Posted July 10th, 2009 by carls

TACOMA June 27th

I woke up freezing my ass off again, this time on a trampoline. The night before, we had driven up to Custer to sleep at Tucker’s parents’ house and after wildly yelling over the Expedition’s system (blasting Alopecia, aka the best album of last year) we found ourselves unable to keep quiet or contain our giggling in the stark silence of the living room floor. So, we grabbed our blankets and pillows and went to sleep outside on the giant trampoline. This was a great idea until I woke up shivering, coated in a heavy breading of ice cold mountain dew. I went back into the house and claimed the couch, where I got 5 EXCELLENT hours of sleep.

We had bagels in the morning, and figured we should refrain from buying any more food today because I had gotten word that Club Impact (our Tacoma venue) was going to feed us dinner. Club Impact certainly made an impact on us, that much can be said right off the bat.

In my defense, although there were some hints that had tipped me off to the Christian nature behind Club Impact, most of us had gone to some relatively cool wholesome youth-groupy type stuff when we were kids and would really love to have seen a band like us there. Also, I hadn’t set up any other all-ages shows for this trip so when the offer came along, I was like yeah, awesome, cool! Still, I regret not looking into the place a bit more because in the end I was responsible for dragging the rest of the band into the belly of the beast.

First on the itinerary was the band meeting+dinner at 6. This went fine, a guy got on stage and made a speech about how Club Impact is all about respect and that if you give respect, you’ll get respect. OK, sounds great. Sloppy joes!!! So far so good!

Then, Melody and Damaris noticed that out of 6 (!) bands there was only one other girl there, and she turned out to be just somebody’s girlfriend. This lead to also noticing that mostly everyone else were teenagers.. How exactly did we end up here? It suddenly dawned on me that we have this one-sentence review up on our myspace page, which for some reason referred to us as “a group of 18-19 year olds.” We only put it up there because it seemed amusing at the time, but it may have just gotten a whole lot funnier. I can’t prove for a fact that this played a role in our being asked to play the show, but I think it’s a really strong theory, and clearly the most likely explanation.. kinda like evolution.

After dinner we went to get some coffee in an effort to help push them sloppy joes on through, and watched a good soft chunk of The Fast and the Furious (or possibly one of the sequels) move by on mute with subtitles. Meanwhile the owner of the coffee shop updated us on what was going on in the story. It was clear that he had seen it before… possibly many many times. Eventually the clock chimed showtime, so we headed back to the place. He was evidently disappointed that we weren’t going to finish out the movie, but it just looked so damn well done that I wanted to watch it with sound.

The first band was Garron-T, fronted by this kid Garron who is basically Jimi Hendrix in the body of a kid named Garron. He totally ruled and he was probably like.. 17? Best band of the night. He even played and sang a twisted version of Billy Jean all by himself for MJ. We talked to him after their set — he said he had checked out our myspace, and he wanted to know if we were really signed. We just kinda looked at each other for a moment, like, what’s that? Oh right, SIGNED! to Spotty Records! Well, we paid like 65 bucks to register a business name with the state of Oregon so hell yeah we’re signed.

After that we went up the street and found some stairs leading up to a pretty cool gay bar. We had a quick shot there and headed back to check out the next couple of bands. No comment.

Half way through the bill (as in, directly before our set) was when they got up on stage and launched into the evangelizing. They informed us that we need to sign up for their mailing list because there is only one true god and it is the same god who rained fire on Jebadiahovaranimo or whoever, and it only got worse from there. We had thought earlier that something like this might happen, but it wasn’t the hopeful jesus-laced pep talk I imagined. This was pumping from a much scarier vein. Did we really just get our eternal souls threatened with… brimstone?? Jesus. Just call it sulfur already, this voodoo stuff is confusing enough as it is. Luckily (for me) I missed the majority of it because I was out in the car hunting around for a missing piece of the hi-hat stand. When I got back, the rest of the homies were discussing whether or not we should pull out of the show, and make a run for our lives. We decided instead to play.

