Claire's tour diary for all shows previous to october 2004
Sunday 8/29/04The Atlanta Underground Film Festival (Atlanta, GA)
Ha. This cracked me up. The band before us got kicked out after their performance because their drummer was so vocally pissed that the audience was only 3 people strong. After they played (to 3 people), there was a long set of short films, and then we played. During the short films the theatre was full to overflowing. Once we went on, about 11pm on a Sunday night, there were about 18 people left. We were told to be there at 6 for sound check, but nobody gave us one, and it turns out the wiring is so bad there that it makes amps buzz real bad. So we asked our crew of 18 strong if they'd like us to play unplugged, they said yes. My folks were there and did a quick version of "Moonglow". Jamie was in the studio all weekend with Telegram, so we lacked a good deal of timing. My Dad's comment, "I don't think you were as bad as you thought you were." Thanks, Dad. Also, my friend Alex Neville was in town and he played banjo with us.
Friday 8/27/04The Evening Muse (Charlotte, NC)
This was our second show with Pyramid. I swear those men are SO good. I want to marry that band. We are gonna try to bring the to the Watt soon. So, we approached Charlotte with trepidation as we felt like our past shows at the Muse hadn't gone satisfactorily. Also, they don't really pay much or feed us, considering we have to drive 3-4 hours to get there. However, this show proved worth the drive as Pyramid's fans were real sweet, and the monitor/stage sound was great. The staff seemed much more relaxed. Plus, Mellow Mushroom is across the street so we can eat good sandwiches after we play music.
Thursday 8/26/04The Earl (Atlanta, GA)
Oh my gosh MY NEW FAVORITE BAND IS: Pyramid. They are from Charlotte, NC. This is peculiar that something so brilliant could be borne out of a town that I've never really liked. Anyhow, everything got all mixed up because I failed to read the contract that the Earl sent me. I assumed that Pyramid would be playin' the middle slot so lotsa folks would be there to see them, but turns out they were slotted to play first. There were only about 30 poeple in the room when they played but everybody there loved it and it sucked that they don't already have an album out yet for ME to buy. The next act was a solo performance of Charles Bissell of the Wrens. He was added on to the bill as our co-headliner. I think it was one of his first times doing the solo thing because we talked afterwards and he seemed kinda shy about it. His set was very loud and raucious which matched the audience's crowd noise perfectly. When we played, it got really quiet and that was neat. Everyone told me our set was too tiny, but I felt like it was getting late and people had already been there for so long. We sang an accapella version of Cameron's song, "I Don't Wanna." We also sang that at the Protester benefit. We didn't eat at Camelli's because Deb says the food has nose dived since it came under new management. Instead we went to the Heaping Bowl, and that food wasn't very good either. They changed their menu and the size of their portions and almost everything had meat in it. What the hell, East Atlanta??? Oh, also, BlakeSoundMan was on it like a sonnet, as usual.
Monday 8/23/04Protester Benefit (Athens, GA)
Well, this show (upstairs at Tasty World) was to raise travelling funds for a group of protesters to travel to the Republican National Convention. Jamie called up a few hours before the show to tell me that he couldn't make it because he had to go to dinner. That pissed me right off. But, I try not to let it bother me because it isn't Shep's first time, and it probably won't be his last. So, when I told my Dad we were playing this benefit he said, "Well, are you gonna send protesters to the Democcratic convention, too?" And I said, "No!" And he said, "Why not?" And I said, "Because we want them to win." He just laughed. This show ended up being a lot of fun and lotsa friends were there. I missed the final band, our friends, The Heroic Livers, because I was super sleepy. ZZZzzzz.
</b>Saturday 8/21/04LADYFEST SOUTH Benefit (Decatur, GA)
Get this:: There is a club called Jakes Toadhouse and it doesn't suck. Go figure. We played this benefit to help out the Ladyfest folks who have a hecuva job raisin' money for this years event. We played to a nearly silent crowd who ruled. The sound guy ruled!?!?! Any band that has every played a fest knows this is a true anomaly. For instance, take Athfest 2003, where the monitor guy was basically asleep on the job and we had nothing but feedback while our instruments melted at 2pm on a Saturday in June. I have pictures of that day to forever remind me of the sheer rage we all felt at no one in particular. And that is just one example of the crap that I've dealt with at 99% of the festivals I've played. One time Leslie Helpert and I went on a solo tour and played some festival in February in Charleston, SC where there were 2 giant snow machines manufacturing, literally, tons of snow right next to the stage and kids were sledding down this giant mountain of fake snow while our fingers went numb. Anyhow, after the Ladyfest set, we retreated to the gameroom at Jake's where we proceeded to make WAY too much noise over games of billiards and table hockey. Jamie and Will gained in competitiveness with each new glass of red wine. I got whupped bad by Shep. Then Shep decided we should go to some street where there are 4 parties in Atlanta. Dudes, they were freshman frat parties. One group was even wearing togas. No really, like in the movies. Page, Will and I split and headed to Will's parents' new house because it has a mackdaddy hottub. The lights inside it change colors. Magnifique.
Saturday 7/31/04 Neighborhood Theatre(Charlotte, NC)
Page and I agreed to play this show 2 days before it was to take place, so we didn't have much time to practice what could surely have been a fabulous duo act. I will not say much about it except that the crowd was very, um, polite. And we sang well, played guitar crappy. I played clarinet particularly horrendously, despite having gotten a few tips from one of the guys in Pyramid only moments before. We sang "twenty" for the first time live. That was scary. Actually, it was all kinda scary cuz that is a 700 person theatre with a really nice sound system and a great sound person. Page played Jamie's Coke bottle part on Hearts in Jars. Some guy told her that it was very "creative". What WAS creative was the act who followed. This was a 16 person ensemble made up of Pyramid and 2 others bands from the Charlotte area: The Houston Bros and Sea of Cortez . The music was amazing: horns, upright bass, 2 pedal steels, 2 organs, theremin, 4 guitars, lotsa drums and percussion. They said someone taped it, so I am sure we can get a copy. Very, very beautiful.
