Being in a band is, in a lot of ways, like being in your stereotypical romantic relationship. Not exactly, mind you, but there are plenty of parallels you can draw between them. For instance, there is the initial stage of flirting/courtship, and the period of ‘going steady’. There is the period of going through what likes/dislikes you have in common.
And one day there is a turning point in the relationship where you do something together that changes everything. You know of what I speak.
For a band, one of those turning points would be playing a live show at a public venue. Buried in your practice space, safe from the world, you can make all the shit-rock you want, but the minute you expose yourselves to public scrutiny, the possibility is opened that people you don’t know and who have no vested interest in your happiness can critique your work, or your performance, or both, and they have no reason to be dishonest with you.
And so it comes to pass that Jagged Spiral has taken the next step on the path, and played together live on stage, opening up their work for criticism. After the show at Staisu’s, I chatted with a handful of people, trying to get a feel for how the show went, and trying to read through the platitudes and compliments. Not that I wasn’t thankful for the praise, but I wanted someone to tell me we sucked, or at least tell me we did something wrong, something we could correct to make our future shows better. That information came, but not until the remaining handful of us were kicked out at 2AM.
I trudged out to the parking lot steeping in about 16 be-fucking-low zero, although it seemed a lot colder because I was soaked in sweat, blood and beer.
“You guys were great!”
I recognized him right away. It was the guy who went up to Colin during our set and gave him some kind of advice. Later Colin told me the guy said Colin should turn down the low end on his guitar. I think the real problem was that I didn’t have my bass amp up loud enough, but either way, the guy was drunk, and for sound problems, you complain to the guy at the sound board, not the band.
“You think so?” I responded.
“Feh,” he slurred, “Who are you fucking kidding? You guys blew those other bands away! You’re gonna be famous!”
“But you should stop whispering,” he said, shaking his head. “Between the songs when you were talking to the audience. It don’t matter if there’s only a couple people here, you gotta talk to them like there’s ten thousand!”
I stopped laughing. “Really?”
“Hell yeah, cus’ that’s what you’re gonna have. Ten thousand people, and you’re gonna have to speak up. You can’t whisper like that.”
“Hey, thanks for the advice.”
And so, some useful advice, and enough money to buy each band member an imported beer at the next practice, and Jagged Spiral walks away from Stasiu’s paid, sweaty, and deflowered, but still wanting more…