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Tuesday September 28, 2004 - Tasty World - Athens, GA
(with Miso and Timber)
Well, we're back!
Since last we played, Frank has left his lifelong homestate of South Carolina to join Tom and I in the trenches of Athens, GA. We've learned and written a slew of new songs (effectively doubling our set list) and rehearsed enough to turn us into semi-competent players.
Tonight's show was a tough one on us for several reasons. First and foremost was the time. We were supposed to go on second tonight (around 11). A huge hole was blown in that when the supposed headliners cancelled. Since Dan from Timber arranged the show and had always planned to open, they retained that slot. The other band, Miso, was from New York City. Standard band principles suggest that on nights like tonight, the travelling band NEVER goes last. So suddenly, we were bumped from 11 to 1:15 a.m. on a Tuesday night. It was a tough call but the only fair one under the circumstances. I can guarantee it won't be a regular occurence with us.
On the bright side - suddenly we became "the headliners."
We went on at 1:15. By now, the date had changed to September 29, the first anniversary of my Dad's death. That didn't exactly put me in the mood for rocking.
We shook things up by opening with "Colors In Black & White" and segueing it into "Until The Road Ends." We played fine but the tempo was a little slow from sheer exhaustion. We decided to keep things a challenge by having approximately half of our set as songs that we've never performed at an actual show or have only done once.
"(Save It For) Another Day" was as good as it gets. I don't think Q-Sign or any other line up has ever done it better than it was done tonight. Maybe it's because it doesn't really require rocking. It was one of my best vocal performances ever and Tom's harmonies were loud and clear. The only other time we've done this was at our first open rehearsal in Milledgeville back in May. At that show, I popped a string and couldn't even do it properly. We got through then, but tonight was actually the first full performance. The song got a pretty song response, too.
Sometime around now, Tom had some technical problems with his kit. After the show, he let me know that it really affected his energy level and hurt his momentum.
After that, we debuted the first song I ever wrote. (There was actually one called "Scream For No Reason" that was performed before this one, but "Everyday" is the first song that I completed. "Scream" was never solidified until well after "Everyday.") I introduced "Everyday" by saying, "This is the first song I ever wrote. So if it sounds like it was written by a naive high school kid, that's just because it was." With our performance of it, every band that I've ever been in has played it. I'm thrilled to say that this band does it better than any other line up, too. Tonight, it was a little difficult to keep up the energy but we did okay. My guitar solo was only at about 90% but I don't think anyone but me noticed.
"Phony" followed. Usually, this is where the show shifts into high gear. Tonight, we weren't really able to change gears. It was still the most rocking song of the night. I did the end of song freak out again but it was a bit more subdued than last time.
For fun, we then decided to drastically change the set list to include our cover of Jeff Buckley's "Jewel Box." We've never done it before and it was hard to say whether we were actually ready for it or not. I absolutely do not know the lyrics. So I read from a cheat sheet. I pulled it off just fine, thank you and I doubt anyone outside the band realized that I was reading! The Who section that I added was pretty funny. I think it both disturbed and delighted people. At least I'd like to think so.
The next premiere was "Twist." I switched to my old green Strat for the tremolo. I think the vocals were better than they've ever been live, at least in pitch and harmony. Tom sings Tom O'Gorman's old part and I do mine (what a stretch). We do switch at the bridge before the solo with me singing lead for that one section. Unfortunately, Frank's brand new amp started shorting out sometime around the solo causing much crackling and even a few godawful feedback screeches. Our performance was fine but that technical crap really dulled the mood and effect of the song.
Frank fixed the problem but when I kicked into "Towel Cape Song" ('it's childlike, not childish") I heard the crackling start again. So I stopped and got him to change to the other bass head that he had stacked up just in case. It only took a second and we were back and functional. "Towel Cape" was fine. But the eyebrows were decreasing even more as the hour got later.
For the closing, we chose to hit "Taking Its Toll" which seemed extra appropriate tonight. Frank's bass had gone a little flat but not enough to warrant dire measures. The solo was great and sounded really full (which isn't easy in a 3-piece). Tom's voice petered out during the "lay down" portion at the end which then helped Frank to miss a cue. It was fairly subtle, though, and again, I doubt it was very noticable. We segued "Toll" into "Give Up Town" which is actually really powerful.
We rocked up the end as much as we were capable of. It was perfectly serviceable.
Overall, the show sounded good but was lacking in energy due to the ridiculous tiredness. I wish we had recorded it because I know we would have some usable live tracks from it. This was a much better "open rehearsal" / restart than the Milledgeville show in May but not even a hint of what's to come. Notice the star rankings that I placed on the set list below. There was nothing below a 3 except the two with technical problems and "Save It For Another Day" was a 4. The playing was pretty consistent which is a huge deal for me. If we'd had energy it would've been a really good show. As it was, it was just another night - although completely serviceable and (if I must say so myself) better than most bands not playing an arena.
It was certainly a great first show in 3 months, 4th (real) show total.
Completely biased star reviews of each song performed.
1. Colors In Black & White ***
2. Until The Road Ends ***
3. (Save It For) Another Day ****
4. Everyday (N)***
5. Phony ***
6. Jewel Box (N)***
7. Twist (N)**
8. Towel Cape Song **
9. Taking Its Toll ***
10. Give Up Town ***
Thanks to Jonathan (the man's been to every official show we've done so far) for coming out again - glad you liked "Everyday."
Thanks to Matt for coming out with your opinions and patience (I know you had to get up early the next morning).
Thanks to Miso for being accomodating and playing a shorter set so we could get on a couple of minutes earlier.
Thanks to Dan (and Timber) for inviting us.
Thanks to Tasty World for giving us a stage to play.
And thanks to Amanda for the photos.
Photos by Amanda Stahl.