February 25, 2012
Sneek proved to be a very cute little hamlet, with cobblestone streets and a Euro-style canal running through the center of town. We walked around a bit and checked out the promenade, which was very nice. The venue was easily the nicest we’d played: separate dressing rooms for each band with two clean showers apiece, a home-cooked dinner in their kitchen, and as much coffee and Amstel as we could drink. The stage was gorgeous, the monitors and PA top-notch, the crew competent and attentive. All in all, we were prepared for a great night. It didn’t quite turn out that way…
Our set went okay, I gave it a B+, but I had problems in the solo in Desolate Supreme. After two good solos the first two nights, I haven’t been able to string it together for these last two. Later today I’m going to work out some stuff ahead of time to be more prepared.
After the quick changeover, I thought I had time to take a shower and still be able to make it backstage to cover for Aquiles during their set. I came out to the side stage area during their second song to find Aquiles frantically trying to get Mike’s attention (whose eyes were riveted to Tony).
His hi-hat had completely failed, the chain becoming detached from the pedalboard. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, and Tony’s set is like a freight train: once it has started, you get on or get out of the way. I asked one of the stage hands if they had a spare hi-hat stand lying around, and he actually did; we managed to get it swapped out in Tony’s keyboard solo, four songs later. Then the Mapex clutch didn’t fit the Tama stand! I franticly tried to get the guy’s clutch, cursing myself for not having my three spares handy – that won’t happen again. I thought we’d miss it but we managed to get it together in time for the next song.
The next thing to go wrong were the wing nuts on the cymbal stands. Throughout the show they kept working loose. The problem is, they can’t be tightened all the way down, as this will choke the cymbals and cause them to break more easily. Somewhere during the last song, Mike and I look up as Aquiles is tossing his 17” crash in our direction in frustration; it had worked completely loose and come off the stand, cutting his left knee open in the process. I got it all back together for the encore, and then sheepishly began to tear down the kit when they were through.
Afterwards, Aquiles was very gracious about it all, he really is a very sweet guy. We talked about how we’d address the issues tomorrow, trying to come up with a plan for the now defunct hi-hat stand. Breakdown was quick and painless, Mike again schlepping more than his fair share. During load-out Aquiles took the parts to the stand I’d found and started messing with it: by the time we’d finished, he’d managed to put it back together! We were both relieved and resolved to get a spare stand anyway, as it was close to a show-stopper.
Back on the bus, all of Tony’s band and Agent Cooper squeezed into the tiny upstairs lounge to decompress and commiserate. It already feels like we’ve know each other for years, and we all get on very well. We invited Daniel Pique to join us, the poor guy had his relationship with his girl come to an end over Skype earlier in the day. He’s a shredding guitar player and photographer, and a nice guy, and we all yukked it up for a bit before we started to head for bed.
On the up side of things, our agent had been predicting poor attendance for the last two shows due to NO promotion happening by the clubs, but we’ve had respectable crowds anyway, due in part to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook chatter. Next stop: Berlin, Germany.