Now, the entire audience was dressed exactly the same in these white Old Navy hoodies they had passed out to everyone (it sort of looked like a fresh-faced-high-school-sports version of a KKK rally, if you can picture that) and as we set up our equipment, these unbelievably bizarre videos started playing above our heads. Most of them were about pretty regular stuff like not drinking or smoking, but the approach and style of the content were so strange! It really felt like we had found ourselves in a secret cult made up of SPACE ALIENS who are able to assume human form, but have found difficulty settling into our society due to a profound gap in their understanding of Earth beings. I got the feeling that our incredulous laughter at these videos was not appreciated by the sound guy. I guess that’s one possible explanation for why there was a constant and heavy LF feedback throughout most of our set while he just stood there, arms crossed. Of course, it’s also possible he just didn’t know what to do about it.

The last guy on the bill was a solo act also from Portland, and he was a pretty nice guy so we stuck it out for the rest of the bands. In the two hours between asking the sound guy if it was OK to unplug after our set, and the time we left, nobody from Club Impact had a word to say to us except to let us know that only one person had come to see us (to whoever that was: thank you so much for coming, and, sorry!) and that they didn’t feel giving us our hard earned $1 was worth the trouble. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what it came down to. See, Club Impact is a racket. Their scheme works like this: The local bands are asked to pre-sell tickets and everyone who pays at the door is asked which band they came to see. The cover is $8 and for each person or ticket sold, you get a dollar. So if 20 people come to see your band, you just scored 20 big ones! Club Impact takes care of the other $140. I feel a bit embarrassed to have taken part in such a scenario, and especially to have been responsible for setting it up. This show really reminded me that it’s important to take note of the way a place operates when setting something up.

Here’s some more live footage:

To summarize the experience; even though this show was all my fault, it doesn’t change the fact that these people are a bunch of poopycreeps. Sure, they make a point to remind us that they are volunteering their time, but that does not mean they are cool or nice. They don’t give a damn about music or art, they are just there to corral young people into their weird clubhouse to evangelize them with weirdness and generate revenue to further their weird operation. The way it looks to me is that they are taking advantage of starry-eyed young kids who just want to play in a band, and they offer to provide a means to do so but they have entirely ulterior motives.. and the whole thing just FEELS really bogus. I have to say though, I was surprised to find out places like this are still out there pulling off regular events.. I suppose this place can get away with a bit more since they are doing the lord’s bidding and all, but it makes me wonder when all the kids forgot how to rent out a damn Eagles hall like we did when I was in high school.

We left feeling defeated and somewhat violated, but thankfully the night wasn’t quite finished.

We were headed home, but decided that ending the trip on such a brown note was not good for us so we diverted into Olympia for some relief. We decided to check out Le Voyeur, which was perfect. None of us had ever been there before but after what we had just endured, it felt like a home away from home. There was a band setting up in the back and we looked at the menu for a good while trying to agree on something cheap we could split, until we found out the kitchen was closed.

Meanwhile, Damaris had gone to talk to the band that was setting up (Quadrillion, from Seattle) and they were sympathetic to our story. Well, they said.. tell you what. It’s getting pretty late, and there aren’t really any people back here.. but if you guys want to play, just watch us and we’ll watch you. That sounded like a fuckin hell of a deal and just like that our night had been reborn! They played a really high energy set and it was just what we needed, like, spiritually man. It was such a relief and we all danced like we really needed the exorcise. I wish I would have asked if we could use some of their stuff (which happened to be an eerily similar setup to ours) because in the end we ran out of time setting up and didn’t get to play. I guess they have a noise curfew of 1:30 there, and they said we were welcome to try and play until then… but it was 1:15 and we knew we’d be lucky to finish setting up and get through a single song in that amount of time… So, we loaded all our shit back into the car, definitely let down but still in high spirits. At least we tried, and in the end had found some bit of redemption. Damaris saves!

The staff at Le Voyeur were very cool in light of the situation and hooked us up with complimentary refreshments as though we had played. Melody tried to explain, “wait, no, we weren’t technically even booked here tonight!” but they took care of us anyway. I really love it when places are down with being cool.

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