Day 4 of the #HOPEtour – Fort Wayne, Wechter, and the Best Venue in the World

Surprise!!! We survived our stay at the “Huggy Bear” hotel! (Monica cracked a funny joke on twitter about how I have a huggy bear tattoo. Well played young lady…) I woke up with this feeling of bleachy sheets and immediately took a shower. Slept for a little longer, and then we headed out to Fort Wayne.

For those of you who don’t know. I’m endorsed by Wechter Guitars. Abraham Wechter and I talked a few years ago after I left him a voicemail message telling him how much I loved his stuff, and a friendship was born. He has taken care of me ever since. He’s introduced me to all the “Big Wigs” at Sweetwater Sound, and brought on a great staff that I enjoy dearly. Guys like Thad, Bart, and Gerson all take care of me regularly and I am so thankful to represent Wechter.

Matt and I get to Wechter and walk into the shop. Gerson has already asked one of his guys, Ben, to do a setup on my guitar and fix a loose tuning peg. Can I tell you something? (I guess the answer is “yes” because you’re still reading…) Ben did the BEST JOB I HAVE EVER HAD on any setup on any guitar I won. (Including my 1960’s Japanese Custom Tele w/ a Bigsby.) I was like a kid in a candy store when I got it back.

For those of you that don’t know what a “setup” is, over time, the guitar changes shape, because wood naturally does that. When the neck of the guitar bends back or up, the “action” or distance between the strings and the fretboard gets higher or lower. This takes the tone of the guitar and messes with it. If you have a guitar and haven’t gotten a setup in a while, you may want to look into that. OR selling your guitar and buying a new Wechter. 🙂

20120727-143614.jpgAfter finishing with the guitar, I went over to Sweetwater and hung out with a few of the guys there. Some of you will remember Marc Silver from my video demoing the Nashville tuned Wechter Guitar. He’s a fantastic guitar player and good friend. We did lunch and he told me about his new book “Contemporary Guitar Improvisation“. If you’re a guitar player, looking to pick up some new techniques, definitely check out his book. I’m gonna be getting it for two of the guitar players in my band. (Justin and Sean) But don’t tell them… I’m pretty sure they don’t read my blog. 🙂

I got to say a quick “Hey” to John Hopkins who was working with Chuck Surack (The Founder/Owner of Sweetwater.) Super nice guys! I love the fact that I’m like a nobody singer/songwriter and they still take time to talk to me. Great company- cool cats.

After leaving Sweetwater, we headed over to the venue. This place is called “C2G” which is short for “Come2Go”. Not sure what it means, but the building has two uses, a state of the art music venue, and a worship center, so I’m guessing it means, “Come here to go to heaven.” Well, that’s what Matt and I did. Because working with them is one of the closest experiences to heaven on earth that I’ve ever had. 20120727-143544.jpg

We unloaded our stuff and checked at around 6:00. Kim and Lance were the sound/media guys and were both professional, and able to give me everything I needed to make the show the best it could be. When I explain my loop pedal, some sound guys have a hard time digesting and understanding what I’m talking about until they hear it. Not these guys. They picked it up, and I believe I only had to check for 10 minutes of an hour long check because it sounded so amazing in the room.

We were set up in the green room, and I got to meet Mark, one of the Pastors at C2G and my contact guy for the show. Mark is very funny, clever, and down to earth- easy to talk to, and we had a good time hanging out with him and Jack after the show. Jack sold my merch. Jack could easily be one of the coolest guys I’ve met on tour, and was professional with my cd’s/merch and ran that booth like a boss!

Let me tell you why this place was “the Best Venue in the World.” I get to venues/gigs all the time and am greeted by people in many different ways. “Oh…. you’re the artist tonight… wait over there.” is one example. Or how about, “You don’t get a sound check, just a line check since you’re just the opener.” (Before I even introduce myself, or say hello.) This place was inviting, and every worker was kind and thoughtful and kept doing things to make me feel at home. When the AC stopped working in my green room, Mark graciously let me use his office, then Jack saw the review of our show from “WhatzupFortWayne” and gave it to me. I was literally speechless. I felt like a Sultan or something!20120727-143558.jpg

Kim came in during Matt’s set and told me that we were filming the show, and that if I wanted to live stream it, I could. So we did.

http://livestre.am/42ZOr

My part starts at around 17:35 🙂 It was literally just a million great things in one spot. This was the last show that we booked on the tour, (about a week ago) and the place had a good 20-30 people there! Not bad for an out-of-town broke ass like myself! 🙂

After the show, we drove back to Chicago, and got in around 3:30 am. I started a load of laundry, took my benadryl and Allegra and got some sleep. Today we’re playing in Milwaukee at Bremen Cafe. Pretty stinking rad! 🙂

Hope to see you guys soon! Thanks to everyone for coming to the show and making this a fantastic tour so far!

-j

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About Joshua Lodge

Josh will cheerfully admit that he averaged less than a dozen people a show when he first began playing San Diego coffee houses and clubs. But he garnered diehard fans in the process, sold a few thousand copies of his EP, Pocket Change, and picked up few awards along the way. After a traumatic family incident Josh retreated inward, and he ended up writing what would ultimately become his breakout debut, Raw. The album was true to its name and people noticed - Josh picked up two San Diego Music Awards for "Best Acoustic" and "Best Local Recording," opened for the likes of Zac Brown, Jason Mraz, and Matt Nathanson, and had enough money and momentum to tour the country a few times over. A few years after Raw, there was his third EP, Hope. Whereas Raw was a mostly acoustic, vulnerable affair, Hope was a celebration. Pleading and poignant, heartfelt and heavy hearted, it segued effortlessly from orchestral to alt-country, eventually landing him in the top 25 on the country charts. One of the hardest working indie singer/songwriters in Southern California, Josh spent much of the year with producer Mike Butler, gathering up some of the finest musicians in town, shaping his songs and sound further still for his album I Will Be There out now on Randm Records. From the joyous encouragement of “Just Give Me a Call”, to the simple sincerity of the ballad “Tennessee”, Josh’s songwriting skills are clear, his voice rings true and his goals remain the same as when he started - to keep making the best music he can, and to share it with all. A few years after Raw, there was his third release, Hope. Whereas Raw was a mostly acoustic, vulnerable affair, Hope was a celebration. Pleading and poignant, heartfelt and heavy hearted, it segued effortlessly from orchestral to alt-country, eventually landing him in the top 25 on the country charts. One of the hardest working indie singer/songwriters in Southern California, Damigo spent much of year with producer Mike Butler, gathering up some of the finest musicians in town, shaping his songs and sound further still for his latest album, "Just Give Me a Call", available now, on Randm Records. From the up-tempo single, “Just Give Me a Call”, to the simple sincerity of the ballad “Tennessee”, Josh’s songwriting skills are clear, his voice rings true and his goals remain the same as when he started - to keep making the best music he can, and to share it with all.
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