Tag Archives: Sevendust

6/15/15: Neon Trees @ The Gothic Theater – Englewood, CO

  I’m not a huge fan of pop music, especially the more modern incarnations of such. I can get down with some Neon Trees though.

   The first time I saw Neon Trees perform was at the Filmore in downtown Denver back in 2012 with The Offspring and Dead Sara. It was a weird bill to say the least, but somehow they managed to put on a compelling performance that didn’t clash with the other genres of the night.
   When they announced that they were doing an ‘Intimate Performance’ at the Gothic Theater, I was pretty excited to see how they’d pull it all off. The last time I had seen that type of show at the Gothic was back when Sevendust came through with their acoustic tour, and it blew my mind. I had high hopes to see Neon Trees in a stripped down way, but apparently to them “An Intimate Night Out With…” doesn’t mean an acoustic, storytellers style set. It just means that they’re playing smaller clubs on this tour because someone doesn’t feel comfortable with their ability to pack out huge rooms at the moment. In all fairness, they are only out promoting a new non-album single, not a whole new record, and people’s attention span isn’t what it used to be. So, although it felt a bit like a bait and switch to me, I set out to enjoy the show regardless.
  Firstly, not to be “that” a**hole, but the two opening bands that Neon Trees brought with them were some of the blandest bands that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to on a national stage. I’ve thought back on it a bit, and there was honestly nothing that stood out with either band to me, unless mediocrity is a selling point. They were both generic female fronted pop rock bands with generic songs that felt as if they were written by a half asleep pop rock producer. I mean, when every song feels like a good song to go take a piss during, well, something’s missing.
   When Neon Trees finally took the stage I breathed a sigh of relief. They opened with their new single, “Songs I Can’t Listen To”, a song that as of yet isn’t attached to a forthcoming album.
   Lead singer Tyler Glenn gave his usual energetic performance, his odd high-kick dancing style making the “1983” singer seem very spry for his age. I also am fairly new to my 30’s, so I was a bit jealous of of his ability to maintain that level of energy throughout the entire show. For me to even come close would probably take a lethal combination of Red Bull and drugs.
   When I saw Neon Trees back in 2012 they had a fill in drummer because Elaine Bradley was home, taking care of her newborn. This time around she was back behind the kit, participating in general badassery.
   While I’d like to eventually see Neon Trees pull out the acoustics and cajon, I’ll settle for rocking out to their electric set any day. Here’s hoping that I can catch an acoustic set some time in the future!

Rockin’ The Suburbs

Breakout Tour: Days 10-14
Casa de Crawford
Fort Wayne, IN

Having more than two days off in a row while on the road can be dangerous. Boredom sets in after about 36 hours, with full blown cabin fever striking around 44-48 hours. After 72 hours you run the risk of someone in your crew developing severe homicidal tendencies….

The scheduling for this tour left a five day hole right in the center, which as mentioned, can be a recipe for disaster. Aside from everyone getting irritable, there can also be boredom enhanced stupidity. Both bands feverishly tried to book fill date shows on the time off, to no avail. The routing left us just north of our friends Gail and Ben’s home, so that meant that we would have a home base for the interim, and wouldn’t have to spend the five days trapped on our bus.

It’s nice being able to have a spot to relax that doesn’t involve being stuck on the bus. We spend so much time being cooped up on it that whenever we can not be on it, well it’s refreshing. (That sentiment may not be shared be Mochello and Stevie G…. They seem more than content to be in their bunks than should be humanly possible…. At least they took respite from their caves this week!) Now don’t get me wrong, our bus is home, but fresh air and a change of scenery is really nice too.

Our first day in Fort Wayne didn’t begin until some time after noon. It did begin, however, with Ben’s world famous pancakes and scrambled eggs. That, and the fact that we were able to do laundry set me in the best of moods for the day. (Almost a good enough mood to make me forget that that I was missing my weekend at SPAC!) We spent the afternoon in Ben’s ultimate man cave, shooting pool, throwing darts, playing foosball, and listening to music.

