Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 10: Memphisted

Our Memphis Show at the Hi-Tone Lounge could have been awful. Spending time in the southern heat (or at our un-air-conditioned venue) meant your tight (rockstar) jeans would fuse to the lower half of your body, we weren't exactly sure whose floor we'd be able to stay on that night, and I, personally, didn't know how an audience used to world-class blues, country, and classic rock would take our songs referencing rollerblading in short-shorts and Fidel Castro. However, after arriving at the venue, the Tour Gods sent down four consecutive positive signs:

1) Dick Dale, surf-guitar legend, was listed just below us on the marquee.

2) Free PBR for band members

3) An in-house meal for band members (which ended up being delicious veggie pizza)

4) Memphis Zoo located across the street from the venue

Having some extra leisure time before we had to sound check, we walked through the park that bordered the zoo. The rad poster of a polar bear giving a small child a high five only made us more excited. However, upon arriving we found out that it was 15 minutes past closing time. Not allowing this to stop them from getting their exotic animal fix, Dan and Ryan smoothly walked through the zoo's exit gate as a paying, Southern family left. Being too timid to slide through the gates as families exited, Kristin, Mark, and I were left behind to inspect the zoo's pseudo-Egyptian animal sculptures, which turned out to be pretty fun to climb on despite the disclaimer not to do so. After 30 minutes, the two delinquents came back bragging of Komodo Dragons, Pumas (not the shoes), and the famed Memphis Ligers. Ryan and Dan confirmed that Liger's lazer shooting capabilities were a myth, but they said that the animals presence gave them a really powerful and positive feeling. It was going to be a quality show.

Local folk-rock act, The Sultana, started the music off with some tight arrangements that included multiple people on percussion, a banjo, and a cello. I particularly liked one of their songs that had a fun spaghetti-western style to it. The growing crowd seemed really receptive.

We played second without many hitches. Accustomed to DIY shows where we have to set everything up ourselves, it was nice having monitors and a sound engineer to help mix and get good-sounding levels throughout the show.

Star & Micey, a band we hosted earlier this year at the Dead Birdhouse, closed out the night. They hadn't played as a full band for over 6 months and did a really nice job of channelling their excitement throughout their set. Their accordion player had some great moves and took off his shirt halfway through the set. Most of the people at the Hi-Tone including one of the band's biggest fans, a jovial southern gentleman named Pappy O'Daniels, were stomping, clapping, and having drunken, good time by the end of their set. Success.

Other highlights from the night included:

1) having bawdy conversations about the logistics of peeing in your own mouth

2) getting a CD purchase out of a woman, who was making eyes at Mark

3) a homeless saying to me: "You look like Ronald McDonald, no a McChicken…no wait…a quarter pounder with cheese."

4) an outrageously drunk representative for Sirius Satellite Radio who jokingly insisted that we were awful and then later said that we weren't actually "too bad."

Mad thanks to Nick for putting us up for the night!

John // The Low End

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