November 17, 2018
The Masquerade (Purgatory)
Supporting Harley Poe and Amigo the Devil
Last night was a huge fucking night for us. It was our first time playing at the Masquerade. It was also our first gig as a new trio with Luis Nieves on drums and none of us really knew what to expect other than giving it all we had. It’s kind of a scary thing. In a way, it was just like starting over again. Here we were a band that only had about 5 rehearsals under our belts about to make our live debut. The excitement, the nervousness, the all encompassing energy of it all was just intense and honestly, I couldn’t have imagined two better people to share this evening with. The three of us were jovial, excited, and ready to go.
Upon arriving at the Masquerade, the first thing that struck me was the professionalism of it all. I mean, these cats were so fucking nice. They helped us unpack the car, helped us get loaded on to wheel carts, and got us to the staging area. From there, they proceeded to help us set up our gear on the stage. Just like I thought I would, I managed to forget something: my amp stand. Our sound gal Becca (Bekka?) was so sweet and gracious and she had a sturdy fold up TV Tray that worked perfectly. Crisis averted. We got our shit set up, Becca did an amazing job with the stage sound and we couldn’t have been happier.
Once soundcheck was done, we realized we like nearly 2 hours to kill. We settled our tickets, got a round of drinks and just laughed, talked, and got excited about the show. We met Danny (Amigo the Devil) and he was so fucking sweet. He was really kind to us and thanked us for supporting the show and said that he was really looking forward to our set. Then we were introduced to our security guard for the evening and then escorted to catering. I felt like a fucking rockstar! The food at catering was fucking great even though it looked like hell. It was labeled Noodles and Balls. We all just laughed but that shit was not joke and it hit the spot. We headed back to the venue to get acclimated and to just chill before doors opened.
We had no idea what to expect. We figured we’d either play to 20 people or that we’d play to 100 people and 80 would leave. We had a brief band pow wow, group hug and then took the stage at 7:55 exactly. When we took the stage, the room was almost full but it just fueled us. We kicked into “I Wish I Could Run Away” and right away I felt like demons were being exocised from my body. Luis back there on the drums played with finesse but with power and he really drove this song into a rocking groove that felt so right. By the time we got to the “Ghost Town” closer, I had felt like a bottle of beer that had been shaken up and then opened. The crowed cheered so loud that it was almost deafening and I really hated to leave as I felt like we could’ve done at least another 30 minutes.
I felt like the band played absolutely brilliantly to be honest. There were a few snafus here and there but all in all it was so natural feeling. There was such a level of comfort between the three of us on stage and it felt as if we had been at it for a lot longer than just a month or so. Luis really brings a more punch, rock feel to the songs and a sense of groove that had both Allison and I barely totally incapable of standing still. The people were moving and smiling and I could see that the connection had been made. I honestly couldn’t have been more happy and more thrilled to be a part of this performance. Our goal of finally getting out and playing to new audiences finally was achieved and from the feedback of both the fans and the venue staff, it’s something that will definitely happen again in the not so distant future.
After our set, people overwhelmingly flooded our merch booth to tell us how much they loved our music and how much they were moved by our set. These were all people that had ZERO obligation to say anything to us yet here they were telling us how much they loved our songs. CDs, shirts, buttons, and stickers were sold, many hugs were exchanged. Allison had a few folks stop her to tell her how amazing she was and to talk all things bass guitar. Luis was hugged and welcomed by the “classic” Collins Drive fans and he made his rounds signing CDs and just taking it all in.
As for me, my favorite interaction was this little girl who had to have been all of 6 years old or so. Her mom brought her over because she wanted a guitar pick. I gave her a sticker/3 guitar pick pack and her little face just lit up the whole fucking room. Then she motioned for me to lean over and she said, “My favorite song was the one about the lady that you have been dreaming about since you were a kid” (“Lady of the Lake”). I just gave her a CD and she gave me the biggest hug. It was without a doubt a truly magical moment that you just can’t put a price on. Even a few of the employees stated how blown away they were so in exchange for all their hard work, we gave them shirts and CDs to which they just smiled ear to ear about.
Amigo the Devil was absolutely mesmerizing to watch and listen to. He has such a magnetic and charismatic character that the crowd just gravitates to him. These people knew every word to every fucking song and that guy owned that stage harder than I’ve seen most bands own a stage. Just watching him I found myself even taking mental notes on things I could do differently as a frontman to really pull the audience in and to make them a part of the show. That seems to be the thing that he did best; he didn’t play “to” his fans. He played “for” and “with” his fans. They were as big a part of the show as he was and that was really fucking cool to see. I was a fan before the show but left there and even bigger fan.
At the end of the night, the crew loaded our gear up for us and they even packed my car (better than I did), hugs were exchanged, and Allison and I were on our way home (Luis left a lil earlier than we did). It was 1:30 in the morning and we were so giddy and we just couldn’t stop talking about the show. This show was an important show for us and it felt like,”Wow. We did it! Charlie Brown finally kicked the football!” We talked about our excitement of two upcoming out of town shows (details posted soon) and we talked of the future of the band. Before Luis had left, the three of us congregated in the green room backstage and Luis said, “This was magic.” I couldn’t have said it myself. Even as magical as this was, this is just the beginning of a new beginning. I guess, for Deep Purple fans, this would be Collins Drive Mk. 4! Whatever you wanna call it, I call it home and I call it just where I want to be!
Huge thanks to The Masquerade, Amigo the Devil, Harley Poe, and Blood Oaks for an amazing evening. This one is definitely one for the books.