That evening we headed down to Piere’s, one of the larger local music venues, to spend the evening with Sevendust again. This was the second time (that we know of) that our tour crossed paths with their’s in the last month. When bands are constantly crisscrossing across the country like we are it’s inevitable that we will cross paths with other bands they know. Since Nate works with their drummer and they are both constantly on the road, it was great for them to be able to get some more actual face time.

Piere’s holds a special spot for us. It we the first venue that Man on Earth played on the very first real tour that we did back in spring 2011. Going back and seeing a major act playing on the same stage was next-level nostalgic. Sevendust gave us all access passes again, so we spent most of our time hanging side stage and up in the radio station’s private viewing area.

The next few days are honestly a blur. We did go see one of the funniest movies that I’ve seen in a long while, ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’. It’s a Seth McFarland movie, so it isn’t for the easily offended, but if you have a cracked sense of humor, well, let’s just say I literally laughed the whole way through.

Throughout the rest of the week we BBQ’d, spent a lot of time hanging in Ben’s game room, watched some movies, lit a fire in the fire pit…. Oh yeah, and Nate, Gail, and I got tattoos.

After spending hours looking at ideas and checking out the portfolios from all of the Ft. Wayne artists we settled on Black Anvil Tattoos in the downtown area. Gail and I got ours done the first day, but the artist had to spend more time working up Nate’s design so he had to come back the next day.

Root and I took over the basement game room for the nights, and it totally screwed up my sleeping schedule for the duration of our stay there. The windows had heavy curtains on them which and it completely left me disorientated as to what time it was… I’d wake up, see that it was still dark, then surrender to more sleep.

The five days seemed to breeze by and soon it was time to pack ourselves up. Not that we weren’t having fun, but everyone was more than ready to get back in to show mode. We set our alarms for 9am, leaving us enough time to gather our things and make it to Mishawaka for load in.

Workin’ As Hard As The Day Is Long

Days 29-33: Lost Lake Lounge
Denver, CO

The road to Denver from Indianapolis was long and fairly uneventful. I’ve already blogged in the past about my ‘love’ for the states of Nebraska and Kansas, so I’m not even going to get into that. Stevie G had flown home the previous day, so the running joke of the 12 hour run was whether or not we forgot him at a rest stop, or if he was sleeping in, or the fact that he had nothing to say during our conversations…

We arrived in Denver on Sunday evening. Nate had tons of work to do, so he got a hotel room for the few days that we were going to be in town. The hotel was about a mile from where I stay when I live in Denver, so shortly after we got into town my friend Nate (not Steven Nathan! Don’t get confused!) picked me up. The rest of the guys stayed around the hotel area for the night, and took advantage of some much needed downtime after the long drive from Indy.

I headed toward the downtown area because my friend told me that our Kempo (a martial art) instructor was in the hospital. Apparently, he had a blood clot close to his heart, but the doctors found it in time and he is expected to make a full recovery. After visiting him, we headed back to the apartment that I call home when I’m out there working.

For the last few years we have been on the road so much that I haven’t really been able to settle down and have a place of my own, but it’s worked out that I have been able to stay with friends and family in the interims. While Western Massachusetts is my hometown, I have a strong feeling that Denver is where I’ll wind up. That being said, it always feels like coming home whenever I get back in the 303.

The next day, which was a Monday, the guys set up shop and did some office work while I headed to work a bathroom remodel with Nate (again, not Steve Nathan!). That evening Nate (yes, Steve Nathan!) had to run to Colorado Springs to meet with one of the bands that is signed to the label that he works for. Root played Zohan and spent the evening styling and dying Mochello’s mohawk. After I was done work for the day I went back home and Nate (not Steve Nathan!) and I finally watched the second Hobbit movie that the two of us had been trying to see since it came out last December.

The next day, I got up early (well, early considering I was still on rock-n-roll time, which is being up until the middle of the night, then wake up at about 10am to drive to the next city…). I headed back to the bathroom remodel while the band continued their office work.

