June 29, 2005
Johnny La Rock
I had a feeling about the date of this show, so I looked it up, and I was right - it took place on a Wednesday. So Mary Alice and I drove 2 ½ hours up to Cleveland and back for this gig, and it might have been the last time we did that. For a while I’d look back at the rate we were going in 2005-2006 (50+ gigs) and wonder if we’d wimped out by slowing down. I have a tendency to miss the obvious, which is that we were both in school at the time. Last night in fact, while watching A Different World, she and I were waxing nostalgic about the unpredictable schedules you keep in that setting, and the unusual freedom it often allows you.
So we drove up to Cleveland on a Wednesday night to play with pal Johnny La Rock, who was doing a solo experimental set, and a third and final outing with Colorforms. It was at a joint called the Rain Nightclub (which I can find nothing about online), which I remember had a stage that was awkwardly tucked off to the side of the bar. After we arrived, we were in the midst of talking to the bartender and our friends when a drunk guy at the bar yelled “Hey, why don’t you cut your hair!” at me. I chose to ignore him and turned away with my long black tresses while he chortled with a friend, but did notice later that he himself was balding, and lamented the missed opportunity for a sick comeback. In the type of moment you only dream about, he did it again. “Hey, why don’t you cut your hair!” he yelled. “Why don’t you GROW some hair?!” I fired back. He put his head down on the bar and laughed, and his friend cackled and gave me a thumbs up. (I think it was J Kyle Moyer from the Colorforms who turned to me and complimented my awesome burn).
My old friend Keith from my hometown was there, and I remember that specifically because he told me that the strobe light we were using on stage was making him nauseated. It cracks me up, because Keith has never sugarcoated anything with me. I remember asking him if he liked the album that we had recently done, and he told me without hesitation that the “electric organ sound” got on his nerves. Fair enough, Big Daddy. He was right about the strobe light though, especially in a setting that small, and I think it ended up breaking that night anyway. A crisp $20 for the trouble, and back to the ‘bus we went.
Mary Alice: I can say for sure this was the last time we drove to and from Cleveland on a weeknight. I remember discussing it on the way home.
Another thing I remember about this show is that TWO different people talked to me about the production value of our show. If you’ve been reading these as they come out, we were at this point just getting our shit together in terms of getting through a set without major technical difficulties. We were just getting some idea as to how to do the basics and now it was time to bring the quality.
I don’t know why people come to me with this kind of information because I’ve almost never had anything to do with sound quality, but I was told first by a member of the Colorforms that Pete’s vocals needed to be louder, across the board. People couldn’t hear him spout his hilarious lyrics and that was a problem. I can see that because without the lyrical content, the show would have just been really confusing. More so than it was when you could hear the lyrics I suppose.
Secondly, in feedback that dogs us to this day, I was informed that we need to pay more attention to lighting because people couldn’t always see the images. In response, we had all the lights turned out in the stage area, which as Pete mentioned was off to the side in this weird cubby hole area. The result was that it looked like Pete was performing in a cave or under a bridge or something. Neither the Spencer’s Gifts lighting effects nor the projector light did much to fix it. I think if anything, it made the whole thing weirder.