in and sound checking. We actually made good time from Seattle and arrived at the venue early enough to relax a bit.
The Bunk Bar had by far the most curious sound engineer of this tour. A tall gangling gentleman who looked like he was transported from the early 70’s. Must have been burnt out on something cause he was a little on edge, a gentleman to be sure, but a little anxious. To his credit he was extremely thorough. Vocals were a little low, but overall it seemed generally balanced. He just had a funny way of telling you if you were in the way and he wasn’t afraid to show it.
A trend I’ve noticed with almost all of the bands opening the shows on this tour is a tendency to play TOO LOUD. Maybe it’s to cover up the insecurities the bands have, to hide behind a wall of sound, or maybe they genuinely. Believe that their volume is not an issue. I guarantee that most of these bands don’t take the time to step out into the audience to. Actually hear how their sound is actually being received. We’ve all been there, usually when we’re younger or didn’t have the experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing LOUD – probably more then a lot of people in my scene. But there is a difference between FULL so you can feel it, and so LOUD that everything is just volume and there is no definition between the instruments. And the band that opened had that issue. Really rad guys, but a little older then me and I would have figured they’d be more conscious of their sound.
One of the most valuable skills any musician can learn is how to play to the room, while still retaining your energy as much as possible. This is a hard technique to develop, but can definitely set you apart if you take the time to practice it – just like anything else. But hey, no one is perfect and nerves sometimes get the best of all of us. And the rather unfathomable amount of other. Unknown factors that are at play when performing live – truly anything can happen, and that’s one of the reasons playing live can be so exhilarating.
The favorite for the night was Sego, again. As much as the first band couldn’t control their volume, Sego not only controlled it very well, but like any experienced band, brought it up and down and still came across as heavy. I loved watching and listening to the main guitar player/singer (Spencer) use timing to his advantage, and effects pedal tastefully. Adding to each melody, and to what everyone was doing on the whole. Very dynamic band. Stoked we’ve been able to play this run of the tour with them. We are due to have a Mortal Combat session soon. I’m down, sounds like fun.
I made the mistake of leaving my jacket on and consequently ended up sweating a ton. We had fun, played with more energy then Seattle. My looping pedal has officially broke, couldn’t get it to turn off. Just rolled the volume down and that seemed to work just fine. Will add to that long laundry list that any broke musician has to deal with.