Playing in a band means experiencing a few more ups and downs than your usual office job. This entry was nearly called “We came, We saw, We Spinal Tap’d ’em all”, and if you’ve seen the movie you’ll soon see why..
As some of you might know, we recently played our biggest gig to date. It all took place in Thomas’ home town Askim, and the lineup was, frankly, insane for a festival like this. Somehow, they’d booked 10CC (30 million records sold), The Sweet (on their farewell tour, no less), as well as a whole host of famous Norwegian acts, including Åge Sten Nilsen & Ammunition.
And then there was us, somehow closing the entire thing. Yeah, we couldnt quite believe it either. Having a smaller band like us close out the day was definitely a bold move by the booking manager, but if everything went according to plan the payoff would be huge. So, did everything go according to plan? Of course not, that would be silly.
We arrived at around 1130 am, thinking we had tons of time to spare. It turned out that due to technical difficulties the tech crew were nowhere near done setting up the stage, monitors, etc. To compliment the stressed out mood, it was raining sideways and people were scrambling like mad to get the stage up and running, or just hunched under whatever shelter they could find.
Being the smallest band on the bill meant that our soundcheck was up first, but as time went on we were politely informed that us getting a soundcheck was, “somewhat unlikely”. Also, we had been informed that we wouldn’t need to bring our amp cabinets, as a certain other band would lend us theirs. This meant that we could get away with not renting a van, a very good thing indeed. Yeah, you can see where this is going….
After being told by the less-than-friendly sound tech of a certain band (who shall remain nameless, because they sure as hell didn’t live up to their name) that us borrowing their cabs was utterly and completely out of the question, we were well and truly f***ed. The festival management did their best to scrounge up something useable, but on such short notice on a friday afternoon, the only thing they could come up with was a couple of VOX and Fender combo amps. For those of you who aren’t gear nerds, these are tried and true workhorses, delivering the goods on countless albums and live shows…if you play blues, indie, country or jazz. You’ll notice that “rock’n roll” wasn’t on that list. Great as they may be, they simply don’t have the neccessary balls (technical term: “oomph”) to pull off our sound. So, we did the only thing we could do..
No, of course we didn’t. We are no strangers to things flying off the rails in a live situation. This time it meant another roadtrip for the guitarists. Lorentz and Axel hauled ass back to Drammen, then to Oslo and back to Askim to pick up their cabs. Arriving at 4PM, the soundchecks were under way but due to a certain band taking their sweet time, our sound check was well off the table. We dumped our gear in the loading area while resisting the temptation to pick up the nearest pointy object, then went to grab some dinner and let off some steam.
For some reason, KONG has a history of ending up way higher on the bill than our size as a band should allow. This is of course very cool, but what is not is the endless waiting around, while not being able to drink more than a beer or two. Playing sloppy drunk might be great fun for the band, but is somewhat less fun for the audience to look at. Playing last (again), we still had another good eight hours to kill and things could only go up from here. Joining us at Thomas’ house were former KONG members Kjetil and Øyvind. If you’ve met these guys before, you know you’re in for a fun time and this was no different.
After cracking open a few beers and blasting some good music, spirits were again soaring high. The weather had cleared up, people were enjoying the opening acts and things were back on track. It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n roll, and these days you apparently also have to take turns doing it. Seeing as there were a LOT of musicians milling around and limited backstage space, everyone had to take turns using the dressing room and catering area. No complaints from us though, the catering and facilities were top notch when we finally got to use them.
Towards the end of Ammunition’s set we were told that curfew was looming and that we had almost no time to put up our gear, no sound check, no nothing. It was basically a case of “roll out your amplifiers, throw up a mic and play”. It also meant that Kristian had to play on the kit that was already set up, but who cares. He winged it, as did the sound guy. Stage monitors were in and out, and there was no time to dial in our in ear monitors. Oh well, after rehearsing these songs for weeks, it was muscle memory to the rescue. What mattered was that we finally got to PLAY!
By now it was well over midnight and people in the audience were getting more than a little inebriated. Regrettably, some also started leaving as we were setting up, after hours and HOURS of being blasted by music, wind and rain. But for those who did remain, the festival had reserved the loudest and heaviest for last. It was, without a doubt, one of our best gigs ever, and one rip-roaringly good time was had by both audience and people on stage. Read a glowing review HERE (In Norwegian)
It was 3 AM by the time we were done packing up our gear. Latest gig in the history of rock? We can’t say for sure, but all things point to yes. Best time being in KONG so far? Definitely!
We also learned, yet again, that you can’t trust anybody in this business but yourself, and being 150% prepared for ANYTHING is an absolute necessity.
See you next time, guys
Your boys in KONG
© 2013 Vibration. All Rights Reserved.