Thursday 7/29/04 Ashton's (Decatur, GA)
Sometimes machines turn on you. Behold: the very expensive Bose single column very expensive 4 input very expensive PA system. We were our own soundpeople. We checked everything, but that never really matters now, does it? Page was at a Cure show with Chaz Z., so the only things running through the board were cello and my vox. Suddenly, the sound started to waver like...waves. I tried to sing without a mic, but the room was linda big and full of people so I just alternated. Sara J. sang Love Like a Sailor with me. We decided that she can be Page's understudy. If you like sandwiches or homemade ice cream I urge you to frequent this business: Ashton's. Anna Kramer (solo) opened the show with her fancy guitar stylings. She rules but wouldn't listen to me about how she needed to sing directly into the mic, so I think the audience missed what I am sure were very poignant, heartfelt and moving verses. Dammit Anna Kramer, why'd you do that? So, why were we attempting to play in a venue that has a PA with only 4 inputs since we clearly need about 15? Why, to celebrate Deb's art opening at Ashton's. In addition to playing a mean axe in HFAGS, Deb is also a rad painter. I think she sold about 6 paintings and her wife said, "Baby, now you can pay rent and get yer teeth fixed." Ain't that sweet ya'll?
Friday 7/23/04 The Village Tavern (Mt.Pleasant, SC)
See... what had happened is that I suffered a momentary loss of sanity and any common sense of practicality when I booked the show, against the better judgement of Cary Ann Hearst & The Borrowed Angels, who would also be on the bill. Why, oh, why did I think we should play a show in a sports bar... in a strip mall. Dudes, the sound man, in response to my question about did they have anymore than 3 mic stands, said, "sorry, we're on a tight budget". When clearly they had forked over plenty for the big screen TVs, arcade games, pool table, etc. Someone from the audience told us that we "lucked out" since 2 months ago there wasn't even a raised stage. Have I mentioned, also, that Charleston is the LOUDEST town we have ever played. The place was packed by the time Cary Ann took her headlining spot, and all these people were there to see her, and paid $6 to get in , and still they talked. But, I've digressed. What I would most of all like to remember from this show is how we got a 1 hour sound check, and none of it mattered once we started to play our set. Apparently someone must have spilled a bottle of fizzy pop on the PA (which, by the way, only had 8 inputs) because shit was feeding back. The bass drum was so loud that I reached behind me and pulled the mic 5 inches off of it, and the soundman wasn't cool with that and put it back on the drum in the middle of a song. When Page started to play xylophone, it was so loud that people were wincing in the audience. Telegram opened the show to a good response. Cary Ann and the Borrowed Angels played very well, and sounded good except Cary's voice was muddy and the audience held their conversations unabated by the presence of live, badass artistry. What is most bothersome is that many good bands (Cat Power, Elephant 6 folks, etc) play this club, and the residents of Charleston and Mt.P support this club. Dudes, it SUCKS! It is a frickin sports bar, not a music venue. Too bad they didn't tell me that when I booked the show, eh? At least we got paid. Anyhow, all we wanted to do was go back to Folly Beach anyway, so we did. The next day we spent trying to surf on Cary Ann's surfboard in perfect, beautiful long waves. Sunburns all around.
Thursday 7/22/04 The Soul Bar (Augusta, GA)
Ah the Soul Bar. You may not be able to hear over the 60 people at the bar, but at least you are in a club with a sound man/owner who REALLY cares about music and the musicians who play in his club. Behold: Coco Rubio. Telegram was traveling with us for this show and the next one in SC. They opened and most of the crowd (and mind you only about 30 people were actually there to see music) seemed unsmitten with the Telgram boys, but a few folks were into it. For myself, I can only say that Telegram rules. Interestingly, there is another band named Telegram and when they found out that our Telegram was playing in SC the next night, they booked a show there too, I guess as a challenge. Whatever. That is weak. I say meet us at high noon, on the sandy dunes, with your harpoons.... may the best band win, suckas.
Friday 7/16/04 The Red Light Cafe (Atlanta, GA)
So... I may have ended this night on a slightly less than congenial note with the opener of the Red Light. The door count was 80, but I am pretty sure there were more than 80 people in the room so I brought it up with Bill, the owner, and he seemed pissed. So then I, my band, and Telegram left pissed. Cary Ann Hearst was already gone for the night to her hostel so she did not participate in the group unhappiness. Here is the deal. I am bitchy about bands getting paid because my Pop always tells me about when he was in bands in the 70s they always got paid at least $700 to play a show. He says, "Claire, I didn't take my guitar out of the case for less than $50 bucks." I guess everything is reversed now that there are so many bands begging to play, and club owners have the upper hand. Here is what I feel is unfair: clubs that take a cut of the door (unless they are non-profit) after production cost has already been met. That shit is whack. Did we ask for 20% of your beer sales. Um, no. And it sucks because The Red Light and Eddies Attic have amazing sound equipment and very attentive sound engineers. But they take so much off the door that if you are playing a 3 band bill, like we were, each band probably ends up with not more than $150. Which split between 5 people is enough for a meal, some petrol and some guitar strings. Thank God we all have those full-time crappy day jobs that we don't care about and which prevent us from reaching our full capacity as artists. In other news, we played well, as did Telegram and Cary Ann. However, most of the crowd talked through Cary Ann's set which is ludacris because she is clearly a queen bee. My folks got up and sang an old salvation army song accapella. A-okay.
Saturday 7/17/04 The Flicker Theatre</a> (Athens, GA)
A few days before this show, Donny Chambers called to tell me that the capacity for the Theatre had been dropped to 30 people via our local fire marshall. So, we decided to split it into 2 shows. I even made little tickets for the door guy to sell. The first show was, predictably, much more energetic than the 2nd show. Cary Ann Hearst played first, then Telegram and then Hope. We started at 8pm and did it all again at 10:30 pm. It was a long night. Sara J. brought me a tight, sheer yellow shirt from France and I wore it. I was very cute. Sara J., James Ponsoldt and a few others actually stayed for the ENTIRE night which makes them Super Troopers (which is the name of a movie that cracks me up). Most of the HFAGS managed to stay mostly sober for the duration of the night. Everybody loved Cary Ann and Telegram. We ended both sets with Layng Down The Gun, which seemed excessive, but Will was very demanding about it.
Thursday 7/1/04 Atlanta Underground Film Fest Benefit at MJQ Concourse (Atlanta, GA)
There is not much to say about this show except that it was for a VERY good cause and the sound was intolerable. All the artists performed well, but the sound system (soundman?) sucked. Even though we had a sound check, still there were major kinks. Chaz said they didn't have the cello on in the mains until the 2nd to last song, yet all I could hear was cello in the monitors. Ew. I am glad that for the main event they've got us scheduled to perform at the Eyedrum which means the sound will be impeccable. Jeff Rackley is the house sound engineer for Eyedrum and he is a badass. So... the Benefit... we played well.. but you probably couldn't tell. Oh, also, A Fir Ju Well went on after us and rocked real, real hard.
