dreams vs. reality grudge match

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Unusually detailed nightmare last night. I dreamed that I was playing with a new band, our first gig, which we'd been told would be some kind of small-scale coffeehouse thing, no amplification necessary, etc. We showed up, and it was actually a great big auditorium with dark blue velvet curtains and a stage that faced maybe a hundred rows of plush padded movie-theater-type seats, mostly full. We were terrible--totally bombing. Our leader got really distracted and seemed to be paying attention to something behind the stage. Then she told us that we should try a cover of Larry Williams' "Slow Down"--I was somehow playing the lead part, despite the fact that I had an unamplified acoustic guitar in this dream--and got distracted again and indicated that I should sing it. I couldn't remember the words, but faked it. Realizing that I had to mach schau, as the Star Club audiences used to say, I ended up on my back, flailing my legs in the air as I played. Near the end of the song, I looked into the auditorium and saw that it had almost entirely cleared out except for a bunch of people I knew, who were all sitting togther at the very back, waving ironically in unison. (Sort of the inverse of the Best Gig Ever stunt.) I mumbled something and tried to take my guitar off, but the sound-guy's voice came over the monitors saying "oh no you don't, we've got a contract and you need to do another song." The bandleader was wandering off somewhere, and I looked down at our set list and realized that I'd just written down acronyms for all of our song titles, couldn't remember what any of them stood for, and wouldn't be able to remember how they went even if I did. Then I woke up.

Tonight, Lisa & I saw the Reputation play at Bossanova, then went over to Doug Fir for onion rings (you know, if you're advertising your onion rings as "tempura-style," then they should a) be served with a dipping sauce, and b) not have inch-thick dough, plus we're not dealing with potatoes here, a little vegetable crunch is a good thing) and to see Mclusky play. Been a while since I've seen a band whose relationship with their fans is that adversarial and affectionate. Also remembered what I'd thought about their bass player the first time I saw them: "I want his job." One- or two-note bass parts on a lot of songs (one of which he played entirely with his left hand), occasional appearances at the mic to scream "doot doot doot doot doot do-do!," Zonker-Harris-as-British-grad-student demeanor. Plus it turns out that "Forget About Him I'm Mint" is one of his.

When they played their last song, "To Hell With Good Intentions" (MP3 from Too Pure's site, and what a fine song it is), he spent the first third of it on his back and flailing his legs, exactly the way I had in my dream. It turned into one of those enormous feedback-and-drums end-of-set things, and a rather thorough and entertaining one--the guitarist stole an drumstick and elaborately snapped all his strings one by one with it, then started disassembling the drum kit while the drummer was still playing. One way to avoid an encore.


Matt Wright said:

Great post Douglas. It's always nice to hear what's going on inside the other heads at the show (in your case, remembrances of dreams). Mclusky is indeed wonderful, wish I'd made it out. Going out to the Subtle/Frog Eyes show tonight?

I've had similar bad gig dreams. Usually I have an uncontrollably loud guitar and vocal mic, I don't know how to play the songs we're playing and the audience hate us. I guess I've had real gigs like that too actually.
Re. an earlier post - my favourite Monochrome Set song is Alphaville - brilliant. Your post made me want to dig out my old L.P.'s so thanks for that.

Ian Chesal said:

oh man. i can, unfortunatly, say i have played a gig like that. it was supposed to be a fill-in for a friend. small bar thing. showed up with small amp and electric in hand and the place was expansive, the crowd was unruly and the goddamn band kept taking requests from them. idiots. spent the entire night begging them to stick to the list i got from my friend and fumbling through horrible covers of moodie blues tunes. i couldn't leave fast enough. never again.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on November 9, 2004 12:29 AM.

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