Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Four Drumsets on Stage At Once | No Cymbals No Snare Drums Allowed

four drummers on stage at once
It was like a three day seminar on how to set up a drum set. I was the guy who had to supply three drum sets for the performance. No snare drums, no cymbals. There would be four drum kits on stage at one tour stop, and on the club floor for another. On top of that, the metal percussionist needed a place to work his magic. First thing we noticed, we didn't have enough carpeting.
The band played their warm up show in Chicago. We played on tiny carpets in front of the state. We moved around on the floor of the club like that old time electric vibrating football game. The string and metal section was safe on the stage. Drummers had their backs turned. We did okay. Glad it was a warm up gig.

Still, the circle of fans, now three deep, watched us from the start. There were sceptical faces to be sure. We started with an open jam. You know what that means if you are a musician: Good luck with the next five minutes. I truly believe that our lousy, mish-mosh of an opening jam helped make the first real song sound that much tighter. The smiles came out in the first minute. People were enjoying this, I was enjoying this! The sweaty percussion section was attracting to men for its power drumming, and perhaps the women liked to watch four drummers hammering the shit out of their drums, in precision, out in front, no apologies.

The drums were set in a semi circle. Anyone dare walk into that sonic booth? One person. She was in a trance. I felt like keeping my head down. I can't make eye contact with anyone just 12 inches from my drums. Man or woman, that close is associated with too much scrutiny. I hope to pull them off with just as much power as I have for the last four months, but do it with my head down, or eyes closes, sometimes looking to the left or right. I won't give that up. Finally, the trance dancing woman was pulled back by her boyfriend. I could look up again.

Sadly, we couldn't hear our singer. The p.a. was too small. It was impossible to play on top of four drummers, two guitar players, a bass player, singer, and the aforementioned metal percussionist. It was a test of knowing cues and measures. It worked out just fine. We got home to Milwaukee as the sun was just starting to come up.

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