Saturday, March 6, 2010

November 21st, 1997: Vision, Hands Tied, OS101, Underneath, Pastime, Prisoner of Conscience @ UMBC Commuter Cafe

Here we have the flyer for the first show I ever booked. Since I was at a school with a population of less than 5 people that were even remotely into punk or hardcore, and I was without a car for the first chunk of my time there, it was a bit difficult for me to see many of my favorite bands of the time, since they generally played in DC. This was also pre-internet explosion, and while chat rooms and news groups did exist, the majority of show promotion was not via the internet, unlike today. That era was not too far off though. I was also now in a band that was looking for shows to play so I did what made the most sense to me, I started booking shows myself. I think I found out about the Commuter Cafe as a viable space for shows through John Waszak, who had booked a show in there with a bunch of Annapolis area bands the previous semester. In order to book any kind of event on campus, you had to do it through a legit SGA funded campus organization, so a bunch of us that were into all sorts of independent and underground music formed the Indie Rock Kids Club so we could all book shows on campus. We had a small budget which we used to cover PA rental and we did shows in the Commuter Cafe, the Ballroom, and in the lobby of the radio station. The university also made us hire campus security guards for the shows we did. They did not come cheap, but more on that later. United Kids Inc. was the name of the "production company" I gave myself, inspired by a title of a song off the debut CIV album. The "Inc." bit was a play on the whole corporate "punk" thing which had blown up around that time, but I would come to find people would take it seriously and thought I was this legit production company.

I remember talking to Dave from Vision about playing Baltimore sometime in the near future at a show they played in DC at the Capitol Ballroom. The line up was originally supposed to be something I was super excited about, but when we arrived we had come to find out that most of the good bands had cancelled and the show ended up being Vision, Train of Thought, and Circle of Violence. I have never been much of a fan of tough guy hardcore and watching a dude lumber around stage with a microphone in one hand and a monkey wrench in the other wasn't really my idea of what hardcore was about. I think I got Hands Tied's contact info from Dave as well and he also suggested having OS101 play the show. I think their Victory Records debut had just come out, and while I thought it was a bit corny, I thought it would be cool to book a band that was ex-Hogan's Heroes.

As this was the first time I ever booked a show, I had no ideas about things like guarantees or the hardcore scene in Baltimore or what turnouts might generally be like, so when Dave gave me an amount for Vision, I thought it seemed reasonable enough. I know I was super into Hands Tied at the time, but it's hard for me to say how many other people in the area were as well. Nevertheless, I thought the show would bring out at least 250 - 300 people, based on my experiences of going to shows with a line up like this in New Jersey a year or so earlier. About a week or so prior to the show Hands Tied cancelled due to someone in the band breaking their hand or finger. I can't remember which or who it was. I was really bummed as I was really looking forward to seeing them play. I think just over 100 people ended up coming out to the show, and while it was a pretty fun time, I was really nervous as the security budget for the show was gonna eat up almost half of what we made at the door and I didn't quite have half the money that I had promised to Vision. I explained the situation to Dave and he was totally cool about it. I was so relieved. He said he understood and they had a fun time and all was good. Shortly thereafter was when I learned of the concept of door deals, and, with a couple of exceptions, it's how I've booked shows ever since.

I made the flyer in my Introduction to Digital Art class, which was pretty much just working with Photoshop. My friend and neighbor at the time, Damon Pieri, drew the characters for me and I scanned them in, along with some of the band logos, and put it all together. I was pretty proud of it at the time. Damon was also the one who brought up the idea of telling people to bring canned goods and getting a donation together for Food Not Bombs, though at the time I don't think either of us had any idea who was doing Food Not Bombs in the Baltimore area at the time so we ended up giving everything we collected to Our Daily Bread. "Worm" was a nickname given to me my freshman year by some upperclassmen I had befriended who I'd go skating with at the Lansdowne Bowl. It was pre-Friday (the movie), and I was told it was because when they first met me they got the impression that I was a little conniving and weasel-like. Go figure. However, it stuck through most of my time at college and to this day there are still a few friends from back then that still use it. Amazing.

7 comments:

GRAVE MISTAKE said...

I'm pretty sure Aus Rotten played the loft the same night as this show and I was torn between which show to go to ... I ended up coming to this one but I got there late and only saw VISION because my car battery kept dying on me. I think i have a few photos from this show. Vision was good but i do regret not seeing AUS ROTTEN.

Johnny said...

Mike those UMBC shows are were I meet a lot of people I still know to this day, yourself included. Great memories.

Mike Riley said...

John Mutchler? I'm trying to remember when we first met. I have the worst memory for this stuff.

I'm for real SA said...

I remember bringing a can of food for this show to get a dollar off. When i saw this post, i thought of Underneath and how the singer screamed like a banshee. I also fell asleep during POC. Vision was fucking awesome and they were really cool to us young ones at the time.

Johnny said...

Mike if you think your memory is bad imagine how mine is haha. I dont remember when we meet for sure but it had to be around the time of these shows. This is also when I meet all the UMD kids like Alex D. Moffer Vogal ect. ect..

Mike Riley said...

Glad I was somewhat elemental in bringing everyone together.

Jess said...

Alex, yes, there was an Aus Rotten show at the Loft that night. I blew this off to go see them for the 11,000th time.