El Grande Musica
Macrophage, a three piece Industrial Metal Rap, uh, band consisting of J on drums, N rapping, and me playing guitar. Oh, and the fourth member, the CD player, which is pouring out all of the cool techno sounding junk that is really the core of the band. N once described us as “a karaoke band.”
I'd been planning this tour for months. But have increasingly realized (as gigs have evaporated left and right) what a bad job I've done of it. This was underlined by the fact that I was finishing up all of my final details at 5am the morning we need to leave.
Reeling from no sleep. I packed the last of my junk in the bus and crawled into our bed (you know, on the bus.) N drove, flashing the lights as our friend Dan ran along side of the bus like a puppy. Our trip down from Twin Oaks to South Carolina was so bereft of drama or tragedy as to not make interesting reporting, so imagine it in a funny spedup keystone cops kind of way.
Well, except the bus did break down briefly, but otherwise there was very little death and destruction on our journey.
I'd set up the gig with M. N, promoter and owner of a Tattoo parlor. After an easy 7 hour drive, we pulled off of 85 and began to search for the venue. The directions I'd been given said, “get off on exit #78, Club 221 is behind the truck stop.”
We searched around each of the 5 truck stops for 20 minutes, and eventually decided that one of the abandoned looking buildings might be a club. As we pulled up, we dismissed it, since it was clearly labeled “Club Latino”, with garish murals of banditos and donkeys. As we began to pull away I noticed a small sign that said “Club 221”. Our reaction to finding out that this was our venue was simultaneous, “Oh shit.”
Here is how touring band life works, as far as I can tell. The band (us, in case you forgot) shows up at 6pm (on time), and asks around in broken spanish if “Senior N” is around. He's not, so the band sits in their bus for half an hour. The sound then person shows up, and would have set up his sound system on the stage, if they had a key to open the door to let him load in. Since they don't, he sits with the band, and tells them that his son does heavy industrial music too, and they should hear him sometime. Then the key shows up, and he loads in. At around 8pm, the band is allowed to load their gear into a small room next to the stage. I'm sorry… next to the HUGEMONGOUS stage, Jesus this place is big! Anyway, the opening bands show up, by my watch, 2 hours late, and THEN Mike Necro arrives.
The first band sounded roughly like “RarrrarBlahBlah-RarrarGrrrr-BlahBlahBlah”, N thought they sounded pretty good, J thought the drummer was good, I thought it sounded like the audio equivalent to the stuff you find in unwashed toilets.
The second band had songs like “cold dead bitch” and “hot black chicks”. The audience liked them bunches, which I didn't think boded well for us, with our songs of tolerance and community building.
Frankly, Mr. N must have not done a perfect job of promoting the show. By the time we went on, the audience has reached it's peak, 16 grumpy looking punk men.
I think our set started well. I had written intro music that started us off with crazy breakbeats and techno, we came on the stage full of punk rage, and it all culminated in a sample from a movie saying, “You are a fanatic, an Anarchist!” and we dropped into our first song.
N's microphone was dead. I could see him emoting, jumping and yelling, but he might as well have been Marcel Marceau for all the sound that was coming out. We paused after the first song while they sorted out N's mic. I said, “Thank you for coming… both of you.” When we started the second song, we could hear N pretty well in between the waves of feedback coming from his mic.
The rest of the show was an hour of us not being able to hear the backing tracks at all.
Let me explain this to you. The backing tracks are recorded on a CD and play at a consistent set tempo. When we can't hear them, we often play at a DIFFERENT tempo then the tracks. This makes us sound vaguely like your average junior high school marching band.
I feel that the real highlight of the show was my connection with the audience. Here is a snippet of our dialog. (After the song “Misegenate”, which suggests that people should mate interracially.)
Me: “Does anyone know what Miscegenation is?”
Me: “…come on, anyone, ten point question.”
N: “There will be a test.”
Me: “Ok, miscegenation is a legal term from the 1800?s, basically the law said that black and white people couldn?t legally marry, or have children.”
Audience Member: “Like, you mean, I couldn?t have sex with Halle Berry?”
Me: “Um, yes sir, yes that would be true.”
Audience Member: “Well I ain?t down with that.”
Me: “…ok, next song.”
We finished our set, packed, were handed a whopping $45 for our troubles, and got the hell out of there. Later that night we slept in our bus, parked in the back of a hotel parking lot. We used our flashlight to charge the star stickers on the roof, and drifted off to sleep, professional musicians.
Next week: Ashville North Carolina, Queer Community, and Tennessee punk rawk…