Sunday, August 31, 2008

OVERCAST: 8/30/08, Bobby Allen's, Waterbury CT

There are a lot of different ways we wish our pasts had played out. Sometimes, we will ourselves to think back on events, people or other things with a certain reverence, despite the shortcomings of said things. Music falls into this category quite a bit. Some of us like to remember certain songs, or bands, in a rosy light because of what they meant to us at the time.

Seeing as how most of my peers grew up in the Eighties and Nineties, this is mostly bullshit. If I'm at a party with people other than my metal friends, and someone puts their mix of "back in the day" songs on the stereo, all of a sudden I'm not in a party mood. I'm not going to hear Life Of Agony, Pantera or The Jesus & Mary Chain, am I? No, I'll be subjected to god-awful shit like the Barenaked Ladies. Or Eminem, or that one Notorious B.I.G. song that never goes away and everyone sings along to and laughs when they get to say "nigga".

OK, I have a point. It's that sometimes, that thing from our past that we wish was really good actually is. I'm talking about Overcast, the seminal Massacusetts band that pioneered, and dare I say perfected, the 'metalcore' genre. If you grew up in New England during the 90s and liked heavy music, you liked Overcast. They played a million shows with everyone from Hatebreed to 25 Ta Life, at every VFW or American Legion hall within a 100-mile radius of central Mass. The band went their separate ways in 1998, with the members going on to even bigger success in bands like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and Seemless.

The band reunited for a few shows last year, and went back into the studio to re-record some of their old material and come up with some new tracks. The fruit of those efforts can be found in the newly released Reborn To Kill Again, and although I love the original albums I gotta say these songs sound a hundred times better now. Take note, one-man basement black metal bands; production value doesn't hurt.

Overcast lined up a string of dates for this month, and the last one happened to be in the (relative) neighborhood, a quick half-hour away in Waterbury CT at Bobby Allen's. This is a venue I previously didn't even know existed, but it's definitely the perfect setting for an underground metal show. Cheap booze, low ceilings and an all-around sketchy vibe.
There were four opening bands, and it broke down into one good, one OK and two lame. I try not to dwell on bands that don't impress me, but I will give some internet props to Thy Will Be Done (the good band). I saw these guys open for Dying Fetus a few months back, and was definitely digging it. They don't break the mold, but they do slam the shit out of it.

Overcast's set was near perfect, the only complaint being the usual: "ONE MORE SONG!!" They ripped through classics like Apocalypse Upon Us, Grifter and the awesome instrumental track Styrofoam Death Machine. The new songs are 100% bona fide, and sounded like they could have been recorded during the Fight Ambition To Kill sessions. There was no danger of anybody being rusty; every band member's current outfit are notorious touring fiends, so no worries there. The crowd was a collection of most every CT hardcore kid from over the last 15 years, which means many of them aren't kids any more. I did see some gray hair in the pit, which is always amusing, but it proves that this music meant something to many of us, and still does.

Monday, August 25, 2008

End of the line...temporarily.

Today's the last day of the Nine Inch Nails tour. It's been real, it's been fun...but it hasn't been real fun. A good experience, I'll be prepared if it ever happens again, but I'm hoping it doesn't for a long time.

Last night we did an off-night show in Covington, Kentucky. DO NOT GO TO THIS PLACE. It is scary, and I think wolves prowl the streets after dusk. There was an awesome fast-food fried chicken joint next door to the venue though, so not all was lost.

The drive home from Toledo is about 10 hours, so after the drive, unloading in Brooklyn, and returning to Connecticut, I should thoroughly exhausted. We have a scant 2 weeks off before the big national headlining tour begins. No rest for the wicked, though; I get to spend those weeks doing the accounting for this tour, and budgeting the next one. After all these years, I'm sure some people are shaking their heads in bewilderment, thinking about me doing accounting-type activities.

So as I sit in this makeshift dressing room in Toledo, writing online with stolen wireless internet, I think back on the last 2 weeks and realize: what the hell am I doing here?

Rowella out.

Friday, August 22, 2008


So I've had a few days off. Bass player Jono is getting married today, so the rest of the band and the manager returned to New York for the wedding. It's just been me and the sound guy for the last two days.

After dropping the other guys off at the St. Louis airport Thursday morning, I parked at a rest stop. I get woken up by some yahoo outside the RV, rambling something about this driver who has some crazy rig that I gotta see, or something like that. It's hard to understand someone with five teeth.

So I'm still half-asleep, and I'm following this guy across the parking lot thinking he's gonna show me some big-ass trailer or something. I round the corner, see a couple guys hunched over a piece of cardboard, and I'm pissed. This asshole woke me up to try and sucker me into a 3-card monte hustle. Oh, it was classic. One guy pretending to not know them, playing and winning. One other guy who was "scamming" the guy with the cards. Times like this, I wish I had a badge. I "respectfully declined" and went back to the RV.

