The Knitting Factory, Boise, ID, 10/2/09
The local rock station here (100.3 The X) is, as far as I can tell, a completely unique and singular station in commercial radio. They pick what they play! It's amazing. Like stepping back in time to the era when DJs could do that. Sure, they play a lot of the stuff you hear on standard stations, but they also spin bands you might not have ever heard, which is a service to the community not lost on musicians or any fan of good music.
The station had me phone in at the unforgiving hour of 7:40 am for their morning show. We were van camping at an Indian Casino parking lot and standing there in the orange glow of sunrise watching the reservation buses bring workers in they asked me about the glamor of touring. Some topics simply can't be covered in a morning show segment. Time is too short. Then, 7 hours later when we arrived in Boise, they had us come in to play a few songs acoustically in studio. Nice folks, good vibe, a bottle of Gnarly Head Cabernet, all around a great way to start the evening out.
Then, at Knitting Factory that night we took the stage feeling ready as all hell. Not 2 minutes into the second song my bass amp exploded. Not exaggerating. There was smoke pouring out of it. This is the kind of stuff I have bad dreams about and wake up in a pool of sweat. First show of a few weeks of touring and your amp burns up. Now what the hell do I do? People are frantically trying to re-wire gear so that the show won't be over. We patch together a quick fix for the show somehow but I'm left with the sick feeling in my stomach that my amp (yes, the only one I have on tour) is toast. And burnt toast at that.
Snow Patrol is playing here in a few days and I wonder if they will have similar amp disasters. The stage manager tells me that Better Than Ezra was there last weekend and their guitar amp shorted out during the show. Maybe the place is haunted? Fortunately they have incredibly professional stage crew who can fix that stuff on the fly so fluidly that the audience doesn't start throwing things at you.
Those guys are the best. Really the backbone of any show.
Onward now to Salt Lake City, where nothing ever seems real.
Old photo courtesy of Rob Wynia and Floater.