Review of the Station 4 Concert

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the Station 4 Concert last night.

Riverbottom Suckerfish played first, and they were amazing in more ways than one. Their drummer Nicole is positively insane, and the Station 4 sound guy told me she reminded him of “Animal” from the Muppets. Their lead singer Christine is a great player and singer with killer taste in guitar tone. No wonder they don’t need a bass player!

Jagged Spiral played second. It was a good-but-not-great set. I’ll take the blame for our less-than-stellar performance. Or I could chalk it up to the round of Jagermeister shots SBI bought for us. Sabotage!

Deathroned had to cancel, so we got to relax a bit between songs and not setup/teardown so quickly.

S.B.I. played last and kicked ass with their best show I’ve seen so far. I tried to sabotage their show by buying them a round of Jagermeister shots, but it just made them better! Not fair. I’m glad they went last. I am jealous of Tony’s bass rig, especially the wireless. I notice Mark now has a wireless mic. They were really tight. Sounds like they’ve been practicing… curse them!

Speaking of curses,The St Paul Police Department were also there, and did a stellar job of placing a parking ticket on my car. The ticket was for parking after 2:00 AM. It was placed at 2:10 AM with all the precision craftsmanship one would expect from St. Paul’s Finest. It couldn’t have been easy to place the ticket on my car between my trips back and forth from loading gear out, (seriously, my dome light was still on!) but I have a feeling this must have been a Special Ninja Parking Ticket Officer, trained in the arts of stealth and speed.

Legal matters aside, we had a fabulous time with Riverbottom Suckerfish and S.B.I. lots of fun people and good times. Station-4 is such an awesome venue. They have a great stage and sound system, I just wish they had a parking lot.

Conrad Zero LogoYours Darkly,

Conrad Zero

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Battle of the Bands Review (Or, How to Scare the Children)

Firstly, thanks to everyone who bought tickets and came out to support Jagged Spiral last Sunday in the 2009 Battle of the Bands. We had a great time, and hope you did too.

I just found out the winner of the battle ended up being The Company Don’t trust the songs on their myspace, they put a lot of Energy and Fun into their set.

I got to speak to them at the battle of the bands (as they were tearing down and we were setting up) .

“Thanks alot,” I said wryly. “You guys coulda sucked!”

But Xtna put it into perspective for me. I said, “How can we compete with that? Those guys were great!”

She looked at me sternly and said, “Your job is not to beat them, your job right now is to go up there and Scare the Children.”

So we did. I’d say we decimated all other bands that night on several levels. The Richter Scale would be one of them. A spiritual scale would be another one. I guarantee you some of the fans of The Company are still huddled under the stairs, shivering with fear. And Jagged Spiral drank more than the other bands and their fans combined. (…mostly because they weren’t old enough to drink.)

But we couldn’t beat them in ticket sales. Ah well, like Sun Tzu says; choose your battles.

Thanks to Mark, Tony and Justin from SBI for showing up and supporting the Spiral, and thanks to Kim, Nancy, James, Teresa, Dan, Boog, Fast Eddie, The Fox, Jess, Jenn, Xtna and anyone else who made it or bought a ticket for the show (Saveau reported that he was present at the show in spirit, and from the symptoms he described, no one would have wanted him physically present…)

Conrad Zero LogoYours Darkly,

Conrad Zero

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Jagged Spiral is pulled from bill, but still rocks the house!

Thanks to the blazing-fast response time of the Jagged Spiral Internet E-mail Gig Retraction Service, disaster was averted for many loyal Jagged Spiral fans, when it was announced that their Nov 29th performance at the Terminal Bar was canceled.

Not so much canceled as…well, let’s be honest: we got fucking canceled. My understanding is that because of the (former) booking agent at the Terminal Bar, the show was double-booked (technically octuple-booked), and many bands had to be dropped. SBI and Pygar performed as scheduled, but Jagged Spiral and Gedwik were pulled off the bill to make room for a cover band.

No, I’m serious.

