Happy New Year, people of Earth. Science Club is back at it.
The Club played it’s first show of the new year, it’s first booked through a new booker. Plently of room for stuff to go wrong, especially considering that we’re prominently involved.
The Voltage Lounge is described as being “next” to the Electric Factory. This is technically true: there is what appears to be an office / loft space separating the larger, established venue from the smaller club that is, by all reports, still trying to find itself (if the proper way to determine the age of trees is to cut them in half and count the rings, the proper way to age a rock and roll bar is to see how much grafitti is in the bathroom. I’d estimate that more than 80 percent of the men’s room remains unmolested by bathroom poetry and hastily scrawled band names).
From the street, however, it looks like Voltage is connected to TEF. The two story bar faces the street and boasts a similar layout to the larger venue that shares it’s space. The bottom floor has a bar, tables, a small dance floor / mosh pit area, and stairs leading up to more tables that overlook the stage. It looks nice. It’s big enough, however, that a smaller, shittier band (you know, like the band I am one/third of) could potentially get worried about not bringing enough people and making the bar look even bigger than it is by the absence of paying customers. Addition by subtraction, if you will.
I need not have worried. Science Club had a pretty good group of fans come out to see them Friday night in Philadelphia. In return, we played a pretty good show in which I only lost my voice a little bit. It was a good start to the year. Shouts out to a group of teachers, a gaggle of dudes from Bensalem, PA, some shaggy West Philadelphia people and my roommate Brett for making it out. We even got paid, which has happened, what, less than six times? Pretty cool stuff.
When I say “we got paid,” I want to make it clear what this means. First, it means we made a little bit of money, enough money to pay for our practice space and not a thing more. We didn’t make enough money to fill a gas tank. That’s okay, though. For a band like ours, a band made up of three guys with other stuff going on, a chance to practice for free, even for a week, is a blessing. Secondly, not every venue will pay a performing band. I used to get way more upset about the kind of low-level screwjobs that venues will pull on small bands who scrambled to get a draw then get nothing back from it. Many venues won’t pay out until the bar closes, only to scrape out $10 out of the tip jar. Others will flat-out still a band entirely. I doubt this happens to Banner Pilot or Dillinger Four or whatever, but when you’re just some slapdick 20-something playing power chords to 10 people, it’s easy to get screwed (not that you really should be getting that much money anyway).
The other bands on the bill were all pretty great, too. The first band, Andorra, was a group of dudes who appeared to be just over 21 but played with a mastery beyond their years. Ariables is a prog three-piece who seemed to apologize for being a prog three-piece by covering “My Own Worst Enemy,” “The Middle” and “Baba O’Riley.” Jeanette Berry and the Soul Nerds were a full-fledged soul band with the vocals to back it up. All three were a party and fun to share / ruin a bill with.
All of this is to say that I enjoyed the Voltage Lounge. It was a good venue. The soundman, Lee, was helpful. The bar didn’t have any beer specials, but whatever, thems’ the breaks. We’re playing there again in February. It’ll be good.
Tonight, Science Club plays its second show of the year at the Lit Lounge in Manhattan. According to my cousin, it’s a pretty big venue with some history to it. I just hope no one throws anything too heavy at us. Lord willing, we’ll make a friend and get a little more money to spend at on practice.
Two big developments in the Science Club world are happening this year. Stay tuned for the full gory details.