I have to admit that I had my doubts walking up to the 2 Bit Saloon, the western themed bar set deep in one of Seattle’s many suburbs where we played last night. It didn’t strike me as the ideal place to be having our first headlining show, with it’s run down walls and flickering horse head sign, but I’ve learned by this point that a venue can carry a far more dedicated following than it’s exterior suggests.
Things didn’t take a turn for the better upon entering, however. Jeff, Corey, and I are immediately greeted with an ID check upon introducing ourselves as the headlining act for the evening. My heart starts to pound a bit harder in my chest as I think:
Shit… Nick and Brandon aren’t 21. Now what?
The last thing I want to hear tonight is that we’re going to have to pack up and drive all the way back to Tacoma tonight (or Lacey, as the case happens to be for Corey and I). Fortunately, upon inquiring, I’m given the only slightly less disappointing news that Nick and Brandon won’t be allowed inside the venue at all except for unloading, playing, and reloading.
"They can watch from outside the window."
Fantastic… After killing time with some local made pizza, an alcohol run and a few bowls, it’s finally time to get the party started. Dumbass Jones is an interesting setup, to say the least: a fretless, 6-string bass player who doubles on keyboards, a late-fifties drummer with a massive double bass drum setup, and what might be Kirk Hammet’s trailer-park brother on guitar. They launch into their first song, full of the beer-swilling attitude you’d expect out of a group with a name like “Dumbass Jones”, and the crowd seems entertained for the moment. I catch a glimpse of Brandon and Nick outside the window, earnestly trying get any kind of show they can. Little did I know that this would be a setup for merciless ridicule. The singer for DJ (who would later claim that he thought they were a couple of random freeloaders) takes every opportunity between songs to rail the lonely minors.
"Look at these lame assholes standing outside instead of listening to the music!"
“These guys outside look upset that we’re not playing more techno crabcore breakdowns!”
"You guys wanna see my nutsack?"
No nutsack, but they did catch a full moon from one of the roadies. I’m sympathetic, but it’s hard not to laugh. Metal heads, right?
CZAR is up next, and for about 30 minutes, it’s like a war just ignited in the tiny pit area at the 2 Bit. Singer Landon is like a man possessed, bouncing off of the audience and writhing on the floor. Guitarist Nick and bassist Peter seem to be engaged in simultaneous hair-slinging and tap-riffing contests while precariously balancing off of whatever surface is available on the 2 Bits pint-sized stage. Keyboardist Evan holds down mid stage with his spooky chords, and drummer David catches cymbals and throws tom rolls in a flurry of frantic time shifts. The crowd is stunned, unsure how to react to this cacophonous maelstrom of metal, but eventually warms up and gives them a strong series of “FUCK YEAH!”.
Finally it’s our turn. The stage is the one of the most cramped and hot I’ve ever played on, which only fuels our frustrated stage show. Nick and Corey take turns on the floor to avoid mid stage collisions, and somehow, between the pools of sweat, inability to hear each other, and glaring lights, it all works. I hear nothing but great things from everyone, despite walking off stage feeling like I had just played one of the worst shows of my life. Even CZAR, far more accomplished than we, offers to play with us as much as possible.
So what did I learn? Shit happens. Stuff goes wrong. People make you feel like an asshole. And there’s always somebody more talented than you. But as long as you go out there and do what you love to do, someone else is probably gonna love it, too.
So get out there and spread your love.