The Berries found their way into a new venue last night, as we made our debut at Greenville’s Radio Room.
We set out on our expedition to the Upstate after a 6:30 load, and reached the venue a few minutes after the door opened at 8. I was proud of myself for managing not to get lost, although I’ll confess that I overshot the club on first approach — there’s not much in the way of signage. We checked in with the bartender, and were told the manager/booker would be arriving pretty soon. Since we had some time, we adjourned to a nearby Taco Bell for some dinner, where I’m sure I counteracted the 5K I had walked that afternoon. (“How do you support your rock and roll lifestyle?” With 5-layer burritos, apparently.)
When we got back, David (the aforementioned manager/booker) was there, and he let us know that we’d be opening, which is what we expected. This meant that we could go ahead and get set up, so we did. The club isn’t very large, so only the bass drum and vocals got miked, and we relied on stage volume for the rest.
As it happens, one of our guitarists (Lex Martin) lives and works in Greenville, so a few of his friends and coworkers showed up, and it’s always good to have some friendly faces in the crowd. We got rolling and blasted through a 15-song set in about 35 minutes. You can see and hear a little of it here. Honestly, it may be the best set we’ve done; we actually do seem to be improving from show to show. The crowd seemed to dig it, and we got a lot of warm applause and congratulations as we broke the gear down and got offstage. We even managed to sell a CD and give away a few stickers, and judging from my post-performance conversations (Hi, Fred, Dana, and Casey!), we made some new friends.
At that point, Joseph (our keyboardist) got a message from home informing him that his lovely wife had locked herself out of their home on the outskirts of Real City, which meant that he and Justin (who had driven them both) had to split. But the two guitarists and I stuck around to catch the other acts.
Next up were Chunx, who launched a mosh pit with their speedy-but-melodic brand of punk. After the first tune, their vocalist said, “I’m glad there were a bunch of y’all in the pit… because when there are only two guys, that’s just called ‘a fight.'” But the pit was a cheerful one, dance as contact sport rather than aggro-fest. And Chunx provided an excellent soundtrack for that. They’re Greenville locals, and I really hope we can work with them again soon.
The headliners were Lost In Society from New Jersey, making their third stop on their national tour. Apparently, this punk power trio were breaking in a new drummer (“Josh learned all our songs two days ago,” they said), but if so, it was a seamless transition, because these guys were a well-oiled machine. They combined bouncy grooves and a Cobainish snarl with a pop sensibility, and the crowd was delighted. The band said it was their fourth visit to Greenville, and it’s clear they’re developing their following the old-fashioned way — by earning it on the road.
Greenville pop-punk heroes The Indoor Kids were closing the show with a speedy set when David the booker/manager told me that he had really liked our set, and that the crowd had been strong, and that they’d be able to pay us more than they had expected to. We hadn’t really even expected to make gas money for the show — we were doing it as much to break into the venue as anything — but this was an unexpected bonus, and I was pleased when he brought the envelope. By then it was around 1:30 a.m., so Larry and I gathered our stuff (CDs and stickers) from the merch table, made our way to the van, and headed back to Mondoville. I hit the sack a couple of minutes after 3.
So all in all, it was a really satisfactory evening, and I’m already looking forward to next month, when we have three shows scheduled, including one back in the Upstate. I’d love to see you at one of them!