St. Vitus were the headlining act that second night but they were running very late, so everyone's soundcheck kept getting pushed back. To my surprise Loincloth did get to play a few songs, but not until there was a little scare regarding the whereabouts of Tannon's peddles which he had kindly loaned Confessor the night before. Again the theme of musicians not being the most "together" people crept into my thoughts. At least we are mostly harmless. There were the same sound issues from the night before regarding awful "slap back" and a wall off totally muffled, indiscernible groans and belches representing the guitar. Well, Confessor had survived the night before so hopefully Loincloth would make it out unscathed as well. I was pretty confident we'd do just fine. I hoped that almost blacking out from the fog machine the night before would prepare me for another smokey onslaught. If I did pass out, I was comfortable knowing there would be video forever preserved on people's Facebook pages. Hell, I might even make it onto Tosh.O or Ridiculousness! Worse things could happen, right?
Loincloth took the stage and things seemed to be moving along pretty well. I had psyched myself out about a part in the second song of our set. At one of our last practices before coming to Barcelona I had one of those brain farts that left me wondering if I was the guy who wrote the drum parts of our song "Underwear Bomb". For whatever reason none of the possible drum combinations sounded right in my head after I made my mistake that night at practice and I was frantically trying to recall my part all afternoon, up to and including the time we were getting ready to go onstage. I had done it right in my head a few times earlier that day but I had been second guessing things for so long that nothing gave me any confidence, even when I recognized that I finally remembered the part. I hoped that my arms would get it right even if all I did was watch, and that's kind of what ended up happening as we got to the part. I didn't panic or even stress over it beyond acknowledging that there was at least a one in three chance I'd get it wrong. The part came and went without a snag, but there were some snags just around the corner. Now I think they should have at least a parenthetical name describing a flawless performance just below "Day of Doom" to counter the suggestion that Doom would soon descend upon us. Maybe "Day of Doom ( Leading Up to an Evening of Brilliant Rocking )" or some such thing. I'll try and pull some strings.
Loincloth and Confessor have many similarities but there are many things that are quite different. Confessor use a more classic verse and chorus template when constructing songs, whereas Loincloth do whatever we want, when we want because we don't need to create a platform for someone to prattle on about their feelings of inadequacy. We don't play anything long enough, or very few things anyway, to have anything that really repeats a pattern. In Confessor if you make a small mistake you can almost count on being aable to figure out what the fix would be witihin the next few seconds. If the pass you missed was a short one then you know the next pass is a long one and you can be ready for it. In Loincloth those small mistakes can leave you flailing away in the wind without a rail or a branch to pull yourself back onto a firm footing. If you can hear everything pretty well it isn't usually so bad, but we didn't have that luxury in Spain. Craig's amp started to cut out in our fifth song and for a moment there we nearly fell apart. I knew something sounded different, but I couldn't tell what had happened. I began to focus on whatever the wall of noise was coming from my monitors that had been deafening me for two nights now. Once I began to try and determine where we were, I lost all concept of where we were. Changing your focus for a split second is all that it takes to create havoc in the world of live music.
That's the irony of playing such complicated music. You can't focus on what you're doing so hard that you are actually forming complete thoughts in your head. This caveman drummer can't, anyway. Any time I actually have a thought that plays out like a sentence I realize I just "missed my stop" on the bus, if you know what I mean. In trying to figure out what we were playing I completely lost track of what I was playing, so much so that I have no idea right now whether I ever played one of the parts in the song or not. Part of me trusts that I must have because I can't imagine what might have happened had I not, but I couldn't tell with any certitude what I did for about eight seconds. I know that Tannon and I must have been a couple of wide eyed fools onstage once we realized that we were the only ones still playing. I kept hoping that I could recognize where he was by how his picking hand moved across the strings. Had we not miraculously hit a one note break together we might still be onstage trying to figure things out now! Luckily Craig and Thomas also felt the clouds part for that one moment and were able to jump back in to finish out the rest of the song. That was a close call.
