Sunday, December 5, 2010
Ashland, Oregon, is on the opposite side of the state from Portland. So we had a long drive ahead of us. After we left the cool bartender's house at 2:00pm, we hit the I-5 and stayed on it. Future Husband, still suffering through his nasty head cold, fell back asleep almost immediately. I read one of the books I brought along until the light outside ran out. (Even then, I finished the chapter by the light of my cell phone.) After a few rounds of Tetris on my phone, I gave in and took a nap.

We rolled into Medford (about 15 miles north of Ashland), and stopped at our friends' house. There, they had a crockpot full of ham and navy beans waiting for us, with cheesy garlic bread and cold soda and beer. Heaven. Especially since all I'd had thus far to eat was a Nutrigrain bar and an Emergen-C packet.

After loading up on delicious beans (which I would regret for about 24 hours) we piled into the van and hit the highway again. The venue the guys played was a semi-underground, small bar/restaurant. Twenty home brewed beers on tap, though. (Amazing!) Apparently, the day had been devoted to the 'Civil War Game', in which both Oregon state colleges played against each other. The bartender apologized before hand for the small crowd, as it seemed everyone was drinking at home or tailgating because of the game. The guys refer to it as their curse, as they so often hear, 'This place was packed last night!'

We could tell they were going to be loud. It was a small room, with plaster walls and a concrete floor. The bartender even mentioned that as they were setting up. After a snafu with the cords for the PA (i.e. - there weren't any) they were able to get set up and play. The boys weren't in a very good mood, as they were all sick, and could tell they were going to catch hell for the noise level. They almost didn't play. As the first song started, the bartender came up to me and told me they needed to turn down.

A few moments later, during the same song, an older guy that had been sitting at the bar walked up to the guys, and started yelling at them to turn down in the middle of their song. The bartender came up to me again, and I told her that they would turn down at the end of the song. When G finished, the bartender was up by the stage, and he tried to explain that they were turned as low as they could and still be heard over the drums. G, tired, sick and grumpy, said, "Thank you, goodnight!" into the mic, and unplugged. The bartender and the small group of people on the couches in the back half of the room all made a ruckus. They wanted them to keep playing, and shouted that they wanted the vocals louder. The bartender, after getting the small crowd to cheer and get them to convince the boys to keep playing, told me it was only one guy that had complained. I went to the bar, and offered him a pair of ear plugs (I usually sell them for $1.)

Then the jackass had the nerve to be rude. As he was taking free earplugs from me, he complained, "They are way too loud." (In a whiny tone that was completely unbecoming of a man his age.)

Always trying to be persuasive and point out the flaw in someone's logic (and therefore make myself feel superior), I calmly replied, "The room is practically designed to be loud. I mean, no carpet, low ceilings-"

He interrupted and snapped back, "Well, then they need to learn some adaptive management and be better at playing in the room they're in."

He said it with such a condescending snap to his voice that I filled with anger almost immediately. I usually don't care enough to get into an argument with a stranger, but this guy pissed me off. I mean, he didn't even say thank you for the ear plugs. It was the fact that he patronized me. I hate when people assume something based on my appearance, which is what obvious this guy did. What, because I have messy hair and black eyeliner and I'm with the band means I'm some sort of idiot groupie barfly? 'Adaptive Management?' He thinks he can bust out some three syllable nonsense and belittle me? That I'll be so confused and lowered that I'll turn the dials on the amps down myself?

I tried to not let any of my anger show in my voice as I responded, "Well, there's no way to control the volume on the drum set. And with the acoustics of this room, it would be hard to play at any level that you'd find acceptable."

I turned and walked away, back to my seat and my free beer by the merch. The guys (finally plugged back in and turned on again) started their second song. After only a few seconds, the old fart at the bar scooped up his paperwork and left. The group of people that had come to see the guys cheered as he walked out.

Seriously. Who goes to a bar on a Saturday night to do paperwork?

After he left, the boys played very well, and the tiny crowd loved them. They danced at the front of the room, by the stage. People wandered in from the streets and called their friends to join them. Writing it down makes it sound like some sort of Hallmark movie of the week montage. But that really does happen when they play. I love it. There was even a blind kid that showed up half way through the set, and was rocking out. It was amazing.

After they finished, the bartender explained that the cranky coot at the bar was an acquaintance of the owner's, and that's why she was trying to appease him by asking the boys to turn down. Once he left though, everything turned out great. We hung out at the bar until it closed, with the various people that had attended. We had to turn down invites to go out to other bars and to house parties, since everyone was sick and we were staying a few miles up the freeway.

A lot of time on tour, (it seems) what looks like a terrible show approaching will magically transform into a great show. Last night was one of those, and was pretty welcome after the first two Oregon shows.


Sara Louise said...

It maybe a bit cheesy, but the Hallmark movie of the week montage was awesome. The only thing that could make it better would have been a slow clap

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During this course of study, you will come to learn much about the strange eating, sleeping and mating habits of the Instrospective Lori under stress. We will observe as she moves halfway across the country to start a life with her own Captain Wentworth, takes a year off of work to pursue a writing career, and incessantly references Jane Austen.
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