Woke up in rather a bit of pain – I don’t do well sleeping on strange futons. Nonetheless, a little stretching and a short game of fetch with the border collie took care of that.
Dan and I wandered off to a nearby coffee shop for some morning caffeination. We stopped along the way to marvel at various bits of architecture and discuss the joys of homeownership. Coffee, pastry and random conversation is always a good way to start the morning.
Heather went off to work, and Elizabeth and I went to get angry at the luggage people again, only to find that our luggage had arrived. There were moments of joyous celebration and a short drive back to Heather’s – no getting lost this time.
Well, not until we went for lunch. “Turn right at 500E” she said. We turned right. What she meant was “her right” as she approached from the other side of town. As we drove around a small residential neighborhood trying to figure out where the damned cafe was, a few harried phone calls were made. After figuring out where the issue was, we made it to the cafe, had a lunch that qualified as “schmancy”, and noted the large number of men in biker shorts wandering about. We also noted the hilarious new-age flyers on the bulletin board in the cafe, advertising all sorts of self-help treatments involving fancy words like “quantum” and “resonance” and such with a very obvious ignorance of what they actually mean. We were directed from there to a bakery filled with a number of rather decadent-looking pastries. Naturally, we had to eat something there too. As expected, Chuck placed a large order for tiramisu, pain au choclate, and some other custardy pastry. What was unexpected was the large pastry order Elizabeth placed. We sat around watching Chuck and Elizabeth eat bakery and talked music for a while.
Our loadin/soundcheck was at 4pm. Shortly before we arrived, the one radio station I could find that played anything remotely interesting began to play Erasure, which I took as a good sign. I mean, it’s a synthpop festival after all. Soundcheck was painless, we borrowed some keyboard stands from Randall (oe Eloquent/Section44), and I geeked out a little bit over the pretty nice digital soundboard they had rented for the event.
The doors opened at 7, we had our merch ready to go, and things finally got underway around 8:15ish. Monica Schroeder was up first. I had no idea what to expect, not knowing any of her material before this performance, and she was quite frankly stunning. It’s pretty downtempo, trip-pop sort of stuff, just her, a guitar or piano, and some subdued drum loops. It worked really well and holy crap can she sing. It was quite frankly intimidating to go onstage after that.
But go onstage we did. Sadly, they hadn’t provded bottled water or antyhing to the artists so I had the single bottle I’d purchased, and I was entirely unprepared for the level of drought onstage. About halfway into “Footfalls” I discovered that my entire head was starting to dessicate and chap. Somilarly, the dryness was not good for my vocal cords – I swear I dropped some serious clams throughout the set but nobody seemed to care. The crowd reacted pretty well, especially to the new material.
After we got offstage, all manner of odd things happened. First, I had children – honest-to-god children – buying our CDs and enthusiastically asking for autographs. Then I had my “Dan” moment where some guy came up to me and started a sentence with “Hey, I play electric violin too, man…” which nearly sent me into fits of laughter. And then we rapidly sold most of our merch. By the end of the night we had only a few tshirts left.
I caught the tail end of The Dignity of Labour, who seemed like a very polished band. I was a bit ignorant of their material so I wasn’t singing along like the rest of the corwd, but everyone repsonded well to them and they put on a good show. I also missed a chunk of Rename’s set because I was outside getting some air and watching Dan rant about BlutEngel (performer of the year!). I was also getting a kick out of watching the kids who had shown up for the venue’s normal hip-hop night get really confused by the music within.
I got to finally meet and chat with a number of people who I’ve known online for years but never (or in a few cases, only once) met in person, like ADD’s Todd Durrant, Breye and Jen from Provision and the redoubtable Brian Hazard of Color Theory/Resonance Mastering. Good folks all around. Really unusual crowd overall – a few hardcore gothiques, some middle-aged people with families, a college-friend’s ex-wife’s best friend, a few ravers, and someone’s mom. I was a bit worried going in by the all-ages, family-friendly side of this show, fearing it might suck the energy right out of the festival, but these people are for the most part hardcore fans overall – so this translated to a lot of enthusiasm (and a lot of merch sales!). Wasn’t a huge crowd, but they were pretty vocal with their feedback. It was a fun night.
Returning to Heather’s sometime after midnight, we ordered a pizza (we hadn’t eaten since lunch) and…well, that was a damn fine pizza.
I fell asleep on the air mattress, and due to the lack of air in said mattress and my slight top-heaviness, I slept on a headfirst incline and spent much of the ngiht dreaming I was falling. At some point I rolled off the matteress and slept on the floor, which stopped the falling dreams but left me with some bruises.