Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 2 -- Kansas City, MO

Sunday June 30

Kansas City, MO @ Ernie Biggs

Rick's alarm (a Bob Dylan song) woke me up. Ventured downstairs to do recon on the breakfast situation.

Sure enough, free breakfast, with cooks doing up eggs however you like them. Eating that early (10am) is hard for me, but would spread the word to my bandmates and hit it up the next morning before checkout, as I'm trying to save as much money on food as possible. Sampled the coffee the apple juice from the machine.

The apple juice was good, the coffee tasted as if they had re-used yesterdays coffee grounds. Blech.

Did some sight-seeing with a friend of Rick's named Tina. She drove us around a bit, then her husband met up with us a BB's Barbeque, an awesome local joint with a smoker that has been in use for 60+ years. And it was AWESOME. One thing I love about travel, sampling the local cuisine. Had a bbq turkey sandwich, as I'm not much into ribs and red meat unfortunately.

Before our collective food comas kicked in they took us to their house to show us the aquaponic gardening system in their basement and to play with their dog. FRESH veggies growing, supplied by a big water barrel and pump system. Usually the barrel would also contain fish, which somehow gave the plants nutrients which would then supply the fish with nutrients, but they had unfortunately died. Garden veggies were doing amazing tho. Very awesome system.

Stopped by for a pic of the neighboring Chiefs and Royals stadiums, a bit more sightseeing, then back to the hotel to pass out. But not before drummer Eric Rietman was unfortunately mauled by a giant spider outside an art museum.

But the show must go on, and he was fine for the gig.

After our naps we suited up to make the 30-second drive to load in at Ernie Biggs dueling piano bar. Only to scratch our heads for several minutes wondering how we were going to set up. Dueling (prop) grand pianos indeed, and taking up 80% of the stage. Hmmm....

Eric used the house kit, and Rick and I set up at opposite corners of the stage, and felt strangely disconnected from each other, heh.

Setting up my bass rig is when the trouble started for me. I borrowed Heather Webb's Trace-Elliot 1x15 combo amp, which I have heard in use many times and knew it was awesome. Plugged in, turned on, and nothing. The amp powered up, the peak light indicated it had signal, yet no sound whatsoever. Shit.

Tried to contact her, was also in contact with Triniti who was also trying to contact Heather. Tried the pots to see if dirty, tried several of the half-dozen push buttons on it. Nothing. Shit shit.

Then went further and pulled the amp chasis. Nothing obvious. Pulled the speaker to check those connections. Nothing obvious. Shit shit shit. Finally heard back from Heather, she uses the amp every weekend. Shit shit shit shit. If I can't fix it or find out the problem, what am I going to do for an amp the next month on the road?!? Shit shit shit shit SHIT!!!

Used the Line6 bass combo at the venue to get thru the gig. I hate most/all Line6 products. But beggars can't be choosers. We began our first set a little behind schedule from me playing amp mechanic. But at least the stress of the amp situation took my mind off trying to remember the songs, and just played. It was a little loose for me, but felt good. Playing always makes me feel better.

During our set break my mood continued to elevate, as was talking to Heather and Triniti about the amp. "Did you check the Mute button?"

"Uh, what mute button?"

The one that was apparently engaged and was effectively muting the amp. Oh THAT mute button.

Well son of a bitch! I was laughing hysterically at what a dumbass I was. I didn't even see the mute button (half dozen buttons on the amp) nor did it cross my mind to check for one.

Note to self: when borrowing an amp, first check to see if there is a mute button before I tear the amp apart wondering why it's powering up but not giving any signal.

So Heather and I had some laughs via text, and Triniti gave me some good-natured ribbing for not fully reading the text she sent me earlier which mentioned a mute button, but I read so fast I didn't see that part. Duh. She often asks me gear questions and listens intently to musicians talking about gear. Had I not been so flustered she would have solved the problem for me \m/,

So second set even more fun than the first. Not a huge crowd but people there having fun. A good warm up gig for sure. And now I know how to get Heather's amp to work. Ha!

Afterwards checked out some of the closing act, a one-man band named AJ Gaither (sp?). He was awesome, Bob Dylan meets Scott Birham. Home made cigar-box guitars, and home made foot-pedal percussion. Skill, great songs, and SOUL. Just wow.

Wish we could have caught more of his set, but we needed to eat. Barstaff directed us to a nearby pizza joint, and we were escorted there by an enthusiastic drunk guy who promptly got thrown out of the place. Joe's, I believe.

Had our dinner, back to the venue. Chatted with some of the staff, caught another song or two, and then we unfortunately had to roll. Good thing we were all sober enough to drive the 30-second drive back to the hotel. I had 3 Boulevard Wheat pints all night.

Probably the second time I came to Kansas City and didn't get shit-hammered. And I've been shit-hammered in KC alot. Kansas City is the city that introduced the Ryan Bales Band to Jager bombs several years back, which sort of set a pattern. But that is another tale.

Back to the hotel for sleep before driving north in the morning to Wisconsin, picking up lead guitarist Matt in Iowa en route, and to reach our base of operations for the week in Wisconsin Rapids.

All in all, a good first official night of the tour!

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