Our first show in London was definitely a memorable one. It was at a legendary venue in Shoreditch owned by a mega media conglomerate. We’d caught a super hype Sleigh Bells show there the previous summer. So, this was the type of psychic image we had manifested in our minds.
It certainly wasn’t like that.
Sound check should have given some indication as to how the night would progress. The sound tech was a sickly, scaly young buck who spent the entire time allotted for our sound check regaling us with exciting tales of his rampant crack use. When he found out we were from Toronto, his demeanour lit up like a broken incandescent bulb that had been used to smoke his drug of choice, and he recalled an episode he had in The Six, asking us if we knew a guy named Chaz. (Actually, we did.) Then the doors to the show opened and we hadn’t made a single sound on stage yet, but the sound tech assured us he knew what he was doing.
Now, we’ve been working the DIY circuit for years, booking our own tours and experiencing everything else that comes along with it, so we don’t harbour illusions, and we consider ourselves adaptable in most situations. We love London, and every other show we’ve played here have been among our favourites ever. So, even though our UK debut was starting to resemble a reality show nightmare, we remained unfazed and were more than thrilled to be playing.
When our set time rolled around, we hit the stage with the same amount of enthusiasm that our sound guy apparently had as well. We were totally fucking high and jolted on life. He was also totally fucking high and jolted …… on crack.
We started to blast some beats. No sound. The DIs weren’t connected. He connected them. Tons of obnoxious feedback? Check. A thick wall of nearly inaudible haze that would send even the most devoted My Bloody Valentine fans into a hellish spiral? Double check. Meanwhile, the whole time, our jacked-up antihero working the boards had absolutely no clue of either the obvious issues regarding sound, or our fervent attempts to signal him, as he was deeply invested in a conversation with a young blonde of the opposite sex.
Judging from the disgruntled facial expressions of the crowd, and the newly formed gaping holes left by our now-massacred spirits, we ended our set after three songs and thanked everyone for coming out. The sound guy ran up to us, gave us all high-fives, and said we “killed it”. Apparently we were now one of his new fav bands. Gosh.
And that was the night we invented a new genre: crack-wave.
To end on a high note, our cosmic scales were rebalanced the next day when we went to the Warp Records takeover of the Tate Modern and our aural and visual cortexes got totally blasted just like our beloved little sound tech hitting the pipe.