Saturday 6/19/04 ATHFEST Club Crawl @ Nuci's Space (Athens, GA)
I was so excited and I could not hide it because we were giging with Serpentfly and Telegram at Nuci's. That is 2 of my fave bands at my fave place in Athens. Plus, they got us backstage snacks from my fave restaurant in town, The Green Scene (also the employer of fair sister Page-O). The room was packed and the porch was packed, too. There were so many good friends there and many unfamiliar faces as well. Emma Kiser ran merch again and she rules school for that. Serpentfly opened and played a lovely set but the crowd was kinda talkative so I could see her distraction. Jamie and I played with her on one song. She wanted accordion.... so I fucked that up royally. We played about a 45 minute set with numerous sound issues, but all in all a good, but laughable set. Afterwards my friend David told me that he is naming his soon-to-be-born daughter after our band: her middle name will be Hope. Yikes, me n' Jamie almost cried. That is SO cool. Sigh. Anyhow, in the midst of that announcement, we were hurridly attempting to clear the stage for Telgram. It is well known that Athenians (myself included) have a habit of staying only for the band they came to see. I really wanted folks to stay for Telegram, but this was their first time playing in Athens, so they were unknown here. So, I planned it where Telgram would already have their instruments on stage and we HFAGS would just bust all our gear behind theres and they could start playing like right after we were done, thereby catching everyones ears before they made up their minds to go to another club. It worked pretty well, through most of the crowd bustled outta there kinda quick. There was a fair amt. of folks left to see Telegram and that made me happy. Their set was rad as always. Then we all packed up and headed to Tasty World to see Cinemechanica and We vs The Shark. Turns out that is where everybody from our show was, too. I was so sleepy though, that I couldn't really get into more music. Luckily I had a foxy James Ponsoldt to lean on. I just ended that sentence in a preposition. I am trying not to do that, Mom. Luckily I had foxy James Ponsoldt on which to lean. OR Luckily I could lean on foxy James Ponsoldt. James foxy luckliy I lean on Ponsoldt could. And then we walked home. The next day I was debriefed.... on the events of Will Taylor's evening with Troy (of Telegram) and Jamie Shepard. Apparently they all went for a very late night swim after the Tasty World festivities. For more scandelous details you will have to contact Will. Basically Will summed it up with these words: wet & sheer.
Friday 6/11/04 The 40 Watt (Athens, GA)
Our dear Will Taylor swindled us the opening spot for his favorite band, Rasputina. We were SO NERVOUS. I am a fan of Rasputina as well, but Will is obsessed I tell you. We all sat down on stage to play, yet where doth Jamie Shepard lie in wait for us? Harken to us, Jamie. We had to call Jamie's cell phone and he was down the street at Clocked. Typical. At least he showed up for soundcheck. Our set went well. Lots of our folks were there, and of course tons of people came from the ATL to see Rasputina. Will Taylor stated that this show was the "pinnacle" of his career as a musician thus far (but he expects to have more pinnacles). Next Fawn Fables took the stage. They were so rad. Costumes and beautiful voices, stage props, skits and a variety of instruments. We love them. They (Dawn and Nils) ended up crashing at our house and the next day Will taught 'em trapeze. Rasputina was flabbergasting as always. They are hands down the tightest band I have ever seen. No room for mistakes and none were made. I hope both bands hit it back this way real soon.
Monday 6/7/04 ATHFEST Sampler in Loco's Courtyard (Athens, GA)
God bless Susan Staley for agreeing to deal with this every year. And God Bless us for agreeing to play it again after we got shut down by the cops last year. This year Susan wanted us to go first in case the cops came again. It rained ALL day and I had visions of the courtyard turning into a giantic mosquito cesspool swallowing up our guitars. We didn't know if the concert was actually going to take place until about 1 hour before showtime. When we got there nothing was set up and Susan was sweeping water off the stage. The soundman was inadequate just like last year and the year before that when Maple Yum-Yum played. In addition to that incompetence, Page's Fender was crystal clearly recieving and amplifying our local WUOG 90.5 FM. Luckily it was our favorite show: Who Put The Bomp? Oh, and Shep was AWOL. Page and I ended up running direct. I think we only played about 4 songs with lots of feedback and low bassy undertones. My best and honest friend, Allison Grimes, said the first song sounded like ass, but the set got progressivly better. I guess that is what happens when the sound guy decides to "wing it". We didn't stick around for the rest of the acts because we were holding an emergency band practice to prepare for our date with Rasputina...
