“To me, rock music was never meant to be safe. I think there needs to be an element of intrigue, mystery, subversiveness. Your parents should hate it.”~ Trent Reznor
A little change of pace but with the same good music all wrapped up into one charity event that in the end would put smiles on many unfortunate children.
Yep. Its time for Toys For Tots. And what better time than to do it on Saint Nicholas Day….. which is celebrated predominately in Europe and awareness spread throughout Wisconsin.
But as always there is a method to the madness.
Wellborn Road was coming to town and I had not seen them play since March. I could have had a baby by now since the last time I saw them at the Red Eyed Fly, just days before the insanity of the 2014 SXSW Music Festival. And nearly a month since I last had been to Dirty Dog Bar.
But to bring a new toy and get indoors is an awesome act of charity.
When I had reached Sixth Street, I ran over to a different shop to grab batteries for my camera as I did not want to be left stranded taking a ton of photographs and then not being able to finish the night because of dead batteries.
I noticed on the wall some really kick ass “toys” for sale. I picked up a Dr. Who figure and flipped the package over and then swiftly put it away.
Then I found a Godzilla figure and did the same thing. These figures were running almost $30 a piece!!!
My childhood… ruined by inflation and time!
I am sure that some child would absolutely love these toys. But damn. My wallet would have something to say about it in protest.
So I zipped over to the Dirty Dog and turned in the toy that I had purchased into the collection boxes that were set up. I was horrified to find in the mix of action figures, stuffed animals, and Lego boxes, was a sex toy.
I could not believe it.
This is TOYS FOR TOTS. Not TOYS FOR TARTS!!
Who the hell put that in there?
Wait on second thought, I don’t want to know. Oh well. Moving on!!
Then I was swiftly greeted by members of Wellborn Road. I took advantage of the opportunity and took some photographs with the guys. But always missing the drummer. Why is it always the drummer?? Nonetheless, the guys were there. I was there. And it was time to get it going.
First up was just music for one song. I went to the stage area to figure out what was going on. Suddenly I looked up and I saw two strippers dressed as either reindeer or Santa Claus just squirming all over the stage. You would have thought they were earthworms high on crack.
My question is: Who hired the strippers?
Next was INCH OF DARK.
I’ll admit. The first two band I had never heard of. The last two bands I have. But I sat there watching and listening and thought that the lead singer and guitarist looked similar to someone but I just could not put my finger on it. But the most I sat there and listened, the better and better and better it got. So I was impressed. Only today did I find out that they were a local band. Bonus points for me.
Their bass guitarist screaming at the top of his lungs at the crowd to keep them going. He didn’t even need a microphone. I thought that was really impressive as well. To outdo a microphone!
Then was TEN FOOT BEAST.
I do not know what the situation or story is behind this band, but it ended up being just two people. A drummer and a guitarist. No vocals whatsoever. Due to conversations I participated in, I didn’t take a lot of time to listen to them unfortunately.
Wellborn Road was next, and I felt a jolt of adrenaline just shoot through my body. I knew that they were going to play my favorite song of all-time “The Mirror” and it was early in the set. How funny though to watch them write up four copies of a set list just moments before getting on stage. That’s rock and roll for you!!!
Kicking things off with “New Found Life” from their latest album PAIN HATE REDEMPTION, there were a few people that really started to get warmed up.
There’s always something about Wellborn Road crowds that just make them cut loose.
One fan was front and center and was everywhere. He was moving to the music, headbanging, swinging on things, and overall enjoying himself. All the while attempting to hang on to a beer.
During the middle of the set, he got so into it that another man came up to him and walked him to the side up against the wall and gave him a cup of water.
Lead singer Scott Emanis probably covered every last inch of that stage either walking, marching, or jumping all over it. His stage jumping is definitely a sight worth paying for! I tried so hard to get photographs of him in mid-jump that he was in the air. But my efforts sadly were in vain. Maybe one of these days in the future. Maybe.
A tribute was done in honor of Dimebag Darrell. A medley of Pantera songs were performed and that probably had to be one of the coolest things I had ever personally been an eyewitness to. Very humbling too!
A few moments later was the icing on the cake for the night. At least for me. Tyler Tracy switched guitars and pulled out his custom made American flag guitar. Watching him play that was a big thrill. Considering I had been harassing him on social media to bring it with him the next time that he was in town.
Damned near broke my camera taking so many photographs of him with that guitar. Trying to get as many close up shots and shots from the floor which now I am calling TOE CAM.
Tyler Tracy is a remarkable musician. A fire fighter by trade. And an all-around, all-star bad ass. This is the guy you want in your pocket for sure!!
My first memory of him was that he stuck his guitar behind his head and then played a rocking version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” at the House of Blues in Houston, Texas. And even before that rocking out at Acadia Bar & Grill during R.N.I. Fest some years ago. So I have seen them in Houston, I have seen them in Austin. Hot damn!!!
But to be sincere, the entire band is very down to earth and very humble and proud of their growing audience and fans that they nickname the “Brew Crew.” They know that without them, they wouldn’t be who they are today.
Then Tyler totally took it to another level and allowed me to take a photograph with his American flag guitar. I damned near shit myself when he asked if I wanted to do so.
So yeah, that totally happened. The photograph- not the shit. I am however forever thankful for that opportunity.
And through all of that Scott Emanis was actually ill with a cold. But he got all those screams out and I did ask various members of the crowd if they could tell if he was sick, and they all but one said “No.”
Even Critical Assembly who played after Wellborn Road threw some respect out there stating that they destroyed the place.
I honestly hope that I get to see Wellborn Road play again and again and again and again. As much as I can. Whether I am here or there or wherever. Being the #1 fan in this area and a member of the Brew Crew, I have that flag flying at all times.