No hard feelings towards SBI or the Terminal Bar, but we do hope that their former booking agent has a 140lb Ampeg 8×10 Bass Cabinet fall on her.

Meanwhile, the number of sound mixers for the show was strangely underbooked. In fact, there were none. Random members of the crowd were pulled out and forced to work the sound board at gunpoint. Josh bravely volunteered himself and myself to mix sound for SBI. (Colin did not make the show, choosing to stay at home instead and get laid.)

So while Jagged Spiral did not actually *play* at the Terminal Bar, we certainly did make the walls shake when Josh managed to turn SBI’s kick drum up to One-Hundred and Eleven.

Props go to my good friend James, who made it to the show because he didn’t get the notice that the show was canceled. His diligence and dedication to the Spiral has awarded James the dubious honor of being at more Jagged Spiral shows than Colin.

We’re trying to get SBI and/or the Terminal Bar to feel sorry enough for us that they offer up a sympathy gig, and we’ll keep you posted on how that works out.

Conrad Zero LogoYours Darkly,

Conrad Zero

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Review From Evil

Thanks to all those who made it out to the “Days From Evil” CD Release Party last Friday. It really means a lot to us to see our Friends and Fans brave the strange weather. Jess informed me that the puce-colored sky was conjured up by the Dark Lord herself, and those of you coming to the show would be spared, and would not perish in a burst of purple lightning.

The party was great fun, and those who missed it…missed it. For the first time ever we had a merch table with real merch on it! (Thanks Xtna!) The hard copy of Days From Evil was there in all its long-awaited, hard-earned, shrink-wrapped glory. (Thanks Tim!) Band buttons too! (Thanks Karrie!)

Fortunately, Jagged Spiral was there too, somehow managing to mix loud music with theatre; both comic and tragic. Colin’s brand-new Gibson Explorer made it’s first public appearance. Josh got into a fight with his own drum set, and I poured a half a pitcher of beer over myself and jumped into the boy’s moshpit with my bass. (Yes, there was a girl’s moshpit too.) Like I said, if you missed it, you missed it.

Josh, Colin and myself would like to publicly thank all the people who made the CD Release party a big success:

  • Uber-Thanks go to Josh at Club Underground (no relation to Josh from Jagged Spiral) for having us out and running the soundboard.
  • Thanks to SBI for taking the “sober slot” and playing first to warm up the room. Thanks for firing up the moshpit, and for the pitcher of beer, some of which I actually got in my mouth….
  • Thanks to Sick Machine for coming down from St Cloud to rock out with us! I picked up their new CD “Ready To Burn” and you should too, check out the single “Black Out Sunday” on their Myspace Page
  • Thanks to Something To Fear for taking the fourth shift and closing out the night with some wicked, double-female-fronted metal! You did a fantastic job, and we look forward to seeing/playing with you again!
  • Special thanks to Xtna for putting together the merch table and sign, and to Jess for helping her keep it running through the event!
  • Thanks to Jeremy for acting as the human “meat shield” between the boys and girls mosh pits! Who knows what might have happened if they had mixed…? Combined with Jagged Spiral’s music, it’s probably better that we didn’t find out, at least until we can look over our liability insurance contract…
  • Finally, thanks to all the people who came to the show: Nancy, Sarah, Jess, Xtna, Jim, Reid, Denise, Karrie, Teresa, Boog, Tara, Dan, Pat, Tim, Jeremy, Lisa, and many more who came out to support the Spiral! You people get the Jagged Spiral Seal of Approval!

Conrad Zero LogoYours Darkly,

Conrad Zero

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The People Have Voted. The Battle of the Bands Winner Is…

Not Jagged Spiral.

The win was handed to a band called Ill-Gotten

I can’t say I’m surprised or disappointed. Although I don’t care for Ill-Gotten’s genre of Hardcore music, they were as professional, tight, talented and energetic as any other band at the event…

…but they did have more fans.