Saturday 5/22/04 The Healing Arts Ctr (Athens, GA)
There are only a few rooms we have ever played where I can really sing loud and not worry about the mics peaking out because there are NO mics. This is one of those places. It is very relaxing, unless you are a dumbass and drink some wine before you are to perform, thus inebriating your brain and hands so that they malfunction and make you giggle. Hello. My name is Claire Campbell and I am a dumbass. I could feel myself blushing. I stopped and started 3 songs at least. This is maddening for Will who is classically trained and lectured me afterwards: "You NEVER start and stop a song, Claire, NEVER." But I informed him that I am just one of those people who stops a song if it isn't unfolding according to my subconscious musical (devious) plan. My embarassment, I might add, was resurrected several hours post-show by the realization that the parental units of my crush were present at said show and I didn't recognize them because my brain was so loopy. Thank God for people like Patrick Sprague who sit near the stage and operate as a focal point. Apparently after the show, he and Will went to some party where nudity was encouraged in the baby pool. Ew. We played 2 new songs: Temporary and Beautiful by DearDebDavis and D. Bloom by me. I wanted to play Twenty (Page's new song which is almost ready to be unleashed on the Athenian public), but the band refused. Only Page and Jamie played on D. Bloom because Deb and Will were scared... and scarred. Leslie Serpentfly opened and played a sweet, gorgeous set. I love to just sit and listen to her talk. Everybody took their shoes off and drank wine. The next day I recieved this e-mail from someone who attended the show:
"i think that sometimes red wine tastes better in paper cups. like when you're sitting on the polished hardwood floor of the healing arts centre and hope for agoldensummer is playing and nobody's wearing any shoes and one whole wall is covered with mirrors so you can observe the entire scene from an outsider's perspective, as though watching a vibrant film, but still be a part of the intimacy and community of the moment. when there's a glowing fish tank in the wall directly behind the drummer, and local art above the enormous windows, and it doesn't matter that the ordinary, wooden ceiling fans fracture the otherwise mystical ambiance of the room. because this is the South, and it's summer, and as claire sings of collard greens, malt liquor, and God, the reason we are all here is somehow revealed to you. imperfections are meaningless, void. there is comfort, hope, joy. as the smiling campbell sisters sing "i play music because i'm in love with silence and sound," you are lifted with them and you understand that it's everyone who is making the music. the experience is both humbling and exalting. when the air is warm and thick, when the faces are familiar, you can't be sure of the exact cause of such headiness. but you are infinitely grateful to be sitting on that shiny floor, holding a paper cup filled with wine... thank you so much, emily"
Friday 5/21/04 The Earl (Atlanta, GA)
This show was packed. Even Reba came from Charleston, SC. We ate out on the deck at Camelli's with Serpentfly and her friend, plus Blake D. was back in town from Germany. The show opened with Telegram (Jamie's other band). It is hard to describe how much I like Telegram. There is a lot of passion and knowledge in that band. Also, it should be noted that Jamie was sober at this point in the evening. Troy's parents were in the audience and he played their favorite song. I saw his Mom take off her glasses and wipe her eyes 4 times. So sweet. Elevado was in the second slot. What a kick ass band. That was my first time seeing them and I want to try and describe them for the people but it is an impossibility. They rock, yet the music is so smart. Not mathy, though. Hmmm. Anyhow, it was good and also Kitty Snyder and her right hand lady sang on a coupla songs. Serpentfly took the stage next amidst a very loud crowd. But there was a large semi-circle barrier of folks who were into what she was doing. She even told some guy to come up and fight her when he screamed "Shut the fuck up!". Turns out that he yelling at the talkers , not the performer. We headlined and I was suprised to see that most people lasted the duration. What stamina these Atlantans have. So now, Jamie was WASTED. Will says he is sure Jamie drank a whole bottle of wine and started in on liquer drinks. I believe him. We all played well with the exception of a few drum rolls and some whacked cello notes. I think I have almost gotten Will to guarantee me that he'll purchase an amp for his cello. God willing. After the show Jamie bee-lined it backstage. I found him on the velvet couch with his head in his hands apologizing profusely to whoever would listen that he was so sorry and would never drink again before a show, etc. I'll believe it when I see it. Troy sang Laying Down The Gun with us and Reba got some real good photos which will be up soon.
Saturday 5/1/04 MAY DAY FEST at 666 Pulaski (Athens, GA)
This fest was so rad. The day started at 3pm with a seminar on DIY bike repair. Then we proceeded down to the backyard for a silkscreening lesson from Elisha. After that massive quantities of food were served. Tons of folks were there. My rock star crush was there (dude from Carrie Nations, but he doesn't know I exist). SO many folks played: Madeline, Milk Crate Rustlers, Zumm Zumm, The Gerbils and more. We all performed in the unfinished basement. The crowd sat or stood on mulch. After a few acts, we were given a short class in homebrewing of beer and wine. The folks at 666 sure are sweeties. They assembled a climbing wall to the side of their house which EVERYBODY tried. The next day I woke up with weird pains in my stomach muscles, which I didn't expect. Also, they have dirt bike hills. One very adept drunk bicycler (the very one who gave the DIY lesson) jumped 4 hills and almost cleared a flaming wooden plank. He lived to tell about it. We climbed on the trains that kept stopping next to their house. I stayed there for at least 8 hours. I got to hear Madeline perform her rap song. It was scandelous. So our set was stupid. Deb was still in NYC and Jamie was at a bachelor party, so it was just me, Page, Will and all the folks who knew the words to our songs (mainly Kat Noe and Patrick Sprague). There was a vocal mic each for Page and I, plus we had our amps, but will went w/o amplification and just played really loud. We were all out of tune. Halfway through our set the other members of Page's punk band, Aspertame Finnsh, took the stage. They played two songs. All I could hear was Cameron playing the guitar. I could see Page and Dreamy Jamie's lips moving, but no sound floated out. Then we played two more songs and called it quits so Zumm Zumm could get the party started.
Friday 4/30/04 FREE TEXAS FEST at Project Space 211 (Winston-Salem, NC)
PS211 is officially my new favorite place to play, although we probably won't be asked back considering the caliber of our performance. Deb was in the big apple with her bro, so the other 4 of us drove 5 hours to Winston-Salem. We had a long discussion of why it is that whenever one gets off the phone with his/her parents one feels an inclination to violently pound inanimate objects. We arrived 1.5 hours after we were supposed to be there, so they had to bump us to another time slot. We are asses. Then Will and Jamie proceeded to consume overly adequate doses of red wine. We hadn't played together for a month and were very out o' practice. Will and Page hit many bad notes. I felt like my voice was weak. But aside from the fact that we sucked, this festival and the space were brilliant. PS211 is an experiment in communal living and business operation. About 16 folks live upstairs (an old meat packing plant), and the bottom half is a club/coffee shop/common area. They fed us and providede space for people to crash or camp out. When we arrived we were lucky enough to catch the Devil Music Ensemble performing their score to an old silent film. Our good friends, The Hellblinki Sextet, performed on the outdoor stage and raised a ruckkus! Another band that kicked it was des_ark. Oh my god they were powerful. Just a drummer and a guitarist. We made $20 which almost covered half of the gas it took to get there. After we were there for 5 hours, we drove back another 5 hours. Page and I took turns at the wheel. Will and Jamie passed out behind us. At some point Jamie decided to invent a nest for himself on top of all the gear and slept quite nicely there.
