Apr. 17th, 2009

sticknick: (the unavowed)
While I have a couple of lengthy updates I've been working on for what seems like forever, I'm going to update about our show on the 12th because, shit, it was awesome.

That gig was pretty huge for us to say the least. When we were told that we'd be opening for Exodus we were all pretty much freaked out. This was a band I grew up with. Their first album, Bonded By Blood, was a constant for me alongside Metallica's Master of Puppets and Hell Awaits by Slayer.

Times have changed, as has Exodus, but they are still pretty huge in the world of Thrash Metal and people really respect them for chugging on for all these years.

For nearly four months we fretted, we worried, we rehearsed, we re-tooled a few of the songs, we rehearsed more, we fretted more, and we worried more.

Eventually the day came.

Early afternoon, Sunday April 12, I sent a text to Dan: "I have two king cans of Busch and a pack of Marlboros. I'm ready".

Tara drove me to the jam space where Dan was waiting. Turns out Exodus had arrived super early and were waiting to unload. There was nothing we could do at that point as the club wasn't open. Pete and Christina showed up, we all cracked a beer, shot the shit, and waited for Jay and Mez to show up. Once they did we loaded our gear into Jay's car (The Shaggin' Wagon) and headed off to the bar.

We loaded out shit in, then helped Drillpoint and the Exodus/Warbringer roadies move their shit in. I have to say, next to the mounds of equipment the other three bands were working with, I said a small thank you to the powers that be: "Being small time is pretty nice... we have next to no equipment to fuck around with".

Eventually everything was set up and Exodus started in with their rather lengthy soundcheck. I'm not really griping, I mean they were the headliners, but I know we were all getting pretty antsy because (a) we still had to set up three other bands worth of shit and (b) watching Gary Holt and his crew sleepwalk though a song I have heard countless times before was pretty nerve wracking. Well, to me it was.

Fast forward: Drillpoint set up their drums and amps. Mez added his cymbals and shit. Jay plugged into their bass rig and I plugged my crap into their Mesa cabinet. We did our quick checks and then played a little bit of Crusades and that was that. It was time to let the people in.

I stood at the bar, sipped some water, and watched the people start to trickle in. Ten... fifteen... twenty... thirty... forty or so. I turned to Dan pointed to a random dude and said: "As of that guy there, this is the largest crowd we have ever played to."

And they kept coming.

What was also cool was my son, Kailen, was there. He seemed pretty excited (or as excited as he gets, being the laid back kid he is). He caught the first bit of the soundcheck until he was sooted outside by the douchebag staff who didn't care if he was my son or not (I'm still kinda pissed about that one). Once he was let back in, Kailen parked himself on one of the speakers at the front of the stage and waited for us to go on.

And the people kept coming in.

I went outside for a cigarette and to see what the lineup was like. I nearly shit myself when I looked to my left and saw that the line to get in was down Rideau and extended around the corner onto Cumberland. I cursed myself for not bringing the fucking camera.

Soon enough it was showtime.

I was really, really nervous when we started our first tune. My mouth was dry, my lips were chapped, my hands we shaking, and I knew I was slipping up on a few parts. Instead of letting it get out of control, I soldiered on. There was no getting around it.

In the middle of the song there is a one bar pause. When we reached this part there was no booing. Instead, there was a mass of people screaming. I looked over and there was Dan up at the front of the stage, right in the crowds faces. He was screaming at them to move up towards the stage, and they were. From that point on I was no longer nervous. The crowd didn't hate us! I settled down and stated doing my thing; only a bit more cautious than normal.

Our second tune, Crusades, went off extremely well and the reaction was just as, if not more, favorable. The same could not be said for our third tune, Gunslinger. We have been fucking around with this song since last spring and it never really fit in with the rest of the set. It's just poppy enough to stand out. A few people have liked it here and there so we just stuck with it. In December we played it at a show in Hull and during the middle section (which was long and made the song clock in at nearly six minutes) the crowds faces went long and the reception it got was merely so-so. This caused us to cut out said middle section, bringing the final time down to just over three minutes.

On Sunday, in the midst of Gunslinger we all knew it was going to be the last time we ever played that song again. It just killed the momentum. It was, to me, the longest part of the set. I wanted that tune to end because I could see we were loosing the crowd a little which was something we could not afford to do on this night. I mean there were well over a hundred people in front of us and this was the type of gig that people don't usually show up until the local bands are finished.

Gunslinger eventually came to it's conclusion and we paused for a brief second. The crowd cheered (not as loud as they did for the first two songs though) and I started the opening passage to Prepare For War - a newer song of ours that is steeped in old school Thrash-style, chugga-chugga riffs. The crowd was way more into this one. I forgot about Gunslinger and started having fun and thinking that we would probably make it out of this ok. Then something happened that I don't think any of us expected:

A mosh pit broke out.

I looked up from what I was playing and there was a pretty sizable pit goin' on. There were bodies flying. People falling and being picked up and thrown back in for more. There were kids headbanging. People had moved up to the stage and Dan was running back and forth yelling, screaming, and being a Kick Ass Metal Frontman.

Prepare For War ended to huge cheers and screaming and we busted right into our Hank Williams cover. Not long into the tune another mosh pit broke out. People were still headbanging and there were horns in the air. Dan kept at the crowd, taunting them, challenging them, keeping them pumped. Hank ended and he was right up front. Right in their faces: "This is our last tune - I know you're all sticking around for Drillpoint, Warbringer, and EXXXXOOOODDDDUUUUUUSSSSS!!!"

As he screamed Exodus' name I started into Trial By Fire. There is a bit of a noisy pause just before the verse kicks in and Dan was at it again. I really don't know what he was saying, but he was yelling and the crowd was reacting. We busted into the verse and, motherfucker, another pit broke out.

We blasted through Trial and our set was over before we knew it. The reaction from the crowd was simply awesome; hooting, hollering, screaming, cheering. Thinking back I should have raised a hand in thanks or something. Instead I just took off my guitar and started packing up my shit as we had to get the fuck off the stage.

The rest of the night was a blur of moving equipment, beers, shots or Jager, shots of Jack, more beers, bashing around in the pit while Exodus was on, and a whole pile of people I didn't know coming up to me and saying: "Good set man!" and "You guys were pretty fucking good!". Dan was milling around, still working the people, handing out free stickers and buttons to make sure people didn't forget who we were.

We were all in Rock Star mode. More so that we were a year before in Montreal.

There was also a kid there who was in his early teens. He had long blonde hair and a cast on his right arm. He was in the pit during our set and after asked Dan to sign his cast. I later saw this kid when I was in the mosh pit during the last half of Exodus' set. He was crowd surfing and it was awesome.

I arrived home at around 3am. I was drunk, my legs were sore, and I was more pumped than I ever have been after playing a show. Curling up beside my family was the perfect end to that kick ass day.

When all was said and done, I realized that The Unavowed actually has very little to worry about. We may not be super technical. We may not be super tight. Yet, after two years of working towards "something" we have found that what we have done what we initially set out to do: have fun and write tunes that people can nod their heads to and have fun right along with us. The hundred plus people watching us that night proved that to us.




Yours truly mid-set. Pic taken by a co-worker of mine.




To end this, I have to tell you how much I love my wife. Tara may poke fun at our "gay band" and walk around accusing me of being a wanker (she's partly right), but I don't know of anyone who is more supportive of me doing this than she is. She puts up with jam two nights a week, trips out of town to play shows, and my endless babble of all things band related. I love you more than life Tara :-)

August 2011

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