My ‘Gig From Hell’ – Shane Gann (Hail The Sun) Print E-mail
Written by Allan Maxwell   
Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:00

Recently seen in the Über Kingdom of Rock ‘n’ Roll supporting Silverstein, Hail The Sun are a Cailfornian progressive post-hardcore quartet who met when they were all studying music technology at college.


Like most bands, they have endured their fair share of “gigs from hell” – but there is one that sticks out as particularly memorable, as guitarist Shane Gann recalled when I caught up with him after the Glasgow leg of the recent tour:


Hail The Sun (1 of 2)


Once, in our first year as a band, we had a show at a bar in Redding, CA. On the day of the show, our bass player, John (Stirrat), was violently ill. The show was only about two hours away from Chico, CA, where we were all attending college, so we waited until the last possible minute to drive up, hoping that John would make a miraculous recovery in time to rock the house!


Well, he kept vomiting, so we left him in Chico, deciding that we'd rather play the show as a three-piece - Donovan (Melero) drummed the entire set back then - than cancel a gig. We loaded our gear into Aric (Garcia)'s pick-up truck, wrapped it up in a plastic tarp (this was our method back in the day), and hit the road. It immediately started raining, so we had to stop a couple times on the way to re-secure the tarp, using literal pieces of wood from the side of the road, wedged in for a more secure hold here and there.


We arrived at the gig, spoke with the promoter, and were informed that there were seven other bands that night, and, lucky us, we got to headline! Bear in mind, this wasn't a festival, where headlining is an honor, nor was it even a dedicated music venue. This was a dive bar. And yet somehow, someone had decided that eight bands should play that night, and that we, who knew no one and had zero fans, should play last. Well, we embraced the "honor" and spent the next several hours waiting, watching the other bands, preparing, making sure we knew how we'd pull off our set sans bassist. As the rest of the bands played, they'd pack their gear up and leave, especially as the hours rolled on. We couldn't even drink at the bar because we weren't of age. But we waited patiently.


1:30am: Hail The Sun takes the stage. Looking out at the bar, which is full of older people who are talking to themselves and drinking and not facing the stage, we start to play, two guitars and a singing drummer. The "crowd" area is barren except for a couple of "swayers" who I'd bet have only memories of loudness and their own flittering eyelids. Still, with a very full day's worth of anticipation built into each of our hearts, we played fast and hard and with everything we had. Rocked our own socks, certainly. Had a pretty decent time? It's tough to remember exactly, as it was fast approaching 2am.


Back then, Aric used to do this thing where he'd hit Donovan's cymbals with the headstock of his guitar, mid-song, on beat. It was an awesome look, and I'm sure it felt so satisfying for him to smack the cymbals along with the song. It was always a really fun moment for us as a band, especially earlier on when we didn't have much stage presence. On that particular night, though, with everything that had led to the experience, and the fact that the three of us had sacrificed so much just to be able to play a show for no one at two in the morning... Aric's focus was understandably skewed. I looked over mid-set, saw him hit the cymbals, smiled to myself (thinking everything was actually going pretty decently), kept playing, looked back over ten seconds later, and Aric's guitar is on the ground, strings lying loosely around it, headstock completely cracked. He had smacked the metal of the cymbal stand instead of the actual cymbal, right at the top where it screws on, and the impact had cracked the shit out of his guitar (a very lovely Mexican-made Fender Strat and his prized musical possession at the time).


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