AUGUST 7, 2007
CAFE BOURBON STREET
This gig fell into our laps last week, as these things occasionally do. And especially when Samarkand goes 15ish years between times onstage, I tend to say yes to everything. Michael Million was previously detained on vacation in Florida & unable to reprise his role as guitarist/bassist/right hand man/left hand man/whatever, man. So Brian Dort made his guitar debut with Samarkand.... Brian did an awesome job absorbing & recreating the big boy chords of "Cathedral" etc, so hats off to him.
This was everyone's only time being at Cafe Bourbon Street, a typical campus bar if e'er there was one. Fortunately the soundman was accessible and open to all our wacky, drummerless ideas. He was totally accomodating, which really makes a huge difference.
It was also my maiden voyage as the bassist in the band Samarkand. Obviously I've played the bass on all (most) of the recordings over the years & played bass in Devilcake for several centuries. But nothing like this! And my only bass is the Yamaha fretless, which is fun enough to play on its own. But forget about trying to color inside the lines on "Bloomer" - those chords! - and "Beautiful Kiss" - the part on the G string!! - and all of "Eye" was a monster to play on fretless bass and sing at the same time. It felt like I was concentrating so hard I was about to go back in time or something.
Anyway, the crowd was totally insane. We were in quadruple figures, at least. It was a really intense crowd, especially in the back! I think I saw some old school moshing back there that got really out of hand. And the stagedivers were nuts, the security guys really had their work cut out for them.
We took the stage a little late for our liking but still earlier than it would've been otherwise, since, we were later told, we were the big draw of the night. Now, that part I'm not making up. They figured that since we were the local band that we'd have a crowd there. On a Tuesday night. On campus. After dark. On a school night. To watch Brian & I play seven songs with a drum machine! I mean, seriously!
Speaking of the drum machine we got off to a very hasty start when I couldn't get any sound of the synth module aka the drum machine. The soundman graciously supplied a stereo cable to run it into the PA & I assumed that it wasn't working, because I was turning all the knobs all the way up! Of course the problem was eventually located & fortunately it was just that I'm a moron. The MIDI cable had come unplugged. Who knew it was so important? Ha, actually I did know that it was important. It's just that this was only my second time taking that rig on stage, so forgive me if I don't have all of its intricasies mastered.
Intricacies like how to turn it on, that kind of thing. While I futzed with the drum machine with one hand, I slapped the bass rig together with the other. Literally. I was two-handing it the whole time. Michael Bill's bass amp proved loud & proud & perfect for the job, apart from when I started the first song with the vocoder effect frickin' CRANKED! Wow, it was like "Bloomer" went into outer space or something.
And Brian set up the guitar stuff equally quickly. He played my Silvertone Piece Of Crap model, which didn't sound half bad to me at the time. Mind you I haven't seen the video yet so the whole thing might've sounded like a long streak of wee-wee.
So yeah. Eventually the drum machine fired up, our guitars were in tune and we were on our way to rock & roll immortality. What?
I tried not to talk between songs because I used all of my powers of snark long before the gig even started. And we were done around 10:30. Thanks to Leonid for arranging it so that we could play & to the soundman for being cool enough to do whatever we wanted.
See y'all again in ...summer 2022. Probably still playing the same songs.