Liberation Tourology with ALO #11
We busted out every party song we had and dissolved into a full-on accordion polka extravaganza. The whole room was a dirty, sweaty mess. It was probably the most rock moment I’ve ever had in ALO.
The first place we played in Indy was Birdie’s. 150 people all smoking in a bar with no windows or ventilation of any sort. Then we played the Music Mill for a couple of years, which was a nice, clean and new spot with state of the art sound. Now we’re at The Rathskeller, which I would say kind of falls between those two extremes. But The Rathskeller is very different from any venue we’ve ever been in before. It’s a restaurant, tavern and social hall designed by Kurt Vonnegut’s grandfather that has served as a center for German culture in Indianapolis for over 100 years.
They fed us an amazing meal in a private dining room. A bronze bust of Kurt himself overlooked the scene. The band and entourage consumed mass quantities of schnitzel, spatzel, brauts and kraut, not to mention German lagers of all hues. We were set up in an old band shell out in the biergarten, ready to rock hundreds of the local gentry. It was a warm and sticky evening with music in the air, and beer was everywhere.
Halfway through our set: Lightning. Thunder. RAIN. Lots and lots of rain.
We were just finishing up the acoustic breakdown portion of our show when the weather turned ugly. They cut the PA, and it occurred to us that we might as well take the acoustic show inside and have a real party. We cleared it with the manager and he was all for it. So, we made our way to the ballroom via the bar. By the time we got in there about 200 people had formed a half circle on the floor. They were amped. The drama of the weather and the “show must go on” attitude had gotten them all riled. I guess most bands would just call it a night under these circumstances, but ALO has played so many weird shows in so many different circumstances that things like thunderstorms don’t really faze us. We just want to give the people their money’s worth. We just love to play music.
Zach went and rounded up every guitar amp he could find. We had one for the guitar, one for the bass and one for accordion and vocals. Problem was, the cable to plug the mic into the amp wasn’t working. Time to troubleshoot and come up with a work-around. Somebody put a direct box in my hand. A direct box is used to plug an instrument with a ¼” jack into an input box with mic inputs on it. But we had to go the other direction — mic cable to ¼”. Was the direct box reversible? Would it work either way? We didn’t have a working mic cable, so I just plugged the mic directly into the box. Then, Lebo attached the ¼” cable to the amp. The moment of truth: Lebo dials up the volume as I test the mic. Sound! Triumph!
The already rowdy mob goes crazy as I tell them we’re about to play a lot more music for them. We launch into Wasting Time, a groovy country-soul tune about partying while you still got the time. And party we did. Five guys all crowded around one mic. The sound of the vocals through the amp was pure delta blues. We proceeded to play for another two hours. We busted out every party song we had and dissolved into a full-on accordion polka extravaganza. The whole room was a dirty, sweaty mess. It was probably the most rock moment I’ve ever had in ALO.
Thank you, God, for the weather and thank you, Indianapolis and The Rathskeller for being so authentically into music and life and beer.
Keep up with all things Brogan, ALO or otherwise, at his official website.