Friday, March 24, 2006

A little more about the concert

Since I was writing last night after I got home (a little after 1:00 am) I couldn't write all that I wanted to get written. So here goes.

I'll start with the e-mail I got from the violet burning e-mail list.

hi everyone.
I trust this finds you all doing well.

As some of you know, we have been on tour with John Davis this past week. The shows have not been going as good as we have hoped. our booking agency has made arrangements at most of these concerts for us to receive some of the monies that come in from the door.

normally we support our ministry from guarantees versus a split of these monies that come in from people coming to the show.

when you have a guarantee it encourages the promoter to actually promote and let people know that there is a show, and it also ensures that the promoter does his/her part to get people out to the concerts.

when there is no guarantee, the promoter is likely to do nothing, because they are not held to any sort of financial responsibility.

that is pretty much what has happened this past week. the promoters have not done any promotion outside of their venues and have had hardly anyone out at the shows.

since we don't know what to do, we are hoping that some of you might find some time to help us to promote these shows.

if you are in any of these areas you could help:

3.22 (Wed) Indianapolis, IN @ Radio Radio
3.23 (Thr) Wilmington, OH @ Joe's Java
3.24 (Fri) Mt. Vernon, OH @ The Escape Zone
3.25 (Sat) Madison, WI @ The Annex
3.26 (Sun) Chicago, IL @ The Beat Kitchen
3.28 (Tues) Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS
3.29 (Wed) Kansas City, MO @ The Hurricane
3.30 (Thr) Springfield, MO @ Nu Brew Coffee House
3.31 (Fri) St. Louis, MO @ Old Roxana Theater4.2 (Sun) Memphis, TN @ Hit

one way you could help:-placing flyers in stores, churches, college groups, home groups, high school groups.
we have a flyer available at our scroll down and look where it says "street team"print that flyer, it is a pdf file.

you can print out some of these or make copies and bring them to churches, high school groups, college groups, home groups, stores, coffee shops in the area, that would be great.-you could make announcements at your churches, or call some churches in your area that you know enjoy great music and ask if you can make an announcement promoting the show in your area.-you could perhaps call some friends and invite them along with you to come out to the shows.-message boards, my space, and email is good as well. but, first hand invitations tend to be the best.

mostly, you can pray for the violet burning and john davis and his team.
thank you for your prayers and support.
grace on your rocknroll hearts

Now, being a fan of the Violet Burning (last time I went to Ichthus, I saw them twice and I think I only saw one other band play), I certainly wanted to help them out. And, what's more, I wanted to go to their concert. So I made the trek down to Wilmington for the 8:00 show.

I got there around 8:30, and by the time I found my way upstairs to the concert venue, the Retail Age was playing. There were some 50 people milling around; most were sitting on old church pews that were set in front of the stage. In the back there was a small coffee bar and a chalkboard advertising their products. I wasn't particularly thirsty, so I took a seat toward the back in what was probably a restaurant booth at one time (without the table). You know, a soft pleather double-sided couchy-type seat.

The Retail Age was pretty loud with crunchy guitars and a gangly lead singer/bass player who liked to make faces while he played (usually when he wasn't singing, but sometimes when he was singing as well). They didn't have much stage presence (though the drummer was a constant blur of motion) - that will come with time, I'm sure. They looked like they were about 18-20 years old, so they've got a lot of time to do whatever it is they want. I think mostly they were just flattered to be on the same stage that the Violet Burning was going to be on later. It was awfully loud, so I wore my ear plugs for their show.

Most everyone was sitting, though there was an older guy who was over to the side dancing like crazy. His dancing reminded me of the stoners dancing at fraternity parties in college. There were a couple of youngish women who were dancing in the back, too, but they didn't generate much excitement. They got polite applause upon finishing their songs.

After they were done, it was time for John Davis. Between sets, the manager of the place announced that there was a product table around the corner. That was when I did my "hero worship" thing and talked to Michael Pritzel for a while. I was rather worried that I wouldn't get my seat back, but I shouldn't have worried at all. There were plenty of seats available, and nobody even approached mine.