Saturday 3/27/04 The Soul Bar (Augusta, GA)
Coco did us right again. It is such a pleasure to travel to the Soul Bar because we know that there will be food and drinks and smilling faces when we get there. The club bought a new soundboard and everything ran much more smoothly because of it. After we soundchecked we got sent ovr to the BeesKnees for dinner. We were so excited to find out that it was a tapas bar. It was the first good food we'd had in Augusta the whole time we've been playin there. Miles and Wes, of The Kilpatrick Project, joined us at our table. They had some rich woman's cell phone that could take pictures so I tried to take a picture of my breast but it was too dark inside my shirt. Her loss. When we got back to the club, Audition w/ max Reinhardt had just finished sound checking. They played a great set. Totally together and wowed the audience. Many people got their CD and will come to see them again, I'm sure. We played fairly well, but the monitor mix wasn't perfect. It is so hard to sound check in a dead silent room and then expect everything to work when the room is full of loud people. Anyhow, Will played a rad cello solo on Whiskey River. All of us were very sleepy. Page is our champion late night driver. She drinks big cups of crapuccino and eats Saltines and somehow doesn't nod off at 3am on a long dark highway. For some reason, late night driving talk wandered into the rather tabboo subject of enemas for pleasure. And that is really all I want to say about it. It kept us awake, so I guess that is all that matters.
Saturday 3/27/04 The Breast Fest 2004 at Tasty World (Athens, GA)
Hell yeah to Tasty World for once again hosting the main event of our dear Breast Fest. We played a good, rather haphazard set. Tim the soundman had a helluva time keeping up with all the mic switching we got into, but he managed us well. Kat Noe thinks we are cursed at Tasty World because none of our shows ever sound good there. I think it just has to do with the fact that that club is not set up for acoustic instruments. It is a rock and punk club, and that is just the way it is, I guess. Sara O. was there in full effect with her prom dress and angel wings. We got to see three really great performances before we had to leave for Augusta. The two acts before us were SO good. First was this new, rad band called the Shitake Knights. They have a tambourine player. I love him. he just jumps around and plays tambourine. There is also pedal steel guitar and keyboards in addition to the std 4 piece rock. After the performed, Athens own Trapeze Tarts did 3 pieces. Those ladies are so talented and beautiful. We played next, and were folliwed by the incomparable male impersonator: Billie Jean. She performed as Steven Tyler. Rad.
Saturday 3/20/04 CD RELEASE at The Earl (Atlanta, GA)
Okay, so this time I wasn't so nervous. This show went much smoother than the night before. Blake is the soundman at the Earl. He gave us a super thorough check and our monitors were right on. He even made us a copy of the show. Telegram opened, and people, if you have not seen that band it is your duty as a music lover to seek them out. They live in Atlanta. Shep is in that band, too. Many people at the Earl had never seen them before and were SO impressed. We have a collective band crush on Troy and Rob. We took the stage around midnight I think. We played almost an identical set to the night before, just in a different order. I didn't fuck up nearly as much as at Nuci's. Actually, we all played well. That's nice for a change. I think we still have to figure out the situation with Will's monitor. Or else he has to learn to play that thing by feeling and not hearing. It is like we have to turn it up so loud for him to hear himself, but then anybody in the audience who stands close to Will's side of the stage can only hear CELLO. And that sucks. And it seems like even when we have the monitor on max, he still hits bad notes. What is the deal? Maybe it is a tuning issue? I dunno. Anyhow, as a band, our intonation sucks right now and we will be concentraing on that at future junctures. Man I just got sidelined with the tuning thing. Where was I, oh yeah. So my folks got up and sang an accapella version of "Callin' my Children Home" which is mainly known as a Ralph Stanley song. Not only did they silence the room, but they also brought the house down. They did so good. Apparently people in the audience were crying and calling their parents on their cell phones. Not bad, mom and dad. Then Hellblinki headlined for us. They were all very dashing in their formal evening wear and pale face. The only problem with playing at the Earl is that headlining means you go on at 1am, and that sucks. I was hoping to get them on earlier, but, alas, by the time they got on most folks had split for home. Still, they managed to impress the crowd that did stick around, and at one point several couples (including Will & I ) were waltzing. Charlie Graham gets a big shout out for taking the merch booth initiative while we were all eating at Camelli's.
Friday 3/19/04 CD RELEASE at Nuci's Space (Athens, GA)
Comrades, my one wish on this planet Earth is for us to one time play a decent show in our hometown. It is always something... Either somebody in the band has decided to get wasted, or the soundperson doesn't know what the fuck is going on, or the PA system is circa 1950 and there are no monitors, or we didn't practice. You would think that at our CD release show, which we practiced for THREE times in 2 weeks (which is a monumental number of practices for ye ol HFags family), that we could at least manage to pull off a decent 45-60 minute set of music for the kind people who have been expecting this album to be finished for over a year. But, damn if things didn't go terribly awry. There was occasional feedback fom the PA. Page decided to get up and go pee halfway through our set. Will played so many VERY loud bad notes, Page did too. I forgot how to play most of the songs because I was so nervous. Jamie and Deb held it down solid like they usually do.. except for that accordion part on Cried I So Hard. Anyhow, we played 2 brand new songs: "Laying Down The Gun" and "The Charles Edwards Song". Will plays banjo on The C.E. Song, and I play saw. It is a song that Page wrote. Laying down the gun is our new loud song. Many people picked up albums and t-shirts and this foreign dude bought a bar of soap from me for $2. All in all it was pretty insane considering the fact that the CD packaging arrived THE DAY BEFORE this show. And the t-shirts got screen printed THE DAY OF the show. Audition w/ Max Reinhardt opened the show and we love, love, love that band. They keeping getting better and better, as do Sanni's original songs. Very impressive. Calliope Fair headlined. They played like champs, but I think everyone was too exhausted to dance. Emma Kiser gets a shout out for running our merch booth for most of the night.
2/16/04 Pastificio Camelli's (Atlanta, GA)
Holy junk, folks. Chalrlie Graham is always talkin' to me about how she wants to sing in HFAGS. And we finally got to hear her sing. She rules school!!! Maybe one day she will start a project so that the rest of the world will be haunted and stunned like we were. So, this was Camelli's 2nd Anniversary Party. The only feedback that stuck with me was: "Not your best show." I don't remember who said it, but they were right. Will was in a bitchy mood, and that was only compounded by the fact that he couyldn't hear himself play even though his amp was cranked and directly facing him. But , whatever. It's all on film because Devon and his crew were there filming a Georgia music documentary. They were at Tight Pockets, too. Alan and several other folks performed. Alan's songs are so funny and sweet and I want to write his last name, but I can't remember how to spell it. Anyhow, Camelli's fed us and gave us some wine and money, so while it may have sucked for the audience, I had a good time. In other news, Will made out with Cameron in front of the cameras. They both have mohawks, so it was pretty hot. And you'll be able to see it all in living color one day, folks!