Because it was the week after Coachella, there was a lot going on in the Denver music scene this week, as many bands are stopping in Denver as they make their way back east from the California festival. One of those bands happened to be Arcade Fire. One of my friends is their drum tech, so Tuesday night I met some of the Arcade Fire peeps downtown to have some drinks and watch an NHL playoff game (they are all Canadian, after all). Once a last minute goal sealed the win for Montreal, everyone had to go back to their hotel, as they had a huge show at the Pepsi Center the next day and they were all exhausted from Coachella. I told them they better be prepared, because we had a show a mile away at the same time they did, and we were going to steal their whole crowd.

After everyone left I headed down to the Gothic theater, where Nate (yes, Steve Nathan), Root, and Mochello were at Sevendust’s show. (Stevie G had flown in that afternoon, but he was spending time with some of his Denver friends up to the northwest of town.)

Sevendust is in the middle of an acoustic tour, which in all honesty, made it so that I had no idea what to expect from the show. Their typical sound is fairly aggressive, the thunder of hard rock permeating every note that the band creates, from drums, to vocals, to guitars. Their acoustic show, however, is a whole different animal. The acoustic show is really a semi-acoustic show, with the two guitarists playing acoustic guitars and the bass player plugged directly in to the sound board, but the drummer had a full drum kit and there was a keyboard player as well. I was honestly blown away by how good the band sounded, of how well the singer’s voice fit in the stripped down sound, and also by the overall performance of the band. They kept things fun, in almost a vh1 storytellers fashion.

Nate (yes, Steve Nathan!) works with Sevendust’s drummer, Morgan, so we had some of the best seats in the house, right up on a balcony side stage. I couldn’t help but feel like we were Statler and Waldorf, just non heckling Statler and Waldorf’s. After the show we met up with Morgan backstage and he told us their classic rock-n-roll stories, which involved everything from the extravagancies to the harsh realities of the business side of the music industry. We also met the rest of the band backstage, and they all seemed like genuinely nice people (and they liked my stache, so maybe I’m a little biased… Maybe). After leaving the show, the guys went back to their hotel and I went back to Nate’s (not Steve Nathan’s).

The next morning I went to work again while the guys did some more office work. They picked me up in the late afternoon and we headed uptown to get Stevie from his friend’s place. Denver rush hour traffic is some of the worst in the country, so we ended up jumping off the ‘expressway’ and taking side roads most of the way.

After picking up Stevie, we headed down to the club. Open Air Stereo had a video shoot that night and they had the sound engineer with them, so we had to take some extra time to get the sound right in the room.

In Denver there’s a burrito shop, Illegal Pete’s, that has an amazing love for traveling musicians. If you’re playing a show in Denver while you’re on tour you can register for your band and crew to each receive free burrito in exchange for promoting their business to your fans. Traffic prevented us from having time to stop there, so we set off to find some dinner. Root and I found a pizza joint down the street from the club and decided to get a full pie because we didn’t think that two slices each would be enough. When it arrived, we looked at each other quizzically. Apparently we had ordered a 26″ pizza. (For those versed in the Queens math, that’s over two feet in diameter!) As hungry as we were, we still had plenty of leftovers (half a pie, to be exact!)

Once we were done eating we walked back to the club. Lost Lake Lounge is a smallish club, with the bar in a separate area from the main stage area. I don’t really like when venues are set up that way, because it causes people to hang out at the bar as opposed to paying attention to the music that’s going on in the other room.

It was cool that my friend Nate (not Steve Nathan!) finally was able to make it to a show. The last time we were in Denver he couldn’t make it because a nail gun malfunction on the job site gave him a slight concussion. It was one of those things that finally connects the dots in life. When I’m on the road, I’ll refer to working with, or things that happened with my friend Nate (not Steve Nathan!), and vice versa. Having those two divergencies intersect is a pretty cool thing.

After the show we decided to head out toward Salt Lake City without delay. The drive was going to be a long one, so we wanted to knock a few hours off the top. The previous few days were exhausting, so I climbed in my bunk to try and sleep. The bumpy roads prevented it though, and I wasn’t able to fall asleep until a few hours later when we stopped for the night. It seemed as if once the engine was switched off, so was I. I passed out almost immediately.