Saturday, March 18, 2006

I'm not really here...

Wow. This week(end) has been surreal.

I've been the unofficial tour manager/bass player for Jonah Matranga these last few days on a small Texas run of shows. Jonah came in on Tuesday night, and we had dinner, hung out a little and had a short practice with the other two members of his band to be. Wednesday Jonah and I got to hang out and talk a lot about various things (some of which might prove to be exciting projects for the future). Wednesday night was the show at the Proletariat. Radio Pioneer, You In Series, and Jenny Westbury opened the show, and they were all really, really good. Jonah dedicated "A-L-L-Y-S-O-N" to my wife Melanie (who became his unofficial merch woman), which was sweet.

Thursday night we played at The Yellow House in Denton. The "venue" was punk-rock/d.i.y. to the extreme, but it ended up being a pretty fun show, with Jonah jumping up on couches and furniture while singing. Right afterward, we got on the road to get to Austin in time for our 9 AM SXSW showcase load-in. Domingo was a driving machine, and we made it to Austin in time to catch at least a couple of hours of sleep.

Friday was a madhouse - there were 10 bands showcasing on each of the Emo's stages, and it was total anarchy at times - but in a good way. During the day, I got to catch pieces of sets by Head Automatica, You In Series, Fear Before The March Of Flames, Fall Of Troy, and the reunited Lifetime (who were incendiary).

Before I knew it it was time for us to play, and I quickly went from being pretty nervous to having the time of my life. Jonah did a couple of solo acoustic songs while we set up behind him, and then we all launched into "Lukewarm" - but not before Jonah plugged Witchcraft 13 (thanks for that, by the way). The crowd (which was probably the largest that I've ever played in front of) went crazy over the loud rock. When we closed out the set with the Far classic "Bury White" it all went to a whole other level entirely. I was screaming the song along with guys in the crowd who were going positively batshit over the whole thing. I forget how much of a following that Jonah has until stuff like that goes down. It was a phenomenal experience, to say the least. Afterwards, I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening in Austin eating and walking around the 6th St. St. Paddy's day/SXSW nuttiness, all the while coming down from that sizable high.

This morning the crew all woke up and headed home to get Jonah on his flight. Before we left Austin, we stopped in to Whole Foods for breakfast, and we ran into a couple of Jonah's friends from NYC. They told me that they absolutely loved my playing during the show and the fact that I was getting nuts and singing along the whole time. I told them thanks, and that it meant a lot to me...seeing as how Jonah is a huge musical idol of mine. Their remarks really made me feel nice and complete, and it was a neat post-script to this wonderfully surreal experience for me.

Thanks to Dwayne and Rudy from Radio Pioneer for being a kick-ass guitarist and drummer, and helping me with this crazy idea. Thanks also to You In Series and Fear Before The March Of Flames for letting us all use your stuff. And most of all, thanks to Jonah for being not only an inspiration, but a great friend as well.

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