2/15/04 Tight Pockets (Athens, GA)
May I say that we were SO pleased to be playing a DIY venue. I thought we'd never get invited, but there was Theo with his big ass grin askin' us to play at Tight Pockets. Zumm Zumm opened and that is some good n' crunchy punk. Like buttery toast that you almost burned, but not quite. Then Madeline played. She is one of my favorite songwriters. I have seen her perform several times and was super psyched to be sharing the bill. Hex error played 3rd. If they had cranked it any louder I probably would've tasted earwax. As I have mentioned before (I think), I am ever so fond of Hex Error. There aren't many political bands left in ye old world, or at least not many good ones. We played last. Page and I had trouble singing in tune because we literally could NOT hear almost anything after Hex Error played. Will played cello through Zumm Zumm's double stack bass rig. We sat on our amps. It is funny, but Tight Pockets is the only non-smoking venue in this town. That is why I like it so much. And also I liked that Katherine Noe brought a massive pot of vegan chili and took her shirt off several times.
2/7/04 The Soul Bar (Augusta, GA)
Holy junk. We opened for The Hellblinki Sextet and they are my new favorite band, although I admit to still being obsessed with all things Telegram. Hellblinki ruled school. They all wear dark eye make-up and sing pirate songs and waltzes. At one point nearly the whole room was waltzing. Will Taylor was my partner. Also we did the cha-cha. We played well, but were so late to Augusta that we missed our sound check. Coco did his best, as always, but our set was full of technical squeaks and squeals. But, it was worth it just to see Hellblinki play. We liked 'em so much we invited them to headline our CD release in Atlanta and they accepted.
2/6/04 Redux Studio(Charleston, SC)
And Charleston reigns, once again, as: the town with the loudest audience. On the drive there, we thought to ourselves, surely this will be a respectful audience since we are performing in an art gallery. People will be quietly sipping wine while perusing the new exhibition by local painter, Bob Snead. Not so. Instead, I ended up screaming at the crowd during Quintin Nadig's last song. Our friend Quinn opened up. He plays very subtle and beautiful songs and these people were so many and so loud that I couldn't hear him. Around the 5th song I decided to sit on stage and accompany him on saw as I know how shitty it feels to be the only person on stage when the crowd is rowdy. Finally right before the last song I was bloody pissed and I stood up and yelled, "What would it be like if on Quinn's lat song everybody shut the fuck up?" I'd like to report that the crowd was startled into submission by my imposing and ominous physique, but alas they kept right on goin'. We played. It was okay except for this group of girls sitting 4 feet behind Jamie. They almost got pillaged. The good thing about all this is we got to see some old friends and make some new ones, and they paid us enough to almost finish our album. After the show Deb and Jamie slept at our new friend Reba's house, and Page, Will and I went with Quinn and his friend to some big mansion. Seriously. This house was huge and we had the whole bottom floor to ourselves. Page and I immediately got in futon and I was almost asleep when I heard Will, between sips of wine, say to Quinn and his friend, "So, who wants to make out?"
1/17/04 Zydeco (Birmingham, AL)
A few days after this show, we received this e-mail from someone who was at the Zydeco that night:
liked your ideas at your show at zydeco's, however wasn't the show a little
on the dirge side? a little more dance-able would have been a little more acceptable.
Let me just preface this by saying, I had seen two Downright shows, and both of them were all original music. We got to Zydeco and waited around FOREVER for our soundcheck. There was about 50 people in the room when we started playing. Most of them seemed really uninterested, but about 25 were up close to the stage and listening. As the crowd grew, the noise of the crowd was uncontrollably loud. Jamie has by this time finished off an entire bottle of wine and is PISSED off at these people. So he is just bangin away on the drums and we are all playing loud to compensate. Apparently at one point, some drunk woman walked up to Jason Hatcher (my roadie suitor) and started rubbing his tummy. He pushed her off, and she said, "What time does the REAL band go on?" And he said, "What do you mean?" And she said, insinuating that we suck, "You know, the REAL band, not this one." And he replied, "This is my girlfriend's band." At this point we were playing Page's song where all I do is pat my hands on my knees to keep a steady backbeat for the song. So, this woman, obviously embarrassed, looks at us and says, "Which one is your girlfriend?" Jason points at me. She says, "Oh, she's REAL talented, " and tries to pretend she is now very interested in our performance. Anyhow, so we finish playing, and suddenly the room is PACKED from wall to wall with beer swigging Bama boys and girls. Then I realize what is going on, this is Downright's "rent gig". As in, almost every song was a cover of a dance hit. Make no mistake, though, I love Downright and they are all badasses. They even pulled off some Outkast and Beastie Boys. But, clearly, we should not have been the opening band for a crowd of people that had come to dance and sing-a-long. Four HFAGS drove back to Atlanta. Jason and I drove back to Tuscaloosa. At one point, about 3:30 AM, Jason has about 6 beers in him and we stop at an all-night gas station/ diner for him to piss and get a coke. As soon as we walk in this table of 4 Bama, ballcap wearing boys starts pointing at me and laughing. So, Jason starts yellin' at them across the diner that he is gonna kick their fucking asses. I push him ahead and into the men's restroom. After he gets out and buys a coke, we have to walk back by the table and again those guys start laughing and Jason starts threatening them so I drag him out of the diner. We walk to his van (I'm driving, obviously) and the whole time Jason is like, "Baby, I will whup all their asses." And I am like, "Dude, there is a cop in there and we aren't from this town. You will go to jail." And as we are driving off, the 4 Bama boys start walking out of the diner and towards our van. And Jason is reaching back behind his seat for a crowbar talkin' about, "Let me just hit that fat boy in the head one time, Claire. Just one time." And I am like, "Dude, we are leaving because you will go to jail." So, we left. We got back to Tuscaloosa, unloaded the gear into the empty antique mall, and fell asleep in Alex Neville's cozy bed. We spent all day Sunday with Alex, recording the score for a new short film: Mistake #3. You can check out our work at: http://www.hexerror.com/image/Mistake.mp3
1/16/04 600 Studios (Tuscaloosa, AL)
This was our first show in Alabama. Several of the townspeople asked us why we had come to Tuscaloosa, and apologized for their town. I didn't feel like it was all that inhospitable. 600 Studios is a club/recording studio w/ out a liquer license. But, they did have someone selling Girl Scout Cookies. We opened for a really rad local band called The Bionic J. They are all kindsa crazy jazz. Our sound sucked ASS. Granted we showed up late for our sound check, but even after a full check, it was still feeding back. The crowd was very patient as the whole show, including sound errors, lasted appx. 5 hours. We ended up OWING THE CLUB money. Not cool for traveling musicians. We slept at my friend's house. His name is Alex Neville and he is the maintenance man for this bizarre 1930s hotel turned apartment building. It looks as if at ANY moment the whole thing will collapse. Page, Alex, Jason Hatcher (my roadie suitor), and I loaded our gear into the vacant antique mall on the bottom floor (Will, Jamie and Deb were all passed out in the back of the van). Next door was a bar with a big drag show going on. Tempting, but we went to sleep.
