8/27/2006 Grant Park Fest - Atlanta, GA

I am nibbling on what is left from my styrofoam container of decidedly non-vegan peach cobbler. I have had this cobbler now for almost 4 hours. I bought it right before we performed today on the "ROCK" stage at Grant park. It is amazing how I can make a dessert last. Three other people have even had some, and yet at least 1.5 cups remains to be enjoyed. So, I realize it has been almost a year since I wrote about any shows that we've played, and we have played a ton. Also, though, we have been really focused on finishing the new album. We are halfway done. We thought we could knock it out by the end of May, but I went to Peru for all of April w/ Noel Johnson. I played shows there, too. And recorded. Anyhow, I am trying to get back into the habit of writing about shows because otherwise they will forget about me, and I them. My memory is full of buckshot and rock-salt. Dense crystals of Grape Pop Rocks inhabit my brain like stalactite and prevent me from remembering most anything from my childhood except a lust for the Dukes of Hazzard boys and Buck Rogers. I ate a lot of candy necklaces and ring pops, and in the summer switched to Push-Ups and Astro Pops. Can sugar be blamed?
Back to the show. We went on after Petrillo rellents, from Augusta. We've shared the stage with them a few times and were thrilled to do so again today. Every time I see them I feel like they have re-engineered themselves, re-invented a little something fresh. I wandered the tent and food areas ending up at the seafood restaurant that had marked their catfish tacos down from one for $3 to two for $1. Holy junk. TWO fish tacos for $1. I did it. And people, sometimes you get what you pay for. Those tacos may have been perfect when they were made at 10am, but I think 6 hours over a can of Sterno would make any taco lose its soul. Luckily there were vegan hummus sandwiches and gazpacho soup next door and I scarfed both down and then went to watch the soundman because, folks, this guy is a jewel. A genius. He is called Steve, I think. I have never, ever, seen anyone work a soundboard like this man. Imagine him if you will: white, mid-forties, grey/black hair in a flat-top buzz cut, tight black jean shorts, black t-shirt from some stadium rock show, black boots, black socks, ready for action, ma'am. He stood, no, hovered over the soundboard during Petrillo Rellents' rock show. He turned knobs like he was playing a keyboard solo with one hand in the air throwing up the devils horns. He tweaked a knob here, shifted the verb there, all the while stomping, swinging his hips and bobbing to the beat. The man was... ah, this man IS the reason I decided to start journaling our shows again. He deserves recognition for his ability to make sound-engineering look like 45 minutes of pure rock.
Now, during our show he set everything up, checked our monitor levels, put way too much verb on my singing saw mic, and went to pee. I was told that "everything sounded fine out front", but one stage it was muddy with Will's cello amp, which has nothing to do at all with the sound guy and everything to do with the fact that, two thousand years later, we still can't get a comfortable cello sound on stage. AAAK! But, we played well. Way, way, infinity times way better than the recent show at New Street gallery in Decatur, and also better than the Georgia Theatre show this past Thursday. Both of those shows were basically rehearsals for the Grant park show. We played a lot of new material that will be on the new album, and one brand new song I wrote called "Man of Faith". I wore a baby blue vintage dress that I have had for years and I remembered why a person should only wear pants when playing a saw.



Page Campbell