Wednesday, February 2, 2011

30 Shows Mean Show Memories

I have asked my bandmates to help me compile a list of all the shows we have played in our 8 months together. The list has reached 30, and reading over the names and the places and taking in all the days was truly a lesson in vivid reliving.

Even the bad shows (I can count 2) resulted in hilarious happenings after; finding mysterious belongings and a big ol' dam in Elgin, "farkour," an old bartender named Pancho playing saxophone during sets, places that smelled like pee, oversized burritos and strawberry milkshakes, bands that made us wanna pee our pants, and the like.
The list looks like this:
may 23rd - open mic night at my house
august 8th - three rivers, MI
august 21st - swing state
august 26th - babylon (r.i.p.)
august 28th - audrey's show
august 29th - reggie's show

september 6th - canopy club
september 10th - viaduct
september 15th - open mic
september 18th - MEAT house (r.i.p.)
september 25th - pygmalion music festival

october 22nd - elgin (lol)
october 23rd - hipster house <333
october 29th - meta halloween

november 13th - starbucks
november 16th - silent auction at uic
november 26th - hipster house
november 28th - subterranean

december 4th - murray cultural center
december 11th - meta christmas
december 19th - reggie's battle of the bands
december 27 - nnamdi's pancake haus

january 4th - double door
january 6th - swing state
january 11th - pancho's
january 12th - viaduct 
january 21st - swing state
january 22nd - kedzie / jessi's apartment
january 23rd - subterranean

january 28th - round lake civic center

I will skip the first open mic night and go straight to Three Rivers.

The Island of Misfit Toys was once called Sanders (GET IT? IT'S MY LAST NAME! SRSLY DO YOU GET IT??). This picture by Mark includes Spiros, the original bass player/one of the best guys on Earth. However, it was made before the inclusion of Kamila and Lui, so please don't assume we were hiding their dirty little faces. 

We had been screwed out of three "FIRST SHOWS" that we were super-excited about (but not NEARLY prepared enough for), and were approached with an interesting offer from Evan's extremely-good-looking older brother Johnathan: to play at a school-turned-community center run by a "group" (cult?) he works with. We got all excited about it, practiced a bunch, and tried to ignore the fact that it took place in a small town in Michigan where none of our friends were. We were excited to play, and that was that.

Loading the cars was an experience. Spiros and Lui were sadly not in attendance, so they weren't there for the first exploration of "how are we gonna fit all this bullshit into normal automobiles?". It was Evan and Julia driving, Evan having his Explorer and Julia with her fit blue sedan machine. I threw myself into shotgun in Julia's car (typical bullshit on my part) and we went to pick up Kamila...and we didn't know what to say.

I won't go into detail because I'd hate to embarrass her, but she was in tears. The show seemed a bit sketchy to her family, and tongues thrashed. However, in our way, we tried to cheer her up the entire car-ride through endless jokes (thanks, Danny) and Anathallo's beautiful, soothing album Floating World. When we stopped for food, the hugs were immediate and gratifying from all sides and a smile stretched from East to West on her face. At that moment, I knew that this band was going to be something more than a pile of talent and myself; it was going to be something that made me want to wake up and start the day practicing with them. (If only that were an option!)

We got to the place (surrounded by strange, closed restaurants and a pervading void) and immediately saw Evan's handsome brother, Johnathan. Julia, Kamila, and I squealed like repressed school girls. He showed us where to load in, and we set up in what looked like it was once a classroom! The room was full of attractive 20-somethings and Evan's family, along with some other people that provided good people-ambiance. I went to change into my costume.

I wore a costume around this time for comfort reasons; I felt like the music was far more representative of myself than...myself, and decided to match that sincerity by wearing two articles of clothing that are 1. my favorites, and 2. given to me by extremely-important people. The dashiki was a present from my Uncle Chuck, who hipped me to the progressive rock that I adore, and the red onesie was from my old girlfriend Jennie. I wore it to pay tribute to them. However, it gets sweaty SO fast, and almost makes me faint. And that's EXACTLY what it did in Three Rivers.

We played "Hermit Crab" first, to awesome reception! People were so sweet. We plowed through the rest of our set (leaving "Beginnings of a Beard" for last instead of first) rather hurriedly and nervously, but we were extremely happy nonetheless, and the acoustic break Evan, Danny, and I provided was a well-needed break...because I was about to collapse. The sweat was making my outfit ten times heavier, which made me exert more effort to wear them, which made me sweat, which made get the idea.

We ended the set and I immediately changed in the bathroom, only to come out and hear the kindest things, especially from Evan's family. It was a pure and unfettered show, and it was perfect for honing our craft and stage presence without issues like "promoters" and "draw" and other such slop. It was genuinely fun.

Then came the rummage sale.

A box full of bunnies, a giant banner that says "Excellence Begins With You!", four meaningless VHS tapes, a $40 french horn, books, a cat coloring book (Kamila), other items...I get to look at all the wonderful items we picked up every day as mementos from a day of true band bonding. We checked out and loaded into the car, and I tried to get Julia back into her air-conditioned car as soon as possible; her jeggings were causing heatstroke and she was bathed in sun to the point of some sort of allergic reaction to...something. We headed to a restaurant, got eyed by locals, chatted with a sweet, Tylenol-bearing waitress, and headed home, exhausted, happy, and prepared for whatever was coming next. 

I woke up at Evan's house, and immediately started walking to work. I couldn't tell ANYBODY a damn thing about what happened the day before, because no one was curious.


Now, to end this post...we are hosting a Valentine's Day type of show on February 12th over at METAphysics! Warren FranklinSheep Numbers (Mike Martello of The Nothingheads and Tin Tin Can), Poor Places (Tim's band), and Morgan Haner will be playing, and The Island will be closing out the night. Show starts at 7, and it may just be one of the best shows we ever put on here.

The event page is HERE.

It will be a night of fun and splendor, so please, whoever you are, feel free to come out. And if you're still reading this, I couldn't be happier. More to come!

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