Mitchell West is the bassist for Loud Boyz. People know they’re going to be loud because the word loud is in the band name. See Loud Boyz this Saturday, August 1 at DC9. They’ll be loud.
My old band, New Rock Church of Fire, was active from 2006 – 2013. We played D.C. a lot during those years, and while we never toured extensively, we did lots of out of town shows on weekends. The D.C. shows were almost always awesome – all of us grew up in the area, and our friends were amazing about supporting – and while most of our experiences outside of D.C. were great, there were definitely some bombs. We once played a show in Rehoboth Beach in a restaurant that had flip flops glued to the wall, and the manager insisted we play for an hour and a half even though we only had 6 songs. There was one show in Baltimore where no one – no one – showed up, so we had to promise the bartender we’d drink a lot so they could pay the sound guy. But I think a show in Blacksburg, VA wins for the shittiest.
We jumped on a bill with some friends and were playing first of three bands. I don’t remember the name of the club we played, but I use the word “club” very loosely here. It was actually a very small vegan restaurant that occasionally had shows. From what I could tell, these shows were mostly limited to small acoustic acts. New Rock Church of Fire was the exact opposite.
We loaded in a few hours before the show and while we waited for the music to start I noticed that the place was starting to get packed. This is normally a good sign, but I was pretty positive these people were not here to see any of the bands that were going to play. Turns out that it was homecoming weekend at Virginia Tech, so these were all diehard alumni football fans in town for the game the next day. Needless to say, when someone started going around telling them they had to pay a cover if they wanted to stay they were not happy. About half of the football fans left, the other half begrudgingly paid the cover just so they didn’t have to find another bar because the whole area was crawling with people.
When we finally took the stage (and as with the term “club,” “stage” is used loosely here – in actuality we moved some tables out of the way and set up in front of the door), no one was impressed. People started leaving a couple of songs in. I get it, if you’re not in the mood to go to a loud rock show it can be unpleasant, but because of where they set us up, if someone wanted to go in or out of the door I – while playing bass – had to move out of the way and let them squeeze by me. The people leaving were as unhappy as I was about this situation. Also the bartender wrote “TOO LOUD” on a napkin and passed it to us. Sorry, this is how it sounds when you have a drum kit in your restaurant.
Once the show was over we sold a few records to the people who were actually there for the music aspect; they dug us and we were starting to feel a little better about what was inarguably a shitty show. Later in the night we were walking down the street, and a group of guys came up and asked if we were the band that had played earlier. I said yes and he immediately (and loudly) replied: “You guys fucking sucked!” It was a fitting end to the evening, and that was the first and last time we played in Blacksburg, VA.