Two weeks ago today (July 5), I played a show at the House of Blues Anaheim with some friends of mine. Just to think that I would be playing on the same stage that so many big names played on made it an honor for me. I was asked to play second guitar with my friend, Peter Chun, but I didn't feel very adequate because guitar is not my main instrument (the drums are). Not to mention, this was the biggest gig I've played, so it was nerve wracking. Nevertheless, I accepted the offer and was excited.
After all the long (and not so long) rehearsals, the day came. We loaded up one car with our gear, sans drum set and amps, and drove off. We got to park in the rear VIP lot and we all got cool passes with Mickey's silhouette on it (this House of Blues is in Downtown Disney). After taking the elevator up, we were in the backstage area. Boy, it was much smaller than I thought. There were somewhere between six and seven bands playing that night and the narrow hallways were even narrower with all the gear in them. The greenroom had a bathroom, a television set showing live feed from the stage, and was well stocked with water. All of these things were of the highest importance (slight bit a sarcasm).
During all the waiting time (there was a lot of it) before our set, we mingled with some of the other bands and watched the bands that played before us. Pretty much everyone there sounded great. We met some really awesome, down-to-earth guys from the headlining band, Iron Sharpens Iron. They are a super talented local metal band, but have a nice melodic side to them. I actually enjoyed their soundcheck even though I'm not a fan of metal.
Our set came up. We set up and had a quick monitor check (not everyone got to soundcheck), and we were on. But before I talk about our set, I want to spend a little while talking about the backline gear. I'm a gearhead, forgive me and/or read on if you aren't interested. I'll start with the drums because that's my home. They had an awesome DW kit in a silver glass glitter finish in pretty much any size you can imagine. From what I saw, they had 20" and 22" kicks, toms from 8" to 18", and a sick little Pork Pie throne. As per standard gig etiquette, all drummers brought their own snare drum, cymbals, and pedals. I played through a Marshall JCM 2000 and a 4x12 cab, Peter played through a Fender Twin Reverb, and Eric, our bassist, played through an Ampeg SVT head and a 8x10 cab. I'm not too sure about the bass head because I didn't get to look at it closely. My signal chain went something like this: G&L Tribute ASAT Semi-Hollowbody Bluesboy -> TC Electronic Polytune -> Boss ME-10 -> Marshall JCM 2000. Ok, now that the gear section is over, let's continue on.
Here's our set list: "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon, "Ms. ICA," an original by Peter, "Fix My Heart," another original by Peter, "Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars, "Neon" by John Mayer, and "Bold as Love" by Jimi Hendrix. There's so much I want to talk about, but it would take forever, so I'll briefly mention the main points I want to hit. The sound and lighting were super professional. I know it's expected because it's a big venue, but it's nothing like I've experienced before. For me, it was pretty revolutionary and I'll definitely miss it when I play smaller shows. We each had our own custom monitor mixes and everything sounded...good. That's pretty unusual for someone like me' whose only played small shows.
Our set went really well. We opened with the lights out and crazy spaceship-like modulation sounds from Peter's guitar going straight into a huge intro with lights in "Use Somebody." The other songs were fun, but "Bold as Love" was just ridiculous. As the closer, we did it big. Peter did all sorts of crazy stuff like playing behind his head, putting the guitar down on the floor and playing it like a lap steel, and whatnot. Overall, the show was definitely a fun, memorable one.
Well, that was the show in a nutshell. My writing may be a bit sloppy, but please excuse that, there were just too many things to talk about.
Note: I didn't have my camera with me, so all photos are courtesy of our friends, Jason Watanabe and Samuel Choo.