Hi everybody. There’s so much to say about tour – what a crazy week! I’d love to talk about what amazing hilarious badass rock n roll BFFs these ladies are but I think Nat hit it on the head. So I’m gonna talk a little bit about the music, and mostly about just a couple of key moments.
Here’s the overview – on an 8-day trip, we didn’t play shows on the first or last day. That means we played shows for 6 consecutive nights. If that doesn’t strike a little fear into your heart, well, dear reader, we are just different people. Ponder for a second how many different ways could that go wrong? Broken/stolen gear, zero rehearsal time, vocal troubles, 1000 possible van-related tour-enders, and, I won’t speak for anybody else but my back’s only got so many gigs left in it. So, lots to worry about.
The show in San Francisco didn’t exactly assuage any fears of mine either! It was our first full day with the van, and I drove into the city in the dark, only realizing when we arrived that the headlights weren’t just dim, they were BROKEN. Holy crap. So we found the venue but no parking, drove it in reverse down half a block in – I want to be clear about this – downtown SF, parked it with the hazards on in the street, and loaded our stuff directly up to the venue on the second floor. I had just finished white-knuckling a couple hours of 10-15-mph-over-the-speed-limit driving without headlights, and now I have to do what? It was not our best show and I’d like to publicly take credit for a minimum of 1/3 of the iffiness. It left me a little nervous about the prospects for the rest of tour, because I knew we wouldn’t have any rehearsal time and we sure weren’t going to wind up any more rested than we were right then.
So – the Bratastrophe (see Nat’s post for the origins of the tour name) continued its way to Los Angeles the following day, to play the Silverlake Lounge. That, to me, was the show to get right – the amazing Becky Gebhardt had gotten us a show with three KILLER bands, and we’d have more people there than at any other in the trip. It was a do or die moment. So, picture us already pretty nervous, and then Becky’s band opened for us and absolutely laid it down. It was a hilarious and 100% rocking set by four musicians whose “day jobs” were other pro bands! It was intimidating, but also a really exciting challenge – here we were, on tour, in a killer venue, playing with killer bands, with all the music-loving folks (many in bands themselves), who come out to a show with great bands. Every show was important, every show was an opportunity, but this was special – these were the people we needed to connect with, network with, impress. Were we going to step it up?
The answer is yes. Fast-forward with me for a sec – we just played a show at the Crocodile here in Seattle, which was huge for us. I was nervous for sure, but it was nerves that felt like excitement. I was excited about the show at the Croc, and not panicking,Â because I had cold, hard evidence from the show at the Silverlake Lounge that when the chips are down we don’t panic, and we don’t just get by. The show at the Croc was just like Silverlake – we weren’t fearless, and I’m glad we weren’t. We were kind of petrified for both, actually! But we took that fear and used it as energy.
We talked a lot about nerves, off and on during the trip, and I remember in particular Natalie talking about how her hands would get so shaky she couldn’t use them in the early shows. At Silverlake before the show, for a while she was pretty much only responding in these wacky sounds, like, “Mllehnnnngggguhâ€¦” because it was so nerve-wracking. I don’t think I’d ever seen her that nervous before a show! And then she turned it into r-o-c-k. I think we all did.
I have been to a bunch of shows, and I’ve seen a lot of bands play more than once. I’ve seen some good bands, and some bad bands, but I’ve never seen a band GET good. Seeing N, T & R play back in the day, I was nervous for them (just like I’m sure they felt for me in my band at the time too). Will they keep the songs together? Are their fingers gonna rattle off? Are they gonna get through everything? And, at some point I lost that feeling for APC, although I don’t remember when. But tour really made me recall the days when I was scared for them on a Tuesday at El Corazon, and how completely, 100%, night-and-day different it is now. What an unbelievable transformation – writing, playing, and performing. The work never really stops in a band -Â booking shows, making posters, writing songs, keeping sharp individually and as a group. Tour was a ton of work too, but honestly it mostly felt like nothing but the payoff.
So, thanks to the venues (all of them!), thanks to Dan With A Van and all the other folks who helped make it happen, and an eternity of gratitude to Rebecca, Natalie and Teresa for being such amazing friends, badass rockers, and for having me on your tour.