Our near disaster reminded me of the one and only time I ever went ice skating. I was the guy who looked like he was going to do a faceplant the entire night because I was nothing but an open jawed buzzsaw of windmill arm motions and random high kicks in all directions who somehow managed to continue sliding around in a rough approximation of the standard oval shape of a skating rink. No doubt many of the people there remember the guy who never fell, and yet was never in any sort of control of his own faculties either. Imagine skipping rocks on a pond and somehow your rock gets caught in an endless circle, bouncing time and time again. You keep thinking "Okay, surely this is the last splash", but it just keeps bouncing for more punishment. Eventually someone in our group got sick of the nerve ripping anticipation and skated across the ice to tackle me like some brute on the defensive line of a football team. I don't know if she ( that's right, "... she", as in my girlfriend at the time! ) had money riding on the over/under on how many falls I'd have that night, but there was something in her eye that looked like a cross between a mad man's torturous glee and the look of someone who had just committed a mercy killing. Yes, I did hear the familiar laughs of friends from across the ice, and perhaps a high five or two. I even saw some money exchange hands. Well, it wouldn't be fair for me to have all the looks, the brains AND the most bad-ass ice skating moves, now would it? I can't expect all of our friends to be able to keep up with my endless array of mad skillz. I don't mind making some of them believe that they can skate better than me.
I don't think I was the only one with ice skates onstage while Loincloth were playing. All the other guys said that any time they needed to be able to see me they turned to find an enormous cloud of smoke that had completely enveloped me and my kit. Add to that the always disorienting pulse of a massive strobe lights flashing directly at their faces and BAM! you have three guys all on the verge of seizures onstage, slack jawed and stupified. It was as if Obi Wan Kenobi had just waved his hand over the stage and suggested that "These are not the riffs you're looking for". I had thought briefly of unplugging the fog machine at the start of our set because it was within reach of the drum kit. It was coiled up beside my kit like a venomous snake taking a nap. I knew it could strike at any minute as I stared at it, weighing my options. I didn't unplug it because I knew someone would just be instructed to crawl back there and figure out what the problem was, and that could lead to some other unforeseen disaster. Maybe next time I have the chance I'll not only unplug the infernal device, but I'll hide it under some road cases! If I don't have my finger on the all powerful switch, I don't know that I trust someone else to keep me rocking and breathing while they are smoke bombing the place. I learned later on that before nearly blacking out from smoke inhalation during Confessor's set the night before, Scott had been very clear that he wanted the stage to look like a freaking space shuttle was launching in the room while we played. Maybe the next time he causes that to happen at a show I'll launch him from the stage! If you ever lose sight of me live, notice that the drums have stopped and that suddenly the singer sounds like he's quickly overhead, and then somehow falling towards the back of the room you'll have a leg up on what happened. Tell your friends that I just performed a "spontaneous vocalectomy" and watch the look on their faces as they realize you are the coolest person in the room. It'll be our secret.
Trepidatious is the word that best describes how Loincloth went about the rest of our set that night. I'm not sure whether knowing how bad things would sound onstage ahead of time helped or hurt. I don't think that the other guys in the band were prepared for exactly how bad the stage monitor situation would be even after I told them that it was unbelievable. It's hard to take people seriously when they say things like "It was the MOST-est of all possible MOST-s!" People always use hyperbole to describe less than fantastic scenarios, but this was different. It is also true that by using rented amps instead of our own which have been tweaked and retweaked several times over the years, there was very little about either band's sound that was recognizable at a nearly subconscious level. It may sound like a cop out but when you need to be able to concentrate and nothing sounds familiar, you good sir, are screwed!
Loincloth did have one other bad moment in which I prematurely celebrated making it through a section of a song that I had been a little worried about from the time I realized that my cymbal configuration would be nothing like what I have grown accustomed to with my own kit. I made it through the part in question, during which I had to jump to the far right side of the kit and back to do something I usually do without having to turn at all because I have a cluster of cymbals around my hi-hat. I opted instead to lunge for the china and crash situated over my floor tom to complete a pattern, and I pulled it off easily enough. "That's right! This is MY stage right now, poseurs!" Oops... I patted myself on the back too soon and forgot about the six notes between my stupid little pattern and the transition. Seemed the rest of the band neglected to follow my lead or missed my queue letting them know I had decided NOT to play those six notes at the very last possible second. Within a matter of two or three seconds it became obvious that we were about to head down a long, lonely road of confusion. We opted to cut our losses and start over, which is never what you want to have to do, but with the sound onstage as it was there was no way to trust that we'd ever be able to figure out what was going on and starting over really was the best way out of the situation. At least there was no mystery regarding whose fault it was. That was all on yours truly. We had stopped the song about 25 seconds in, and Monica asked later if we had cut an intro short. She's so sweet... That was a very nice way of asking "Do the other guys know you suck at drums?" When we started the song over I decided to leave my dazzling cymbal flourish out of the equation and we sailed right through the next transition like nothing had ever happened. Only my pride was injured, and Monica has assured me that she would still like to carry on as husband and wife. The guys in Loincloth may or may not be looking for other drummers. I can't worry about that right now. I have a lot of accounts to hack and videos to edit online before I start the brainwashing process all over with the guys in the band.
