Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dream gig, even if there was a snag


I'll tell you, last night's show at The Paradise with Cassavettes opening for Kings of Leon was worth Scott changing his tickets to go home one day later. Thanks so much to the Jones for making that happen, because this night was a big step forward, I believe. Playing a free show for a band far bigger than anyone we've ever played with (they're British tabloid fodder!), I expected a lukewarm crowd. Not the case. They were LOUD -- at points, they rivaled some of our loudest crowds on our biggest nights, which is no offense to past shows because this place was packed with about 750 people (I forget what exact capacity is at the Paradise). Now, I don't want to be catty and pretend I have all the details over why Kings of Leon stormed off stage last night (see the Phoenix's take), because honestly, I don't know that much. But a few people have asked, and so I'll tell you what we saw and what I've heard.

First off, we didn't get much of a sound check, just a brief little thing even though we were told to be at the club by 5 p.m. (for an 8:30 set -- although we didn't care because the sound ruled either way mostly because those guys are awesome at their jobs). Most of this was because Kings of Leon needed a long check. Here's why, from what I can tell: The word coming from their techs was that they had lost a bunch of equipment on a plane in Japan. As a result, the were forced to spend what we were told was $9,500 on new equipment from Guitar Center the day of the show -- guitars and pedals, mostly. Each member of KOL's front line uses a veritable closet-full of effects and pedals (I got a good look at them up close and on stage), so obviously, they weren't too pumped at sound check that they couldn't get their normal tones. I understand this: A different pedal would make a total different sound, and it would piss anyone off. I asked Caleb, the lead singer, and he told me that they knew their equipment would be back by tomorrow (or I guess, today, August 1), and actually didn't seem as ticked as the rest of them (though this was before they played and the shit hit the fan, no pun intended). Nonetheless, the bass player was late to sound check and once he did show up, they gave him a particularly long check, presumably to make sure he was satisfied with the pedal options he had for the night. So, they left when we did our check (we heard they were headed to Legal Seafoods), and we did a quick check and had to set up our stuff IN FRONT of theirs (we had no problem with this, if nothing else, the Paradise stage is giant). We finished, I went to sell merch, the crowd called for them, and they showed up shortly before they took the stage (maybe 20 minutes after we finished), flanked by a bunch of fans. Their set seemed energetic, the crowd was definitely all about it, but it did seem brief to me (I was in and out). Now, from what I've heard, there were two groups of trouble makers at the front of the stage. One was a group with Irish accents and another was a group of frat-type dudes, who were on each other's shoulders and shouting for certain songs/harassing the band in all the ways bands hate to be harassed. Anyhow, one of the groups (I was told it was the Irish guys) was escorted out, but there was still a lot of animosity on stage. What I've heard from people up close ranges from a) the band was spit at, b) someone threw something, or c) people were just getting on their nerves. Others have said they didn't look like they wanted to be there from the moment they stepped on stage, but hey, I say that might just be the careless rocker look many musicians try so hard to obtain. Anyhow, after having enough, the band apparently threw down their instruments and stormed off stage (one person says Caleb gave the crowd the finger). When the techs began to tune up for an encore, another member of the crew walked on stage and motioned that there would be no encore. The guys headed out back for the after-party. On their way out, people seemed legitimately peeved that some hooligans had cost them a full performance (the words "prima donna" were thrown around a lot). I don't know if Kings were just in a bad mood to begin with and just had enough, but that's what it looked like to me. Either way, as they streamed out, people were very nice to us and gave us the "at least you're nice to fans" thing and signed the mailing list/bought merch, which was cool (hey man, we could use to profit from such a minor disaster in the grand scheme of things, I suppose). But as you'll see below, the night couldn't have gone better for us, anyhow.

Here are some of the many, many highlights for you (and hopefully some pictures will surface soon):

One of the loudest moments of the night was when we first walked on stage. We were asked backstage whether we wanted an intro tune or announcement, before we were shuttled quickly on stage. Now, my guess is that most of the audience didn't know there was an opener. Therefore, they thought we were Kings of Leon for about 15 seconds. This led to some uproarious applause -- luckily, that carried almost throughout the night. I quickly let them know who we were, trying to take advantage of the big applause.

This crowd was cool, real cool. They were just excited to be there -- free tickets, feeling good from the Garnett and Gagne trades earlier in the day. Everyone was excited. We were, too. There were some really positive vibes going, and a whole lot of Miller Lite (show sponsors) was consumed.

Kings of Leon's assembly crew helped us break down after our set, also a luxury I've never had. We had been talking to their drum tech earlier in the night -- he's a really cool dude -- but the rockers were aloof, and possibly understandably so.

Winner of most awesome crazy act of Cassadevotion last night: A few weeks ago at the 7/7 show, a British couple came to see us and apparently loved it. They talked to Scott about it, and since then I've heard tale of how cool they are. Well, get this... Because they didn't win tickets to last night's show on FNX, they paid $100 to buy tickets on Craigslist! And they don't even care much for Kings of Leon! That is the most -- by far -- anyone has ever paid to see Cassavettes. So, we were chatting after the show and they were telling me how big we'd be, how the Brits will love us, how they think we have to be the best local band they've seen, all this cool stuff that you never really expect to hear. So, they are emailing me a list of where to play in England, should be get our passports, and I told them they are guest-listed for any future show they want to attend. Unbelievable.

A small example of how sweet this night really was for us. On the whole, I think everyone had fun. It had a couple tense moments, but all in all, I think most of the audience seemed to have legitimately enjoyed it. After all, it was free.

SET LIST: Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / You'll Be Crying Soon / Golden Fleece / Trouble From The Start / On the Lam / Shotgun Wedding / Debts / Shine A Light

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7 Comments:

Anonymous glenn said...

check out this audience member's take, which is fairly good: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=22735933&blogID=294535338

01 August, 2007 15:15  
Blogger Pam said...

Man, I must have left about 30 seconds before this all happened (although I was standing next to that group of guys, and yeah, they were beyond annoying).

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I loved your set. I'd never seen you guys before, but I know that won't be my last Cassavettes show. Thanks!

01 August, 2007 15:52  
Anonymous oh no rob said...

i'm really stoked for you guys.

01 August, 2007 16:50  
Anonymous fritz said...

pics are here:

http://northeastern.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2116255&id=1801623&l=7859b&pwstdfy=d8556ded76b7f529067324485879d597

02 August, 2007 00:44  
Blogger mols said...

we were loud at the beginning cos we were glad the show was finally beginning. we were loud at the end cos you really really impressed us! seriously, i've come not to expect good opening bands, so it was a pleasant shock to find out you guys are brilliant too! hope you guys strike it big. those brits have got it right. g'luck!

02 August, 2007 11:30  
Anonymous glenn said...

wow, thanks mols and pam! very kind words. we appreciate them!

02 August, 2007 12:06  
Blogger Ryan of the RSL blog said...

Sounds like a long day for the Kings of Leon... I missed this gig - the first big show in town I have missed in like two weeks! I'll see you guys again soon. You are a favorite (but you knew that!)

You did a fantastic job recording the details of the night.

02 August, 2007 20:01  

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