1/15/04 The 40 Watt (Athens, GA)
This show made me happy for 2 reasons. First, Flash To Bang Time opened, which means they are playing shows again. I hadn't seen them play in almost 2 years. They have a new member, my good friend Sara J. Ursery. The second reason I was happy is that Downright (Birmingham, AL) played the middle slot, and many people were there to see them. David Eduardo gave 'em a good review on RockAthens.com. We had excellent sound people. Very super good. And all of us managed to remain sober and alert, thus redeeming ourselves from the Flicker disaster last month.
1/10/04 The Earl (Atlanta, GA)
Last night was amazing. Seriously. Audition w/ Max Reinhardt opened. They have added a trumpet player and I really feel like that band has found its comfortable bond, if that make any sense. They have melded and are a unit. We can't wait for the album to be finished. I got there demo and am gonna listen to it as soon as I'm done typing. Envie went on second. Talk about a band flippin' a big 180 degrees. Renee has added a rock guitarist, and with electric bass and drums has created this dramatic opera of sound. As for the Hope, all the ladies were nervous because of the large (for us) amount of people in the Earl. So many good musicians were in the room. Too many to name. We had a blast. About a third of the way through our set, Jamie takes off his sweater and rolls up the sleeves of his white v-neck and I notice he has some gauze taped to the inside of his bicep. Deb says, "Did you get a tattoo?" and Jamie is like "Yeah." and I said, "Well, lets see it." And he takes off the bandage and blood red are the letters:HOPE. Man, I almost started cryin'. That is a good man, ladies and gents. Then we played Home Is The Place and I couldn't stop smiling. There was so much energy and sometimes it is overwhelming and makes me fuck up my guitar playing. But, I love it anyway. We did "Love Like A Sailor" for our encore. I am so psyched that our CD release is at the Earl.
12/20/03 Red Light Café (Atlanta, GA)
Well, at least it wasn't as bad as the Flicker show. I completely missed the opening band because I was eating fake meat at my new favorite Atlanta restaurant: The Green Sprout. That place is brilliant. Their menu looks like one from any old Chinese restaurant, but then it turns out that all the meat is really made of vegetables or gluten or tofu. Enough about food. I am hungry. This is my 6th day on only raw foods. I have 8 more days to go and then you should all bring me pie and sweet tea. I really like soysage and potato pie with lotsa grilled onions in it. Anyhow, so Leslie Helpert went on 2nd. She was amazing and I am glad there were plenty of people there to see her. We went on last and I thought we performed well, but Jamie will tell you differently. Page, Leslie and I sang "Cold, cold Bed" accapella with Leslie on low harmonies. Hatch played lead guitar on Hearts in Jars. We rehearsed it with him playing an acoustic, but when he got on stage I handed him Deb's guitar and that is what took the song to a whole new and formerly unexplored level to which we will not heretofore return.
12/18/03 The Flicker Theatre (Athens, GA)
Folks, if you were there, I can only ponder why you didn't leave. Sean Piazza played well. Leslie Serpentfly played well. We sucked. And what's worse is that dear David Eduardo wrote a great article about us that the Flagpole published to promote the show. So,for those of you who weren't there, the highlight was when Jamie Shepard picked up the crate of coke bottles and promptly fell into the PA system and then drunkenly announced to the crowd that his Christmas card to them was a mental picture of being in a van with us for 3 days. Shep was so off time on Love Letter that I actually heard somebody in the audience say, "He's off time". And I kept starting songs without counting everybody in, or forgetting words. Maybe we'll redeem ourselves at the next hometown show.
Alright, I'm gonna try to remember how it all went down in November:
10/25/03 Johnny Cash Tribute Show (Live on WUOG 90.5 FM)
People, practice if you can. If you can't then it is best to affect your performance with a degree of comedy. And so we did. Deb Davis, while she would not be in attendance, nevertheless suggested that we learn "5 Feet High and Rising". That song modulates after every verse. When a song modulates to a higher key, I usually laugh cynically at the composer's weak attempt to create the feeling of postitivity or emotion through physically moving the song to a higher plane of sound. Does this make sense? Technically I know it's all wrong. Anyhow I fucked it up royally, so that is all that matters. So, this all went down at UGA's radio station 90.5 FM. If you want to hear what we did you can go to their website. First Don Chambers performed, and then Joseph Plunkett. They both had obviously practiced and were very sincere and surely made Cash smile. Then we got set up. There were mics on every instrument, but I swear in the station's recording you can only hear the guitar and voices. First we did "Give My Love To Rose". Page played guitar, Jamie sang lead (for the first time EVER) and played vibes, Will on cello and I sang and played someinstrument but I can't remember what it was…oh, it was the singing saw, I think That went fairly well (but Jamie would tell you differently). Then we all switched for "5 Feet High and Rising". Jamie played some metal things on the floor with a mallet, I attempted to play my Dad's Telecaster and sing lead, and Page sang back-up. And here is where I got all screwy because it is very hard to read words from a piece of paper and remember to modulate a whole step up after every verse. People, it was real ugly and it hurt real bad when Johnny Cash back-slapped me for disgracin' his song.
10/15/03 The Soul Bar (Augusta, GA)
Sean Piazza Band opened and kicked out the jams like they always do. We wandered the town and got to see the Kilpatrick Project at some other bar. I like them, but not the bar. From what I can recall we played all our songs faster and louder than every before. Henry (the fiddle player for Sean's band) sat in for the whole set. Afterwards he told me, in no uncertain drunken detail, that we must be VERY careful when driving home because of deer. And, should we find ourselves in a collision situation, we should not try to swerve and avoid said deer, but should accelerate to FULL RAMMING SPEED thus propelling the deer up and over our windshield causing only a minor bump in our travels.
