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The New Reality of Touring

by Reeves Gabrels


18 July 2009 -- Hey now. Sometimes sh*t happens that never should. We were driving down route 13 today in Virginia on the way to Onancock to play at the Flamenco, rolling past cornfields, farmhouses, and occasionally passing open truckloads of green tomatoes. And churches. Lots'a churches. As we drove, in the distance I could see the charred frame of a small house. As we got closer, I could make out a sheet of plywood propped up on an old car down by what had been the driveway. Hand-lettered on the sign were the words "KKK BURN OUT."


Just when I thought it was all Pleasantville out here... Think again.


And then sometimes sh*t happens that you would never expect.


Admittedly, we were a little concerned about the Flamenco club gig. We knew it was a small room. We knew it was way off the beaten path in, it turns out, a tourist and weekend vacation community for people who work in Washington DC. We had a secret suspicion that this wasn't our audience (whoever that may be), but I also knew that any day without a gig was a day with expenses (band, hotel) that would not be covered. Therefore, it was a necessary gig and worth the risk. We are touring on a shoestring, and every gig counts. Essentially, I will be lucky if I break even. This is the new reality of touring.


The venue turned out to be a really cool and funky little club/side room attached to a larger restaurant called The Flamenco. However, there were no microphones, no mic stands, and the PA was extremely small--so small, it took us a while to find it. The PA speakers looked like large home stereo speakers--a system made for karaoke. This was our Spinal Tap moment.


Panic set in. I called the booking agent, who called the promoter. The promoter called the booking agent back and said the PA was just fine. A combination of bad cell phone reception and missed calls contributed to the confusion. I had decided that this was not a gig we should do, and was rehearsing my conversation with the couple who own the place, to the tune of, "There seems to be some kind of miscommunication here..."


What made my decision harder was that Olga and Ales (pronounced "Alesh") seemed to be really sweet, sincere, and genuinely excited about us playing at their club. Then, Kevin made a very simple point: "We can do this." And Jeff pointed out that he could do the gig with Blastix instead of drumsticks. So I bit the bullet.


We set about stripping our gear down to a minimal amount, pushed the PA to its usable limit, and approached the gig like an almost-unplugged kind of thing.


It worked great.


People came, drank, loved it, bought CDs, and had a great time. I learned something about my preconceptions (and that the music works without massive volume). I hate when that happens. We couldn't have had a better time with our pants on. Plus Olga and Ales were the most gracious of hosts. The food at the restaurant was amazing, and they even gave us a gift basket when we left (though the bottle of bourbon will remain unopened until the next hotel room at least).


We would play there again, any time they'd have us.


Now if we could just get the KKK to stop burning houses.



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-except for the apparent doings of cowardly KKK $4!+h3ads- :rolleyes::mad:


Great gig report!


I'm glad that you (if "you" ever read this) went ahead with the show at the Flamenco; very "Rock & Roll" to hang with it like that, and great that credit was given to some nice folks there bringing live music to the public. :cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?


~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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The charred home and car really seems strange. My family lived in Chesapeake, VA (next to Virginia Beach) for 16 years. During that time, servicing electronic musical instruments; I made frequent trips on US hwy 13, including occasional ones to the Onancock area. NEVER did I see any evidence of such KKK activity. I worked in churches both predominantly white and predominantly black - never got that kind of vibe or attitude from anyone either.



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I'm thinking the KKK BURN OUT sign was someone's idea of a "joke," but even is that's the case, the persistence of that kind of sick joke is disturbing in itself.


Ditto on the great gig report comment.

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