Nothing against the production company, but when all other factors are balanced out, the Battle of the Bands turns from a Talent Contest into a Popularity Contest, and that’s something Jagged Spiral simply can’t win. At least, not at this early stage of our musical career. Let’s be honest, the people who came to see us play were friends and family, not fans.

Looking on the bright side, we got one more live show notch in our bullet-belt, and we got to play out to a crowded house of people on a weekend, and Colin was in bed by a reasonable hour. Jam Solid Productions has us on their list to contact for future promotions. We got some video that we can review and use to critique our live performance. (Unfortunately, nothing useful enough to post to the web due to technical difficulties…) We also met up with a local band called S.B.I. who enjoyed hearing us and they seem like a good group for us to gig with in the near future.

Conrad Zero LogoYours Darkly,

Conrad Zero

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Being in a band is, in a lot of ways, like being in your stereotypical romantic relationship. Not exactly, mind you, but there are plenty of parallels you can draw between them. For instance, there is the initial stage of flirting/courtship, and the period of ‘going steady’. There is the period of going through what likes/dislikes you have in common.

And one day there is a turning point in the relationship where you do something together that changes everything. You know of what I speak.

For a band, one of those turning points would be playing a live show at a public venue. Buried in your practice space, safe from the world, you can make all the shit-rock you want, but the minute you expose yourselves to public scrutiny, the possibility is opened that people you don’t know and who have no vested interest in your happiness can critique your work, or your performance, or both, and they have no reason to be dishonest with you.

And so it comes to pass that Jagged Spiral has taken the next step on the path, and played together live on stage, opening up their work for criticism. After the show at Staisu’s, I chatted with a handful of people, trying to get a feel for how the show went, and trying to read through the platitudes and compliments. Not that I wasn’t thankful for the praise, but I wanted someone to tell me we sucked, or at least tell me we did something wrong, something we could correct to make our future shows better. That information came, but not until the remaining handful of us were kicked out at 2AM.

I trudged out to the parking lot steeping in about 16 be-fucking-low zero, although it seemed a lot colder because I was soaked in sweat, blood and beer.

“You guys were great!”

I recognized him right away. It was the guy who went up to Colin during our set and gave him some kind of advice. Later Colin told me the guy said Colin should turn down the low end on his guitar. I think the real problem was that I didn’t have my bass amp up loud enough, but either way, the guy was drunk, and for sound problems, you complain to the guy at the sound board, not the band.

“You think so?” I responded.

“Feh,” he slurred, “Who are you fucking kidding? You guys blew those other bands away! You’re gonna be famous!”

I laughed.

“But you should stop whispering,” he said, shaking his head. “Between the songs when you were talking to the audience. It don’t matter if there’s only a couple people here, you gotta talk to them like there’s ten thousand!”

I stopped laughing. “Really?”

“Hell yeah, cus’ that’s what you’re gonna have. Ten thousand people, and you’re gonna have to speak up. You can’t whisper like that.”

“Hey, thanks for the advice.”

And so, some useful advice, and enough money to buy each band member an imported beer at the next practice, and Jagged Spiral walks away from Stasiu’s paid, sweaty, and deflowered, but still wanting more…

Conrad Zero LogoYours Darkly,

Conrad Zero

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Truth in Blasphemizing

I received a call from a fan today. Let’s call her Jess. (Handy, since that’s her name.) Jess heard a rough preview copy of Days From Evil, and she called to tell me that she really liked the vocals in the song Monsters.

Now, there’s people in this world who could hear an audio recording of all three members of Jagged Spiral getting kidney stones removed simultaneously without anesthetic and they would say it sounded good. (My mother, for example.) I’ve learned to take that praise with a pound of salt. Even within the band it’s sometimes difficult to be objective about the work of each other and ourselves.

But Jess is not afraid to tell us when something is not good, and more importantly, Why. Too loud. Too lame. Too [negative adjective goes here]. Because I know she’s not afraid to tell us the truth, I value her opinion much more than someone who is only positive (Sorry Ma) or only negative.