Shedding Skin Tour Days 3-6: Scream So Loud!
The news of Prince's death hit everybody pretty hard on the road. When an artist of such incredible depth is suddenly gone, I personally find it difficult to feel like my own life has significance, especially my own art. The solution, for me at least, always seems to be continuing to make art even more intensely, and hopefully on some level keep the spirit of the artist alive through that process.
Thursday night Vajra had the pleasure of returning to The Open Chord in Knoxville: a music venue/music instruction facility. It is clearly a destination for musicians in the area, and as such has a very supportive vibe. There was a wide variety of heavy bands playing that night, varying from punk to hardcore, alternative to new metal. If those all sound like the same thing to you, you should be pleased to know that the "loud rock and roll devil music" your granddaughter listens to has multiple genres! Each of those genres of heavy music has sub-genres, and it goes deep! But i digress. Despite the musical diversity of the night, there was a continuity to things, as well as a nice camaraderie between all of the musicians.
Adding to the good vibes were the sound engineers at the venue: Taylor Johnson and his son Billy Johnson. These two are awesome dudes, great engineers, and clearly very passionate about cultivating a scene around Knoxville. They were even both sporting Vajra t-shirts when we got there-bonus! Check these guys out if you're ever in the Knoxville area, and check out www.theaudio.com for some great customized microphones done by them. Keep it up dudes!
Friday took us to The Warehouse in Clarksville, TN where we shared the stage with The Pleading and Backroad Brigade. As with the previous night, both bands were great to listen to in addition to being great people. The Pleading, who split their time between Nashville and Clarksville, was a very tight band who gave off an incredibly joyous energy when they played. Very enjoyable!
With a ten hour drive ahead of us, we didn't exactly have much time to hang in Clarksville post-show. We immediately loaded out after playing and drove a few hours to the hotel for the night. Everyone was able to catch four hours of shut-eye, and we drove the remaining seven hours to Dallas the next morning. I've come to terms with the fact that getting good sleep on tour is literally impossible.
As things in life often go, it turned out that Vajra's set got pushed to Sunday, making our frantic rush to TX on Saturday frivolous. It did however allow us to check out the festival, get some tattoos (in the case of Danny and Max) and hear a couple of awesome bands. Sick Puppies and Buckcherry were both super tight groups full of great musicians. We had a blast hanging and listening to them, as well as scoping out the stage for the next day. Despite a slightly hectic Saturday, it all worked out in the end. It always does, right? Right?
Sunday brought about our turn to take the big stage and everyone was stoked, if not a little anxious. We loaded in nice and early, giving us time for full on soundcheck- a rarer occurrence then one would expect in the music industry! There was a green room backstage with access to complimentary food and drink, showers, washer and dryer, arcade games... the list goes on! Furthermore, the sound engineers and production staff at the venue were on point, adding to the excitement and energy of the day. Big thanks to The Bomb Factory for the professionalism and hospitality!
The show itself was a ton of fun. There is no feeling quite like playing a room and stage of that size, with the huge sound that accompanies it. It is an inspiring place to make music for sure! Adding to the enjoyment was the fact that Sunday was also Vajra's fourth gig of the week, meaning we were really starting lock things in in terms of sound. This is an incredibly gratifying process to witness, and one of my favorite parts of playing in a band.
Before leaving Dallas, the band had to make one final stop: the legendary Dealey Plaza. Annamaria is especially fascinated with the Kennedy assassination and the conspiracy behind it, and has been since childhood. Danny, being a Cuban guy, also has tons of background and interest in that time in politics, so it was an interesting group to go there with. Seeing the spot of the assassination was certainly eerie, but it was also fascinating. Looking up at the book depository, standing behind the fence on the grassy knoll, seeing the overpass; we all had the feeling that something was fishy about the situation. So much so that we had to try and recreate the crime scene for ourselves:
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the final blog of Vajra's adventures on the shedding skin tour, coming in a couple of days!