Last night we had a simply ecstatic show in Dayton, OH. You know, you play a lot of shows in a lot of different circumstances, and if you're lucky you get a night where simply everything fires on all cylinders and we got it Friday night here.
First I'll say we're lucky as outsiders touring around, I think it's immensely hard for anyone living in a given place to gauge exactly how strong their local scene is. Here's my insight to central OH: if I were a record label A&R guy I would just swoop into Dayton and sign everyone I could before anyone found out what I was doing.
So where we played was in a very cool part of town at a bar/restaurant/music venue called Oregon Express. When we first walked in, the place was full of people sitting eating pizza and we had one of our "oh, geez, look at this" moments. But when things got going everyone in the place was completely into the music, everyone packed out of the bar area to listen, just a really intense "we f***'in care about good rock music!" vibe. That's a real treat.
Before us went the Gem City Saints, who are seriously great and rocking harder every time we see them. We played with them last summer in Athens, OH, and they're the ones who got us on the bill at very short notice. Russell, Ray, and Angie completely roared in this place, it sounded like major acts in NYC venues. Russell's vocals on his newest songs remind me a lot of Superchunk, one of our favorite bands ever. They're all great guys.
Then we went, and it was flat-out our best performance of the whole tour. Hard to describe it more than that. The sound in the place was great, the stage was practically designed for our two-piece act, we felt immensely tight and solid and on time and everything. Really pounded the hell out of everything, almost hard to recall exactly what was happening at the time. Stupendous comments afterwards, we had a whole mess of people coming up to us afterwards with really great and well-informed stuff to say about what we were doing.
End of the show was Dark Backwards, who left the both of us completely slack-jawed. Just amazing. These guys are both incredible musicians and really have an enormous, big, hard, powerful sound that they're willing to just crunch on through the whole set. Fantastic guitar structures. Eric's one of the strongest rock singer's I've ever witnessed. They just bleed a love of real, old-school rock. If you told me these guys were signed to a major label and touring nationally I'd believe it. And to top it off they're great to hang out with -- put together the overall show and supported our act and couldn't stop complimenting our stuff. That's the kind of night all this stuff is about.
Random added notes: This is actually the last band gig of the tour, great way to close it down. (Collin has an acoustic-only gig at a friend's party in Cincinnatti Saturday night.) After the show, I got told that about half the people in the packed room were other drummers (!), and everyone was super generous with saying how impressed they were with my playing. (So glad I found out afterwards, because I consider Midwest drummers to be uniformly amazing.) Also, our sensational sound guy at Oregon Express was Tim Berger, who's won an Emmy award for scoring documentaries, and may be in the running for an Oscar in music this year. That's the kind of high-powered karma we seem to be producing these days; can't wait to play again!