High Noon Saloon, 5/20/2004

I’ll start by saying I had no idea Madison could have a venue this well-thought-out. It’s got cleaner sight-lines than most theatres I’ve been in. It’s really quite amazing. The bars are well-positioned, there’s no lack of seating, and praise be to the gods they have really tasty pizza available.

The show itself was all kinds of fun. Soundcheck ran pretty smoothly, and the band and I headed over to a cheap chinese restaurant for an assortment of deep-fried chicken dishes (Sesame, General Tso, and Hong Su respectively). We generally sat around chattin shit and feelin like an indie band.

Wandered back in time to catch the Gothsicles, which was for me highlighted by the lines:

I was faced with a choice
At a difficult age
should I bake a cake?
Or design a web page?
But in the back of my head
I heard distant feet
Depeche mode and kraftwerk
to a bhangra beat

“Left to my Null Devices, I probably would…” Brian Graupner is a sick, funny man. He also changed Coolio’s “Fantastic Voyage” to “Stochastic Voyage.” They’re complete goofballs onstage and are a lot of fun to watch.

Stochastic Theory went on with their new lineup and they were fan-fugu-tastic. Chuck has really, really come into his own as a performer, and he just commands the audience. They were pretty tight, the new tracks sounded great, and their cover of “Dance Along the Edge” sounds even better live than on the album.

Then we were up. we kicked in to Sad Truth, as usual, and that went well, although I couldn’t hear much guitar in my monitors and there was a popping noise in the mains. Adam swapped out my mic before Easier and that didn’t seem to help. Easier ran well, though, Dan was as always just on fire with the wah guitar, and right before the end there was this odd noise coming from the speakers, although I just assumed it was a sound problem. As Footfalls kicked in I saw Chuck waving frantically and holding up a shredded bass string. I killed the backing, and Chuck ran offstage to get the backup bass. Dan started some time-killing banter while Chuck got ready again and I restarted the backing tracks. We were rolling again, and it was fine.

Fourth track was our debut of Travelogue, in which I played the fiddle. It came off pretty well, although Dan couldn’t hear the backing tracks in his monitos (and I could only just barely) so I think there was a little drift towards the end. COnsidering most of the violin bit in the song is essentially me just jammin, I didn’t drop too many notes or play anything out of key. Then we intro’ed “Hourglass” which sounded big and symphonic as usual. ALthough at the intro I lost the backing tracks form my monitos and thus mistimed my bi aerial leap. I probably looked like a moron just randomly leaping into the air. Luckily Dan nailed his, proving he’s much more of a rock god than I ever could be. It sounded cool, the eBow bits worked well, and in general I thought it came off nicely.

Last two tracks were as they always are. Electrified I think got muddy in the middle cuz I couldn’t hear the backing again. I could at the beginning, but couldn’t later for one reason or another and during the parts without a strong beat I was kinda guessing. I think we did okay, though. “London” went well, although I oculd hear my voice starting to get a little strianed by the end. Which also makes me wonder why I picked the most vocally-challenging song to do last. “Wicked Game” started up, I thanked the bands, and started singing. I hit – or at least was close – on most of the choruses, that I could tell anyway as I was getting exhausted by this point and couldn’t concetrate too well. I was not to exhuasted to note that on chorus 3 I completely killed the falsetto. Oh well. I still nailed that last held note.

I’m impressed that Chuck was rockin out enough to rip a string, and as usual Dan was tearin it up. Sound was flaky, but Adam did the best he could and we got by. Club staff was friendly, extrememly generous with drink tickets (free pints of Huber!), turnout was good, the crowd seemed to be gettin into it…all in all, not bad…