written by DAve Crespo
It’s been an amazing past four weeks for Spo. Since September 12th we’ve played Portland, Seattle twice, Park City, Moab & last weekend at The Hog Wallow in Little Cottonwood Canyon… Sounds sick right? A f’n canyon! I would really experience the canyon later in the weekend… Read on to hear about that though.
I also play with Scenic Byway, a trip hop band that’s been rocking SLC for around a decade. I’ve done this before… This is my third hip hop band & I’ve played with many more rappers in ad hoc situations too… I love it. I think it’s my love for Aerosmith that truly burns my blood in regards to rap-rock. It was ruined by Fred Durst & eventually Kid Rock when he went country, but whatever… Yeh, I said it, Kid Rock was good before he went country… well, to a point. “Devil Without A Cause,” is a great record… I mean, as good as anything that like Coldplay put out in that time frame… I’m gonna stop this actually.
Scenic Byway @ The Hog Wallow on 10.12.18
Spo finished practice on Thursday in our new space, Sweet J is what it is going by, and I said, “damn, this is the first weekend in a month that we won’t have a show to play.” Things change quick in SLC. Back in Boston, they have a saying; if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute… That really is more true here in Salt Lake, and even just situationally. Things change fast here in the desert. Last weekend they changed at about 5pm when the trip hop band I play in, Scenic Byway asked Spo to open the show at The Hog Wallow.
Now, I kinda feel like I manipulated this situation to happen… that’s not true, but it went like this. Tyler of Scenic asked me on like Sunday or something to ask Zach if he’d open the show. Zach does a sick set of beats that he makes under the name, Miirut. But, by the time I’d asked Zach and he gave me an answer it was Thursday night… on Friday afternoon Tyler was like, is Zach opening… and he couldn’t… Zach had some other raucous plans for the night… I asked a few acts to play, but nothing turned over, so Spo played sans bass…
In Night Mayor, a band I played with from 2013- 2016 or something I played without a bass. I had an elaborate set up to make this happen. When I drove back to Boston in August to get Pat, our drummer I grabbed a bunch of equipment including all my stuff to do this bass-less guitar set up. For a wedding gift, Sam Damask of Grand Commander gave me an AB pedal. This splits the signal. One side goes to a mixing board that washes out the high end & compresses the sound then it goes into an octave pedal, which Sam also gave me and then into a bass amp. The other side goes into all my guitar pedals… mostly distortion pedals, but now-a-days thanks to Novak also a cool delay pedal… It’s a lot of cords and I really should get a pedal board for the set up… Maybe soon.
So, we open the show and I’m all pumped to use my AB pedal set up. I did this slightly in Portland when we played at Twilight. The sound guy there was so good… He knew exactly what I was trying to do and it sounded great… The dude at The Hog Wallow was not as knowledgeable though. I’m not hating… they have what I call a Cover 2 defense going on sound & door. This is when you have a sound guy that also does door. This is important to be able to do at a venue. It saves money and if you add that up over the course of 100 shows each weekend night of the year it adds up… but, sometimes it hurts the sound… I’d seen SuperBubble at The Hog Wallow back in February and was wa$ted at the show. I didn’t notice what their set up was, but SuperBubble fuckin’ killed it, and it sounded awesome. I thought they had as legit of a set up as like, The Middle East back in Cambridge, MA… and they do, but I dunno. That place is great, I just went in with a bad game plan… I should have brought my bass amp…
The set started and there was pretty immediate feedback in the bass frequency. It was the kinda feedback that just never stops. The whole club was stuck in a feedback loop. Pat & Ashley looked at me as if I had the answer… I did, but I wasn’t gonna go and do sound as we played. Feedback loops happen when feedback occurs within an instrument but then that frequency is picked up by other or all other mics. The frequency that is feeding back comes out the monitors and then back into the mics and this continues over and over and over… it can amplify too and be real rough. If it’s a bass frequency it can even make you $hit… ok, that may not be true, but whatever.
We turned the monitors off and closed the loop. But, before that happened the Cover 2 sound man/door man had basically reset all of the mic settings on the board. So, we played the next two songs whilst the sound guy messed around with the board trying to get the original settings back. You’d think that this is a disaster, but this here… this is rock n’ roll. And, I think the audience could tell that we kept our composure through the rollercoaster ride…
I say this because we made 2 fans at the show. They loved us… and, when someone loves you when you are down a band member it’s like someone saying you look sexy or hot or cute when you have a cold… it just makes you feel a whole lot better. These two fans got our information and were blowing up our bandcamp the next day.
Performance is subjective. It really is important to not let your own opinion of your performance to not get in the way of it while it’s happening. My mother always says this in her yoga classes…
“We show up, burn brightly in the moment,
live passionately, and when the moment is over,
when our work is done, we step back and let go.”
In baseball, when I was a little kid, I’d get so mad at myself for making errors on the field. It would cause me to make more errors… In music, this happens sometimes, but I dunno at this point I’ve played so many bad shows, or what I think are bad shows that I revel in them. I revel in every show. You really never know when it’s going to be your last and it’s my favorite thing to do. Pepper Rose says I’m only happy when I’m on stage… but, life is a stage.
And, we made 2 fans… at least two. Making fans is huge. Connecting with people and making them feel something in this world that is filled with false connections. Mainstream music itself is one large false or at least forced connection. When a person gets down with what you are doing and saying in a song it is a true connection; person to person. Not Lady Gaga making up some bullshit that she can get millions of people to feel a way that she supposedly feels.
I know this one is kinda pointless… this blog that is. But, it’s more of it has many points. To sum it up though;
1) we’ve been playing a lot & it’s awesome 2) we played a last minute show at The Hog Wallow thanks to Scenic Byway… thanks dudes and; no hate to The Hog Wallow in regards to sound. That set was so fun and The Hog Wallow is one of the best places to see music in SLC 3) Each show & each fan is I guess a blessing… I don’t wanna use that religious word, but I’m grateful for each one. When you gain one fan it means that there could be another out there, and another and another and another 🙂
Lastly, I said that I’d explain how I really experienced Cottonwood Canyon… On Sunday, Scenic Byway shot a video in that very snowy canyon. We spent hours in our costumes, which were not warm in the 8 inches of snow that is already up there. I can’t wait to share that video out when it’s done.
Hasta Hasta! Eat More Pasta!