111 paces. It’s one hundred and eleven paces from the trailer to the bottom of an outdoor staircase. To get there, you walk straight across grass…or over round cobbles, chewed tarmac, and gravel. This isn’t a load-in. This is a cruel joke issued forth by the rock gods to punish us. For what, I don’t know.
It’s arduous enough moving the gear to the stairs, and up them. Then you get inside. It’s a flippin tiny stage. No wings, just a cul-de-shit at the end of a room. A dead end. Normally roadies go offstage into their technical worlds but here…you’re on stage, behind the gear. Trapped. I can’t remember ever wanting it this much…to bulldoze a venue into dust.
I curse whoever came up with the idea of hosting bands here. This place hits your professional pride.
Within the roadie sphere, I’m a backline technician. (Specifically, a guitar technician.) As a backline tech, there are many times when you feel like a lackey…bottom of the food chain. Well okay, merch sellers can feel even lower. Maybe video techs too. But anyway, for the purpose of a good drama…when you’re the backline scum of the earth, the one thing that helps you look good is your world. A workstation, some conveniently laid-out tools, a rack of shiny guitars…all set up clean, tidy, and clutter-free. Professional pride makes us bottom-feeders look good.
Here, professional pride is impossible. You’re shoved in a corner on a tiny, cluttered stage. With every footstep, you might just catch a cable and unplug something. These kinds of turds are impossible to polish, but still you want to try. (Cry, more like.) I wish I could switch off the neurotransmitters that make me give a shit. Some people are good at it:
‘It’s a piece of shit. I’m over it.’
I wish I could do that. I think my problem is I care too much. I really want to do a good job. Probably some childish need to be told ‘Good boy,’ but whatever…this place stresses me out. If something goes pear-shaped during the show, I won’t have easy access to the tools to fix it. Anxiety creeps in. I’m not bragging but…I have skillz! A limited physical space limitz those skillz. This place and anxiety…feels like my hands are bound behind my back, watching a toilet flood.
So tonight I’m stuck behind the bass rig, sitting in the flippin guitar rack. The lighting guy just loves strobing the lights…nearly all the time…in my face. Mark plays his bass loud. So does Chris. And then they both play together. For three sets, my body is pounded by bass frequencies. My teeth are nearly chattering. Add strobing lights. Top it all off with…I’m still flippin drowsy.
My friends…this is first-world torture. When I’m Lord Emperor, these places will be illegal.
We didn’t finish loading the trailer until 2am. I’m so glad to see the back of this place. I hope it gets condemned.