10/14/03 Jammin Java (Columbia, SC)
Do you ever want to smack somebody? I ended up having to run sound for the opener because the soundman had to go run a teleprompter for the local news station. Red Perspective opened, he wooed us with angsty love songs. People were indifferent to us and Red. The real fun did not begin until we got to the Ramada Inn Lounge. My, my, my. It was karaoke night. Nothing on tap, no liquor, and only 5 brands of beer. I ate a Payday and we all sang "Ladie's Night". Page and Miles Kilpatrick escaped into the hotel kitchen. The DJ sounded just like the baby of Elvis and Tom Jones. He weighed about 450 lbs and was shiny, greasy bald. He did a rock block of Cher songs. Ah yes, if we could turn back time. I slept with Jamie. Will slept with Deb. Page and Miles took the floor. At about 5am some lady threw a brick into her boyfriends windshield and screeched away in a taxi. The continental breakfast was 3 bagels under a heat lamp.
10/12/03 40 Watt (Athens, GA)
This is real hazy. It was us, the Twittering Machines and Audition w/ Max Reinhardt. Those are two of my favorite bands and I was pleased as pie to be on the bill with them. I remember that we grossly miscalculated how long we should have practiced "Cried I So Hard" backstage, because it sounded like monster truck ass on stage. Please forgive us. I remember somebody was drunk, and somebody else was high, and I think I remember their names, too, but I will omit them out of respect to the families involved in the incident.
10/6/03 Smith's Olde Bar (Atlanta, GA)
I thought Smith's had a baby-blue velvet curtain. What the hell? It was this lame see through white sheet. Rosa Believe opened and ruled school. Unfortunately this will be one of their last shows for awhile. A band from California opened and I forgot their… oh wait, it was the Heavenly States. I missed their show because I was backstage in our "dressing room" (i.e. broom closet with a cooler of Pabst) tuning guitars. People, it really does take me 45 min. to tune 3 guitars. From backstage I thought they were punk rock, but Jason Hatcher told me otherwise. Our set was mostly free of evil, although I don't think Smith's will ask us back, nor do we care because they didn't even give the touring band a few bucks for the road. Jason Hatcher sat in the front row and made me very nervous, also, my ex-boyfriend, Chris Risher, was there and that made me nervous, too. Boys make me nervous sometimes.
10/18/03 Candler Park Music Festival (Atlanta, Georgia)
We got there right as the marching band was weaving around the artists market. Daemon Records was in charge of booking the main stage. Almost everyone who played was on Daemon Records. We were the first stage act of the day so the crowd started out very sparse. However, people seated themselves on the grass and were very patient while I took forever to do things that should not take so long. And they bought lotsa stuff. My favorite act was Danielle Howle. She tore it up. Our set was rather spacey because of the monitor situation (as usual, very loud cello and not much else) and small dogs catching frizbees in front of the stage.
10/14/03 Independent Georgia @ The Eyedrum Gallery (Atlanta, GA)
Have I mentioned that we love the Eyedrum. We do. What a great venue. The sound system and the soundman are perfect. The room is full of art of every media imaginable. This evening kicked off Independent Georgia, which is also a rad indie music/film festival. The highlight of the evening was The Seabergs. They are an acrobatic poetry duo. They get into these far out yoga poses and hold them for the duration of the poem, which is read by the lady, while the man plays saxaphone! I have had the opportunity to share several bills w/ them and they always blow me completely away.
10/11/03 The Mezzane (Charleston-we-never-shut-the-hell-up-SC)
What is up w/ people paying a cover charge just to stand around and drink and talk loud. Why not go to a bar where it is free to enter and you aren't pissing me off. I like the Mezzane, don't get me wrong.. And I like the Soul bar. But, damn. Anyhow, we spent the 10th hangin out at The-Not-So-Hostel. We got a room there. They put two twin beds together in a room about the size of a king bed. We played Trivial Pursuit w/ the owner and drank Sake. And some Spanish man kept asking if I was cold and insinuating that if I was, in fact, cold, then I should get in HIS bed. Will is a loud sleeper so I got up in the middle of the night to go sleep on the couch outside. But I couldn't get out because Deb had fallen asleep up against the front door. I was gonna leave through the window, but she heard me moving around and woke up to let me out the door. I slept on the porch in my sleeping bag on an oily couch. i woke up to the local dog licking my nose and I looked down and all the local cats were sleeping at the foot of my couch. Anyhow, so we played the Mezzane on Saturday. Our set was okay. When we got there they told us they didn't have any mics or stands and good luck w/ doing your own soundcheck. Thankfully, the Skandals showed up w/ their own PA and mics and saved the day. They are badasses. The vocal harmonies are amazing and the lead guitarist is the most unassuming rad dude ever. We are very much looking forward to playing w/ them in the future.
10/9/03 The Soul Bar (Augusta, GA)
So, lst time we played the Soul bar, it was dead silent for most of the show.This time, it was not dead silent... ever. But we had a good time anyway. Ate crappy food at Nacho Mama before the show. Jamie is on the wagon so Will was the only one hittin' the free wine. We played decent and I didn't use the F-word or yell at the heavy drinking obnoxious bastards. The even put our picture in the local paper. A very rad girl named Paige let us crash at her house. Will has mild sleep apnea. Have I mentioned that Just when you think he is dead, he rises up to claim his glory. He and Deb took the futon and me, Page and jamie took the floor. Jamie has the feet of a dead woman. His feet were facing my face and they look very smooth and purplish. Sean Piazza headlined. Those boys rock. I got up to sing a few songs w/ him and I leaned over to ask him what the chorus was and he says, "I don't know, I just make this shit up." So I did, too.
9/26/03 Nuci's Space (Athens, GA)
I was illingly psyched about this show for months. Sharing the stage with Audition w/ Max Reinhardt AND Twittering Machine. Slow down heart. Max Reinhardt opened. They are getting SO tight. Sanni leads them all around. Everybody in that band does such an amazinging show and is so integral. I feel the same way about the Twits. Beth has this gorgeous voice, and at one point the whole band sings. Beautiful. Every band had an accordion and either upright, cello, and/or violin. I was so happy that tons o' folks came out, as Nuci's is a big priority for me as far as giving props is concerned. That org. has covered many counseling bills for me. They got the backs of every musician in this town and it is comforting. My only qualm w/ their room is that the shows sound good in some parts of the room and awful in others. I had to walk around in order to find a good hearing spot. But, that ain'