We stopped last night in some lakeside town in Michigan, which looked like every other town in the middle of the country. Wal-Mart, Applebee's, McDonald's, Home Depot, a bunch of others, all in a giant complex down some access road off the highway. Thankfully, there was a movie theater. The sound guy hadn't seen The Dark Knight yet, which I thought was impossible, so he went and saw that. I saw Tropic Thunder, and it was great. Funnier than I thought it was going to be, and I thought it was gonna be pretty damn funny. Downey Jr. stole the movie, far and away. I'm glad he's making a comeback, always liked him as an actor.

We're staying in a hotel tonight, a few exits from the venue for the next show in Auburn Hills. It's nice to have a room that doesn't sit on wheels once in a while.

I'm almost home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This shit is Groudhog Day.

I know we're in St. Louis, but I have no idea what the weather is, or if it's day or night. Backstage at all these arenas is like being in the bunker from Day Of The Dead.

I'm still adjusting to driving the RV with a trailer on the back. That shit is not easy. When you want the trailer to go left, you have to turn right, and vice versa. Those of you who know me know how much patience I have with these kinds of things, so it's a lot of cursing on my part. But I'm getting the hang of it.

The band and the manager are flying back to New York tomorrow morning for the bass player's wedding, which means the sound guy and I are on our own for the next two days. The trip to Detroit only takes 9 hours, so we'll have some time to kill. I'd like to find a theater playing Hell Ride somewhere.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We are the ones to make a brighter day, so let's start giving.

Dallas, kiss my ass. This room has 4 chairs and a couch for, I don't know, 10 people. I know, we're the support band from New York and you gobbled weiners in the divisional playoffs, but seriously: where am I supposed to sit??

Last night was in Austin, and it was great to be back in a regular club environment where we could sell our own merchandise. It was rainy, but plenty of people showed. Plus, we saw a shitload of bats.

We also got a bit of Southern hospitality from the dudes in The Black Angels. We cranked 13th Floor Elevators until the wee hours of the morning, and had some interesting conversations. Thanks for letting us crash at your pad, guys.

The drive from Austin to Dallas is normally a quick 3-hour jaunt. But apparently Texans don't know what rain is, or how to drive in it. So 3 hours became 4.5, due to no less than three accidents on the highway.

Got to talk to the dude today; he's pretty nice. I was surprised he took the time to talk to a lowly road crew guy, but I guess he figured out I do the equivalent of 15 of the guys he has. So maybe he felt bad. We actually like some of the same bands, notably Kylesa. I thought that was pretty cool.

I'm debating whether I like Pilot or Love's more. I think Pilot is winning.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Now I REALLY wish my camera worked.

I'm writing while sitting in the locker room of the Houston Rockets. These arena tours are INSANE. Catering, VIP passes, the whole nine yards. It doesn't come without a price, though. Trying to stay on top of things with six thousand people running around isn't easy. Last night's show in Oklahoma City was an eye-opening experience. Chasing after stage crew, keeping track of merchandise (which we can't sell ourselves), driving a 34-foot RV with a trailer on it into precarious parking spots...stress can be high.

There have been people on line for tonight's show since 1PM. Doors are at 7. I didn't think people liked Nine Inch Nails that much anymore; I've been mistaken. It is a really cool show, though. I'll give Trent that.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The exciting Midwest.


Driving through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri sucks. Really, really sucks. Aside from the occasional Jack In The Box or Jesse James hideout, all there is are fields and the occasional stop at the totally awesome Flying J. Seriously, where else can you buy a TV, a tank of gas and a sweet flannel shirt with the sleeves pre-ripped?

The first show of the tour was in Columbus, Ohio last night at Skully's Diner. The venue was cool, the crowd was a bit...sparse. Sweet record shop next door, though. Magnolia Thunderpussy Records. Hmm, wonder where they got the idea for that name...

Right now we're in a skeevy Super 8 somewhere off I-44 in Missouri. Tomorrow night is the first NIN show, in Oklahoma City. Hopefully everything will go smoothly. It better, consisering Nine Inch Nails has 52 people on their touring staff. 52! We have a sound guy, the manager and me. If anything, I'll be raiding Trent's catering table and chasing goth groupies around backstage.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Turn the page...

I hit the road again tomorrow. APTBS will be opening a slew of dates for Nine Inch Nails, as well as a few off-date shows. We'll be in the Midwest mostly, so as long as we don't get wiped off the face of the earth we'll be OK.

My camera isn't working at the moment, but hopefully I'll have it fixed before anything worth capturing happens. The NIN shows should be pretty incredible to witness. Check this out.

Tour dates:

Wednesday 8/13/08 at Skully’s Music Diner in Columbus, OH
Friday 8/15/08 at Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK with Nine Inch Nails
Saturday 8/16/08 at Toyota Center, Houston, TX with Nine Inch Nails
Sunday 8/17/08 at Emo’s, Austin, TX with Ume & The Boxing Lesson
Monday 8/18/08 at American Airlines Arena, Dallas, TX with Nine Inch Nails
Tuesday 8/19/08 at Opolis in Norman, OK with El Paso Hot Button
Wednesday 8/20/08 at Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO with Nine Inch Nails
Saturday 8/23/08 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI with Nine Inch Nails
Sunday 8/24/08 at the Mad Hatter in Covington, KY (Cincinnati)
Monday 8/25/08 at Seagate Convention Center, Toledo, OH with Nine Inch Nails