Last night was one of my favorite shows/experiences of my life. I literally don’t know if I’ve ever been happier on any stage. The Troubadour staff was not the typical Los Angeles crew. They were all incredibly kind, friendly, and the sound guy, Sean is a San Diego Native!!! (Torrey Pines High School)
When I first showed up, I have to admit, I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. A lot of the other artists were taking a LONG time to soundcheck. (Literally about 20 minutes a piece for a set that was supposed to be 25.) It actually proved really good for me. Because doors didn’t end up opening til around 7:30, and I didn’t take the stage till closer to 8:00 which is MUCH better than the 7:30 time slot I had been given. I also was a little bummed because the show was thrown by my good friends at Planet LA and SESAC, but I hadn’t had a chance to really perform for them. So when I was told I was the opening act, it was definitely a major blow to my pride… BUT after talking to Mark at Planet LA Records, I reminded myself that I’m just the new guy in town. I have a longgggg way to go before I can start getting all “Diva” on people… 😛
I got to the troubadour and checked in with the door guy named, Chris, who got pretty mad at me for calling him “Sir”. (My bad…) I got my cool little troubadour artist wristband and gave him my list of peeps, and went inside. I was able to check out the other guys’ sound checks and felt kinda bad for the sound guy cause some of the bands were complaining about how their equipment sounded. Here’s a news flash… If your equipment doesn’t sound good at the Troubadour, it’s not the Troubador’s fault… If you’re playing “Acoustic”, you should be grateful for a “line check”. (A line check is basically just plugging in to make sure your stuff works.) But everyone ended up feeling happy with the way their stuff sounded, and I thought everyone did a fantastic job!
When everyone finished I jumped up and ran a song, thanked Sean for making it sound amazing, and went upstairs. I started telling everyone it was my first show… Which is dumb… But one of my favorite things to do to disarm other bands. They tend to treat you better, and not be so high and mighty, like so many of us musicians can get. 😛 Some of the other guys even gave me tips on what to do on stage… I just grinned…
James from SESAC came up to ask for my intro, and he was given my bio. I told him he could skip the stuff about the Jonas Brothers, but it’d be cool if he could mention the San Diego Music Awards, and that I was single. Then I told him to speak from the heart… I’m pretty sure that’s the only part he heard, cause the intro went something like this: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am incredibly honored firstly to know this next artist and second to be able to introduce him. He is going to do great things, and has already done more for himself than most bands do with the help of others. Give it up for Josh Damigo!”
“Wow…” I thought, “that wasn’t what I was expecting… Here we go… Give ’em hell…” And with a HUGE grin on my face, I grabbed my Wechter and plugged in.
I started with my new song, “Just Let Me Love You”, cause I think that one let’s me show off my voice a little more. It helps me gain a little confidence and tugs at people’s hearts, cause there’s always someone in your past that for some reason just wouldn’t take your love. From there I started “Pocket Change”. I apologized for my disease of “whiteness” and asked for help with the rhythm. That went over well, and people clapped for a few seconds. After “Pocket Change” I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play… But I decided to go with “LA is Not My Home”, because everytime I play that song here, someone comes up to me and tells me how I “hit that right on the head…” It speaks to people here cause everyone feels like they don’t know who to trust in LA. I set up the song by apologizing to everyone for not liking their city. (They laughed.) I told them that they were not included when I wrote this song, because they were all obviously gorgeous and brilliant people, and I couldn’t wait to meet them all. 😛 Then I reminded the ladies that I was single…
At the end of the song, I ended with saying, “Here’s to dreams.” Which kinda just popped into my head. “That was cool.” I thought. I got so lost in the moment that I had NO clue what to play next. Since the crowd had quieted down, I decided this was a crowd that could handle another quiet song, so I played another new one called “If I Had a Dollar”. It literally freaked me out as this huge club got down to a Lestat’s-Like-silence. I was under the impression that no one in LA really cared about the music, cause whenever I go to shows, all you can hear is people trying to talk louder than the guy playing on stage! (That’s quite rude… Btw…) The dollar song went over pretty well, and is one of my shorter ones, so I had time to play one last song.
I dropped “Cougar” on them. 😛 I’ve gotten a lot better at trying to sing Deez’s part, but he has a new verse he likes rapping at shows, so he is still cooler than me. 😛 I was able to get a beat going, then dropped the guitar-playing and sing the entire rap acapella. (And in a room like the Troubadour, it sent shivers down my spine! It was so awesome that this crowd liked music!!! :-D) I even got them to sing after me at one point, and LA is NOT the city you want to try to get crowd participation in… Trust me…
I thanked everybody and hustled offstage and back to the dressing room. I want to tell you, that bands are usually assholes. Like ridiculously rude and they’re waaaaaaay cooler than you, so don’t even look at them… BUT I think I was approached by every person in the green room and they all were incredibly kind. One group of guys stuck out cause they were simply genuine and could even quote my lyrics at me. They are called “Kevin Never Talks”. And they look like a bunch of videogaming ocean beach dwellers. No joke. They were like perfect for a venue like Winstons. They took the stage in between two hard rock bands, and I believe they were the best group of the night. Harmonies were tight. Both rappers legit. The singer/guitar player could play… And the bass/drummer seemed like best friends. They were like a DC Talk/Reggae/Pothead Funk band that mostly talked about strippers and sex… I thought they were hilarious and a lot of fun to watch. I look forward to collaborating with them soon. 😛
Overall the show was great. I met a ton of people and my hand hurts this morning from the amount of people I shook with. I was a little bummed more of my LA friends didn’t come, but I’m sure most of them had “cooler things to do… But the truth is, I still think many of them just see me as the new guy who can hook them up in San Diego. After all, the music scene is still a “game”. I talked with my good friend Angelique about this the other day. I love how there are some people trying to build community here, but they have a huge uphill battle. But I’m down to fight with ya! I’m out at people’s shows every night! That’s what music is all about! You don’t have to go to a venue only if you’re playing!!! Go network! 😛
A huge thanks to everyone who came from San Diego, My boy Grover and his girlfriend, Ruby (my roommate’s sister… And by herself!!! Without my roommate!!! What a punk!!!), Rachel and Amy (who both got their cars towed… And that sucked!!!), Brenda(who came by herself.. Guys… LOTS of single ladies at my show… Seriously…), LOILOVEUIS (aka Lois, who let me know that I was WAY better live than she had expected…:-) and everyone I met and hung out with. A HUGE thanks to Planet LA, the Troubadour and SESAC!
Lastly, here’s a review w/pictures that Rosey posted on her blog. I hope you enjoy!