Monday, August 29, 2011

8.27.2011, FTW

How on Earth does Mike Watt manage to churn out a novella after every single gig he plays? Mystery to me. After the other night's show, which coincided with my sinuses turning shitty for the first time in four months, I felt like I'd been thrown down a flight of stairs twice, then I had to work in the morning, which explains the tardiness of this missive.

The li'l Stoogeband hadn't played at the Basement Bar since it was still Lola's Stockyards. That was almost two years ago, a memorable night when the Dangits saved our asses from multiple guitar and drum malfunctions. (We'll be playing there again with them and Dixie Witch on September 16th, hint hint.)

Our friend Jamie, who used to book us in Arlington, now works for the booking agency Overtone, who surprised me by sending me an email enumerating the go-times for each band, our comps, our guests, parking instructions (with promise of reimbursement, a nice thing in the Stockyards, which isn't as expensive as Dallas but is up there with the curmudgeon zone here in FTW), a request for stage plots and an 8:30 check-in with Thomas, the sound man.

The Strange Attractors, the band led by old FTW ally Jeremy Diaz (ex-Dead Sexy/A Capital Affair/This Damn Town), was driving in from Austin, as was the opening band, The Wolf, who'd signed on at the last minute when the Fungi Girls had to back out due to some post-tour turbulence. (Skyler Salinas from the Girls was in the house and let me know that they're back in action, so I'm looking forward to doing a show with 'em at a later date.)

I talked to Thomas the sound guy and we agreed to have the Attractors load in to the stage and backline their shit so The Wolf could set up in front of them and the li'l Stoogeband would stash its gear in the offstage area. I waited to see somebody I knew (Hembree) to pass the word along before my sweetie 'n' I went upstairs to the Star Cafe to get something to eat. (I'd forgotten about Stockyards prices; $14 for a chicken fried steak, a la carte?)

By the time we got back, the Attractors had arrived. It was good to see Jeremy and his dad Ruben again, and to meet his wife Susan. Jeremy said he'd been planning to use Ruben's goldtop Les Paul to play the show, but had forgotten it when they went out to eat dinner. I told him no worries; he could use my Squier Tele. (Later, Susan Diaz told me he'd be delighted to do so, since it was the only type of guitar he likes that he doesn't own.)

The Attractors' drummer, Jillian Jerk, had been planning to use The Wolf's drums, but when it developed that they'd been having van trouble and might be late, we decided to switch the running order. The Attractors would lead off, with Jillian using Jon Teague's drums, and The Wolf could play a 30-minute set after Stoogeaphilia finished at 1am.

The Attractors set up their gear, and when Jon arrived, he set up his drums onstage. Hembree made a deal with the Attractors' fill-in bassplayer (whose name I can't recall; I suck) to use her amp, to minimize the time we'd need for set change. (Jeremy offered me the use of his Marshall Plexi, but I told him I've gotten used to playing "amp du jour" at Inches of Mercury and look forward to oppos to play through my Twin.)

The Wolf showed up as the Attractors were getting ready to take the stage and proceeded to load their gear into the area where Stoogeaphilia's was already stashed, blocking it in. Jeremy coaxed the crowd of his family and friends that was assembled in the far corner of the room up to the stage, and the Attractors were off, playing a more song-oriented set than I'd heard them play before, with some Byrdsian jangle 'n' twang added to the mix of psych, shoegaze, and rawk, all on a bed of nasty distortion and feedback. Jeremy's grown confident enough to front the band, with Daniel Wilcox as a worthy onstage foil, and their new album Midnight at Zochil's is the best thing the Attractors have recorded yet (review to follow).

When Jeremy announced the Attractors' last song, Hembree jumped over the barrier to our gear and handed Richard's and my amps and all of our guitars over to me. He warned that we'd need to watch our stage volumes, a message which was reinforced by Thomas the soundguy when we checked. As a result, I couldn't get the tone I usually like from my Twin. Luckily, Frank Cervantez had let me borrow his one-knob fuzzbox for the gig, so I compensated by leaving the Bluesbreaker I got from Sir Steffin on for pretty much everything but the "quiet" songs ("Ain't It Fun" and "30 Seconds Over Tokyo") and used the fuzz for all of my solos.

It's always unpredictable how new devices are going to function on the set, but Frank's fuzzbox seemed to integrate well, without the wild oscillation I was fearing. I'd anticipated having to back off my volume when it was on, but in fact, it tended to attenuate the highs the way a Fuzz Face or Big Muff does, so I wound up running it with the gain a little higher than I'd planned to. I was particularly pleased with the way it sounded on "Looking At You," on which my high freqs had sounded really thin at practice after the "fuzz shootout" last weekend.

We got a good response and I was happy to see Quincy Holloway and Will Kapinos from Dove Hunter in the crowd. (Will's doing his John Lee Hooker one-man-blues-band thing as Dim Locator at Lola's this Saturday on the Justin Robertson-promoted show along with Austin's Ugly Beats and Daniel Huffman's New Fumes.)

Lots of folks I'd never seen before said nice things about the Stoogeband after we were done, and Todd Osborne, the owner, seemed pleased. Todd had worked a deal with Facebook whereby folks who mentioned the social media site got their cover comped. He said that 52 people did, so the site kicked in $500, which made for good payouts for all three bands.

The Wolf followed us with a mix of early-Kinks energy and doowop chord progressions, sporting three guitars (Kay, Tele, and SG) and a penchant for fancy headdresses. By that time, though, I was more focused on loading out and trying to get a couple of hours' sleep before work in the morning. A fun night that I'd spend the next couple of days paying for. At least the ragweed seems to have settled down a little.

ADDENDUM: Hembree sez his recording of our set sounds "FIERCE." Should be online in the next couple of days at Katboy's Stoogeaphilia archive.


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