Last night I was doing sound for the open mic in Hell’s Kitchen. Matt Mays is the new host, replacing Al Tuck. Sometimes I have a lot of fun at these nights. But last night, I found myself growing a little bit cranky as the evening wore on.
Some guy took the stage and said he’d learned how to play “Stairway To Heaven” backwards. So he launched into this gibberish mish-mash of notes and chords and before long he was in the middle of some bizarre wailing solo. And then he rocked out on that confusion for five or six minutes, gradually getting quieter until he was playing this soothing passage of guitar music that was still a gibberish mish-mash. Finally he just stopped. He took a deep breath. Four or five people clapped.
Then a woman got up with her trumpet and announced, “I’m going to play ‘Happy Birthday’ to my cat.” She had brought the cat along. She blatted out the song while staring down at MooMoo who sat in a little cardboard box and looked around, all bewildered.
Matt, ever the affable host, got up on stage and gave her two drink tickets, one for herself and one for MooMoo. I think MooMoo got a little dish of milk out of the deal, or maybe Jagermeister.
The Bogus Sisters got up with banjo and mandolin, performing their medley of “songs made famous by Gordon Roach.” The Bogus Sisters are actually capable of pulling off some sweet harmonies. The Bogus Sisters are actually male.
By this point I was going crackers and was possibly drunk. Twenty-five hippie dudes in a row got up and played really slow, eight-minute-long Bob Dylan covers. I stood at the back of the bar with DJ Higs Boson and shouted things like “Where’s the meaning behind the moaning!” and “Gong!”
I was munching on a piece of Hell’s Kitchen pizza when a woman came up to me and tugged on my sleeve and said, “Excuse me are you the sound guy, because don’t you think the guitar is maybe a little quiet and do you think you could turn it up a little bit?”
The correct sound tech response would have been one of the following:
a) “Do you think you could tell your boyfriend to quit playing like a wuss?”
b) “Where do you work? ‘Cuz I’m going to show up there tomorrow, and tell you how to do your job.”
c) “Oh, OK.” [push up fader that doesn’t actually do anything] “Is that better?”
My hands were shaking as I stared back at her, and something about the blank look on her face prompted me to choose option d), which involves running up on the stage and screaming “Louder! Louder! I’ll show you louder!” and pulling out a stick of dynamite and shoving it inside the guitar’s soundhole and then detonating it in a ridiculous explosion that sends several dozen folk-rockers to the hospital and ends up with my badly burned body being hauled away in a straitjacket, while my eyes bug out of my head and drool rolls down my chin and I keep repeating “Louder! Louder! Louder louder louderrrr…”
It’s taken me four hours to type this, mostly on account of the bandages.