Capitol Bowl: Where Did All These People Come From?

Capitol Bowl time! 

One hour and fifteen minutes from the scheduled start of the gig.  We loaded the drum kit, cymbals, hardware, throne, and the new $19.99 Ikea rug into Glenn’s Prius, and he was on his way.  The back of my Prius was stacked to the headliner with guitars, amp, reverb unit, briefcase of mics, cables and cords, rubber tub of merchandise, mic stands, and a PA with speakers. 

Are rockers allowed to drive Priuses?  Shouldn’t we have a van or Town Car?  What about roadies?  Should we see if Toyota will sponsor us?

From the Doghouse to the Capitol Bowl is about two miles.  I managed to hit every red light on the way.  Damn traffic lights!  Why aren't they timed better?

Don and Paul were sitting in a booth in Cap’s Grill -- the Capitol Bowl restaurant -- when we arrived.  They had ordered pastrami sandwiches based on my seemingly constant pimping Nathan’s pastrami.  Made onsite and handcrafted.

We picked a corner of the restaurant from which the Pups would play.  Glenn and I unloaded the Priuses.  As I thought about setting up the PA and mics, I began to feel overwhelmed.  "Look at all of this stuff.  It's like a puzzle."  Other than the band and wives and a guy who looked like he had been drinking since noon, nobody was in the restaruant.  So I began to wonder if anybody was going to show up.

Setting up took longer than expected.  Too many cables and cords.  Where do we put these humongous speakers for the PA?  People were beginning to arrive.  Friends.  Got to be polite and BS a little here and a little there.  More people walked in.  More greeting and BS.

2:05.  We were scheduled to start at 2:00, and I was crawling around on the floor taping down the mic cables and the set list. 

2:10.  Sound check.  Even more people coming in.  We tested the mics.  “How’s that?”  Brett -- my son -- gave us a thumbs up from the bar.  Ken -- one of our running mates -- gave us a thumbs up from the far corner of the room. 

Becky, who was in the “lounge area,” indicated that we needed some more volume.  More volume?  That was unusual from her.  We tested our amps and adjusted until we had thumbs up from Brett, Ken, and Becky.  I put a Hawaiian shirt on over my Lava Pups tee.  The final touches in getting ready were setting a container of ear plugs on the bar and draping leis on the mic stands.  We were going to be colorful if nothing else!

No longer distracted by setting up, I looked around.  People were at all the tables in the restaurant and the “lounge area.”  All the stools at the bar were occupied.  Many of the people were new.  I did not recognize them.  Our promotional efforts and the publicity in The Ticket apparently had been successful!  I wondered to myself, “Where did all of these people come from?” 

Suddenly, I was nervous.  But this time, the internal voice talked me down, “Don’t let it show.  Remember, the test of success for us is whether we have fun.  Rock ‘n roll is not perfect.  Stuff happens.”  And I was calm enough to start.

2:15.  “We’re the Lava Pups.  We play surf rock.  We can be loud.  There are ear plugs on the bar.  Glenn, take it away.”  Drum intro.  Don and Paul started up.  I came in with the melody for Penetration. 

Our first of two sets was underway.  We were only 15 minutes behind the published start time.  For a rock performance, that could be viewed as starting early.  As we played, I looked around the Capitol Bowl and wondered again, “Where did all of these people come from?”

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