Anyway. For some reason i was abnormally nervous going into this show. We were playing tons of new songs in front of an assuredly large crowd (as The Dials pack 'em in), with Rev.Ever on stage with us for the first time ("But what about The Pub show?" you ask. Well, that was his first show, yes, but there was no stage!), and to make matters worse, we finished the "Science Depends on Us" vocals on Thursday and planned to debut the song two nights later. Brilliant. So, butterflies.
As i figured, two songs into the set i was perfectly comfortable, as we kicked off with "Paulding Light" and "Ratings Spike," which we've been playing out for almost a year each. So we were solidly in the pocket for the first 80% of the set. "Black Holes?" money. "Get Killed?" Ripped it (and this song, i'm pretty sure, is when i gave myself pseudo-whiplash). "1000 Holes?" Better than expected, as Yale was fretting over the lyrics beforehand (playing the song in soundcheck was tre' helpful). "99 Probalos?" Nailed it.
Then the last two songs? Not so much. "Science Depends on Us" suffered from a lot of things, including massive lyrical failures all around and my sudden inability to properly play the signature drumbeat of the song while also singing backups. Similar lyrical failures, as well as apparent crossed wires concerning whether we were treating the vocals as a group thing or not, also befell our Mclusky cover "To Hell With Good Intentions." So perhaps we'll get those two down a little better in practice before pulling them out live again...which is ok, because i think we're going to start re-sprinkling older songs into the mix again here and there.
Still, most people who talked to us afterward said that the entire set sounded great, so the evening was another lesson in "as bad as you think you did, the audience will never know as well as you, so pretend you aced it." Keith and Janet in particular, who have seen us a million times and only managed to show up for the last two songs, said they sounded rad as hell, so i'll take it! Lots of positive feedback on the Stressed Desserts visuals tonight as well. Dan Kelly performed strongly once again, apparently.
Three additional attendees made the show feel like a true retro old school HiFi experience, and their contributions are duly noted and appreciated:
1) Ben Turk, who decided to bust out the surveys once again, in grand old-tyme S-Martkino tradition (yay Ben! Yay surveys!)
2) Joe Lemur, who had flown into Chicago from Columbus for Friday night's Shellac show at Subterranean and then took the train up to Milwaukee (you don't get more old school than an out-of-town P-kids lister who saw us in the Pop Machine days)
3) Also from P-Kids list: Kip! Frickin Kip! Turns out he's a good pal of Chad, the Dials' solid-assed drummer, and made the trip up from Chicago for the show when he saw that we were on the bill as well. He had tons of good things to say about our set, including something about our new songs sounding "more Midwest pop" and less "aggressive." I had to assure him over and over that we were working out the performance kinks of the new songs, and that's why they didn't seem as aggressive. Don't worry, Kip, once we know them in our sleep we'll be delivering them with the requisite piss and vinegar and cock-punches.
Now, i shall endeavour to spend my work day keeping my head in a desk-related position that causes the least amount of neck strain. Eurgh.