John Davis, like I said earlier, is usually accompanied by a band, so parts of his songs seemed disjointed and at times the timing was off as he tried to play both rhythm and lead guitar. He displayed a lot of passion and seemed to be having a really fun time. He did talk quite a bit, especially about Blood: Water Mission, a project to get fresh water to Africans who desperately need it. His piano songs, well, kind of put me to sleep, and after a good couple of electric guitar songs, he went back the the lullaby songs on accoustic guitar.

At this point I needed something to keep me awake, so I approached the coffee bar. Their chalkboard advertised that they had Kroger brand beverages (including the famous Dr. K), so I asked for a cola beverage. They didn't have any of the carbonated beverages; if I wanted something cold, it would have to be water. So I asked about coffee beverages and finally settled on a crappucino with irish creme flavoring and whipped cream. I also doctored it with about six packets of sugar, and it was fantastic.

As the Violet Burning had taken the stage and were sound checking, I made my way to the front, kind of over to the side of the pews so as to not block anyone's view. There were four women (college students?) up there and some others milling around (dancing man wasn't back yet; he had danced his way through the Retail Age and John Davis' full sets, so maybe he was getting a breath of fresh air) but Air-Drum boy was over in that area having a blast.

The show was short (partially because they didn't get started until after 10:30 pm) and there was a lot of friendly banter between Michael Pritzl and Black Cherry (?) (the bass player) and the audience. I especially liked Michael's comments about Poison (he asked if there were any Poison fans in the audience and some guy yelled out, "Play Somthing to Believe in!" -- Michael had no idea what he was talking about. hehehehe He said, "I'm much more familiar with the Ramones."

They played with Ramones' intensity, though the breaks between songs were slightly longer than the Ramones' famous 1-2-3-4 transitions. Upon finishing the songs, after the obligitory shouts and enthusiastic applause, there was general silence, so it seemed like Michael would talk just to fill the space. I had a great space and unlike the shows I would see in small venues in Chicago, I had all the space I wanted or needed.

At one point they finished a song and Michael said, "It's really late; sorry about the late start, but that's the way it goes sometimes, so we'll just do a couple more songs and then let you go home." He asked for some requests, and then everyone pretty much agreed that they should just keep playing. So they went with their new stuff from Drop-Dead. I have to admit that I'm not too familiar with Drop-Dead yet (though I had listened to it online a couple of times), but it rocks. From Drop-Dead, they played All I Want, Rewind, Do You Love Me, Swan Sea, Humm, and The Ends Begin (a song that Michael remarked frequently gets renamed "the End Begins" much like "Invitacion Fountain" gets renamed "Invocation Fountain" -- and when I uploaded it to my computer, it came up "renamed"). They also did some classics like Berlin Kitty (which Pritzl dedicated to John Thompson because he loves rock and roll) and Low.

Michael did talk a little more about the Blood: Water Mission (a little more coherently than John Davis did; I think JD was suggesting that AIDS could be prevented with clean water).

Finally, Michael asked everyone to stand up and to come up to the front. There were probably less than the 50 who were there earlier (it was getting late), but it changed the mood considerably having everyone up front. Instead of rocking out to finish, they went mellow and worshipful and invited us to join them and sing a song to the Lord. We sang "One Thousand Years" - the final song of the new CD, a fitting end to the concert. They finished with prayer and sent us on our way. I made my way back to the product table and bought a sticker for Michael Pritzl to sign (it will be on my guitar case shortly) and dropped a buck into the mission offering (the last of the big givers).

It was disappointing that there weren't more people there. I seriously doubt that the promoter did any out of house advertising. I don't know how much of my $8 went to the band(s) (the girl at the door asked me for an "$8 donation for the band" but I don't know what she really meant by that), but even if it all went to the bands, that would have been $400 to split between 3 bands (8 people altogether). I don't think the Retail Age got much, but I don't think they're asking for much, either.

So the moral of this story is: don't stand up in a boat.

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