I was really happy to get this booking because I grew up in Tempe and I had longed to perform on Mill Avenue since I was just a kid. Mill Avenue, for those of you not familiar, is the commercial "party district" that marks the western terminus of the campus of Arizona State University, and it served for years as something of a de facto cultural center for independent and up-and-coming bands. Bands like the Gin Blossoms and Jimmy Eat World cut their teeth at the Mill Avenue pubs. Perhaps Sonogasm could follow in their footsteps? Alas, but no.
Speed 63 went on early and rocked a big crowd remarkably well. Niki Kwik and the Super Friendz played next, and by the time we schlepped our gear on stage at (yawn) midnight, there was barely an audience left. Niki was nice and all, but her performance was... was... well, it made us sound good, I'll leave it at that. The Super Friendz went on to become Ekosphere, who joined us for our final show at Cooperstown, and their bassist Aaron went on to become one of my best buddies. So plenty of good things came out of this performance, even though Sonogasm somehow failed to rocket to the top of the buzz charts.
The lesson of the night, of course, was never to play a venue where you have to schlep your gear up and down a stairwell. No good!
[YouTube video clip to be added]
Venue: Ziggy's on Mill Avenue
Location: Tempe, AZ
Vocals, Bass: Mike Bahr
Guitars: Jeff Mink
Drums: Chuck Prime
Other act(s): Speed 63, Niki Kwik and the Super Friendz
2. Blue Instant
3. Schism (Tool) including Sober interlude
4. The Truth Will Set Me Free
6. After You Fell Asleep
8. 21 Months
9. The Safety Dance (Grim & Necro version) (Men Without Hats)
We premiered "Shinespark" at this show, and even though Blue Instant came first and was better known by our audiences, I think Shinespark was the best song I wrote during the Sonogasm era. It was a top-down design that actually integrated its concept (lightning as a metaphor for passion and determination) into the very structure of the song, building up gradually and exploding into an anthemic revel. It is not a coincidence that this is essentially what happens when a player performs the "shinespark" move in various video games, such as those in the Metroid series. Shinespark worked on every level, enough so that Jeff asked my permission for his next band, Dead Man's Gambit, to play it -- permission I happily granted.
Jeff broke a string during Schism, so Chuck and I improvised the interlude from Sober. The drunken heckler who shouted for Tool was Jason "the British," one of my compadres from that time period. Jason, buddy, I lost your phone number. Send me a message or something. Drinks are on me.