|War Machine Roger - Die Wasted - Gig From Hell|
|Written by War Machine Roger|
|Saturday, 10 April 2010 06:00|
In some way, every Die Wasted show could be considered a gig from hell, so I suppose there's no better place to start than with the very first one.
I had recently brought Die Wasted back to life in St. Louis when my friend Angela asked me to help her book a show for New York's Blüdwülf. With only a little over a week's notice, I knew I wouldn't be of much help in setting it up, but I still thought it would be pretty cool to put Die Wasted on the bill (even though we still needed a new bass player, more songs and decent amplifiers). Angela spent the next few days making calls and sending emails trying to find a venue willing to host this type of clientele on such short notice. She actually found a bar in north city that signed on so I went ahead and made some flyers, but then she changed her mind about the place, claiming it sounded sketchy (some months later, another show that got booked there ended when the owners had to pull guns on the concert-goers to disperse one of the greatest all-out bar/street brawls I've ever seen, but that's another story altogether).
With just a few days left to spare, we convinced another venue called the Fox Hole to hold the show. They had to bump off a reggae band that was already slated for that night, but I guess they figured we'd pull in a bigger crowd.
In addition to Blüdwülf and Die Wasted, we booked Züül (a central Illinois hard rock band), some mid-Missouri hardcore band, and a local thrash punk band. Meanwhile, we padded our setlist with songs from former bands, found an old friend willing to call off work to play bass for us, and borrowed a few amps (one of which had a charming propensity toward shorting out at practice).
At a Superchrist show a few nights before our gig, Züül informed everybody they wouldn't be able to make it anymore. It was too late to replace them so we shook it off. The morning of the show, we heard the hardcore band's van supposedly wouldn't start so they couldn't get there either. Oh well. But then, while heading to the show, we get a call from Blüdwülf saying their singer got arrested en route from Texas on a drug/weapons charge. Apparently, they got pulled over on the road and somehow ended up getting searched. They were trying to raise enough money to make bail before nightfall, but it wasn't looking good. That was the last we heard from them. We debated cancelling the entire thing, but after all the effort everybody had invested, we decided to just keep our mouths shut and act surprised when the headliners didn't show up.
We arrived at the venue's adjoining bar, the Atomic Cowboy (located in one of the city's gay districts), and there was already a stand-up comedy event in full swing about thirty feet from our stage, separated only by swinging doors. The management didn't seem to think this would be a problem and posted a sign instructing everyone to keep the doors shut. The last remaining opening band showed up and said they could get their friends' bands to fill the empty slots since they all shared the same equipment anyway (albeit some having to wait for members to get off work). I'm not sure how many bands actually ended up playing because I bided most of my time either backstage, out by the fire pit, or watching the comedians begrudgingly try to overcome the noise. There was a real good turnout but the sound guy didn't do much. He turned the vocal mics on and then just left without any soundchecks whatsoever. He had to man the tiki bar outside for $1 PBR night, after all. It kind of worked out well though,, because that meant we could commandeer the PA and play Rankelson, Loud 'N' Nasty and Kill Cheerleader all night.
We finally took the stage to line of "James from Blüdwülf got arrested in Oklahoma, so this is all you get." But it actually turned out to be a killer set and after party. The equipment held up, nothing got stolen (from us anyway, I think one of the opening bands lost something, but that's what happens when you leave the loading gate to the street wide open), and we only got a little screwed out of our pay. In true Die Wasted fashion, I guess we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and inadvertently headlined the first show we ever played.
-War Machine Roger