I\’ve looked at bands from both sides now…

The trials of a wannabe roadie

Gotta start somewhere (or, To Hell and Back)

*special note on the title: as a lifelong tallahassee resident/seminole fan, i’m legally obligated to refer to gainesville as ‘hell’ at least once

Let me begin by establishing something early on. I don’t like bars. Being a non-drinker, the abundance of alcohol is a contributor, but only a partial contributor. My main issue is all of the ambient noise. In that kind of setting, my monotone voice just disappears into oblivion about a foot after it leaves my mouth. This leads to me having to repeat myself over and over, or to just give up and say “nevermind” when it’s clear there’s no hope of being heard clearly. But, I have accepted that if I’m going to be helping out an up and coming band, I’m going to experience my fair share of bars along the way.

This leads me to The Shamrock, a pub in Gainesville where the band played back in January. A particularly hard to locate pub, at least for someone with no experience driving in Gainesville, armed only with a Google map featuring a mis-labeled road or two. Fortunately, with a phone assist from a member of the band Redboy (the main act for the evening), I was able to find it. Also fortunately, the band had already been there awhile and had lugged all the heavy equipment in themselves.

There was still a couple hours before they were supposed to play, so I toyed around with my new video camera a while, then went with Claire and Sarah to Publix to pick up a few things, including a birthday cake for Redboy. It was their two year anniversary as a band. The cake was a surprise to them when they finished their set (around 2am), and they seemed pretty happy about it. I myself was pretty happy about getting a free hamburger for dinner, another perk of being “with the band”.

So, the SMB played their set, it went well, and I filmed a good bit of it, but it came out really dark. I’ll link to it below anyways, but you might have to turn up the brightness on your monitor to see them. The crowd, mostly there to see Redboy, seemed to enjoy the SMB. I like to sit in the back and overhear comments and conversations about the band, then report back to them later. I guess the overall noise level contributed to there being a shortage of any of that on this evening though.

Sadly, I had put my camera back in my car after they were done and missed some of the best stuff. There was a bar fight on the patio area outside for starters. One guy broke a bottle over another guy’s head, and then they sort of slammed each other up against the window and startled everybody nearby. There was some bleeding involved. I think bar windows should be made out of candy glass so that in case of a bar fight, people can throw each other through the windows, just like in the movies. Ya know, anything to make life more like a movie…

The other exciting moment was when Redboy played their song where one member (Anne?) walks around in the crowd with a gong, sometimes letting audience members play it. Apparently Sarah had *really* wanted a chance at bangin’ the gong, but when her time came, well, she grew feathers and a beak and basically just totally chickened out. There’s rumored to be video of it, but I’ve yet to see it.

My original plan for the evening was to make the two hour drive back to Tallahassee after the show, naively thinking that it would end around midnight. So when I realized it was going to go much longer than that, I started trying to make plans to get a hotel room and stay the night like the band was planning. As I mentioned before, it ended around 2am. We didn’t finish loading up all the equipment until about 3am, and then Redboy invited us all to go eat somewhere. It was a place called…um…well I’m drawing a blank, but it’s basically just like Denny’s. After some breakfast and good conversation – including a fascinating toothpaste discussion – it was finally time to bring an end to this whole experience. By this time, it was after 4am. I decided that it wouldn’t be worth it to get a hotel room at this point, and I should just hop back on I-75 and take it on back home. Sarah channeled my mom (who’s very much alive, so I don’t know how that works) for a few minutes and tried to convince me that it wouldn’t be safe for me to try to drive back, but my stubbornness won out, and I headed home, promising to call when I got back.

I made it back safe and sound and was in bed by 6:30am. And yes, I was a good boy and called Sarah’s phone and left a message. I contemplated leaving a message pretending to have run off the road and wrecked, but I figured she had been traumatized enough for the evening by the gong…

Sarah Mac Band – The Shamrock – Gainesville

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