The remainder of Loincloth's set went rather smoothly, and the audience were very receptive to our brand of peculiar metal that was perhaps even more peculiar than normal that night. Tannon and Thomas both had several conversations with people who claimed that they were completely blown away by what we brought to the festival. I spent most of the rest of that night talking to people I had met the night before like David, who has posted comments here at The Poundry about coming all the way from Ireland to see Confessor, and Matei, who came with his mom from Romania to see both bands. I also had a great time talking to a really nice guy from Barcelona named Miguel, whose English was better than anyone else I had run into. We spoke for a good fifteen minutes before I ever busted out any Spanish, and he seemed to be truly embarrassed that he had been speaking English the whole time. Did he think I was offended that he assumed I only spoke English? I sure hope not! He was such a nice guy and was also in bands, so we had lots to talk about. We both had a good laugh about which language to use and I told him he should be proud of himself for learning English on his own. He done spoke it better'n Hell! Jose told me that you never see white tourists in Spain who speak Spanish, and that he got a kick out of watching people flip out when they realized my Spanish was pretty good. Speaking Spanish in public used to embarrass me but now I like knowing that being around me makes other people think about learning a language. The more people are exposed to things the less intimidated they are of trying to branch out. That's my theory anyway.
Despite the fact that Loincloth's set did not go as expected, we still made the best of it and freaked a lot of people out, which was the desired goal. We weren't recruiting our conquering army of brainwashed minions just yet, so our mishap was not as big of a setback as it might be later in our quest for Total World Domination. You'll know when that happens. You'll step outside to get in your car for work and the smell of smoke and fear will envelope you. Screams in the background will get louder and louder still as body parts rain down upon you.. You'll think you are beginning to have a seizure until you realize it's the distant polyrhythmic thunder of Iron Balls of Steel playing just over the horizon, where the clouds are darkest. Then you will have to pledge your undying loyalty to The Cloth, or whisper your last words with the hope that the hot winds of Loin Fire might carry them to your loved ones as vultures pluck out the smoldering nuggets of carbon where your eyes used to be until the moment you made your final mistake... denying The Power of The Cloth. Think about that as you peruse these photos from our set at the Day of Doom Festival. Enjoy these with your eyeballs, before it's too late....
Loincloth, Doom It to Me One More Time
Craig: "I should bring this dramatic lighting everywhere I go."
A slight setback as Tannon was abducted by aliens
Isn't there supposed to be a drum set back there?
The fog envelopes the stage as Loincloth prepare for their first song
Once again I'd like to thank Stephanie Rowells for her photographic contribution. She grabbed the photo of Craig in front of the dramatic light source and the shot of Tannon's body convulsing as aliens began their ever famous "nether probe" from which our guitarist is still recovering. I'd also like to thanks the lovely and talented Monica Shelton for capturing Thomas' silhouette in front of the great big, pink Pride Cloud that began to devour everything on stage, especially me! I'm not joking, I really couldn't even see my own hands! Monica also got this rare shot of me during a show. Sometimes those backstage passes come in handy! Thank you, ladies! Excellent work, and thanks for sharing.
There are more tales to tell of our adventures in Barcelona last month. I won't bore you all with such excruciating detail regarding the sights and delights sprinkled all throughout the city. I will be holding back though, as I could go on and on about what a great time we had, and all the things our trip put into perspective for me. There are other music related things that have been/are ongoing, and I will get to those very soon. I want to clean my plate of our trip to Spain first.
Tonight however, Carcass are rocking Raleigh and I need to see our old friends...