Monday, 1 December 2014

Sonic Spring

The spring of 1993 was in full bloom. Flowers were budding, the leaves were back on the trees, and Grasshopper were gearing up for our biggest show to date. We had been invited to play The Edge 102.1 (CFNY) Sonic Spring Explosion at the Concert Hall AKA the Masonic Temple. This festival was a pretty big deal, as it was heavily advertised in the papers and on the radio. Granted we had been in local papers before and our music was getting heavy rotation on the college radio stations, but this was our first time being mentioned by major newspaper publications and radio stations. We would be performing with Acid Test, Teknicolor Raincoats, and The Morganfields. These were somewhat "bigger" bands that were getting commercial exposure. This was a serious opportunity for us which was very exciting, but to me it wasn't as exciting as the fact that I'd get to perform on the stage of my all time personal favourite venue. It was also put together very professionally, we even received legit backstage passes for the first time in our "career"


We got to the gig fairly early that day, met up with the required contacts, and we even did a sound check for a change, something we were not accustomed to doing unless you pretty much forced us. I guess being a "noise band" we assumed sound-checks would make us too polished sounding come performance time. On this particular day though I was very happy we did sound check. While I was setting up my gear something caught my eye...a pair of drumsticks sitting on the floor. I was always trying to build my stick collection, so naturally I went and snatched them up. I was surprised to see that they were custom sticks engraved and inked with the signature of a drummer and the logo of his band...Sacred Reich. As it turned out the almighty Reich had played the Concert Hall the previous night, and their drummer left behind a memento for me. I decided I would definitely use his sticks for the gig that night.

We still had a few hours to kill before the festivities for the evening commenced, so we tracked down one of the promoters to inquire where we could go to "smoke" He told us we could go down to the basement and do as we please. I was totally shocked to see just how large the basement of the Temple actually was. There were all sorts of hallways and rooms, even a banquet style hall lurked beneath the street. It had a nice wooden floor and I just so happened to have my skateboard with me, so I commenced thrashing about while Derek and Mike continued exploring the basement. 

I had only been skating for a few minutes when the guys called out "Kev! Come here you gotta see this!" I hopped off my board and ran in the direction of their voices, which led me to another smaller room that somewhat resembled a diner, minus an actual counter and kitchen. There were a bunch of "booths", tables with nice plush couch type seating. I realized in the blink of an eye that this was were MuchMusic had interviewed the Beastie Boys exactly one year prior. I was in total awe. We sat down at that very table and preceded to have a session. We were all stoked at the fact that we were sitting where the boys had once sat, cooking B.T.s off the exact table that MCA skateboarded off of during that interview. There was definitely magic in the air.

Eventually it was our time to shine, so we hit the stage and belted out what I considered to be one of our greatest sets to date. I couldn't believe I was playing the Concert Hall, and it was packed with people just like most of the shows I had attended here. This was definitely our biggest shining moment and it was a dream come true to be rocking a stage that had been graced by so many different musical legends. Pretty much every show that ever mattered to me had taken place here and this was another one to add to the list, only this time I wasn't in the audience as a spectator.

After our set we headed out to mingle in the audience however, and we were overwhelmed by the amount of people waiting by the backstage door to greet us as we exited. I couldn't believe I was actually singing autographs for people... it was a total trip. I was also getting eyes from a few pretty ladies so I decided to try and score, but that didn't pan out so well as I had two starstruck fanboys following me around asking questions about the band for the remainder of the night.

Eventually the show ended, we packed up our gear, and headed home. I was so blown away by everything that had unfolded that night as I lay in my bed totally wired. This was indeed our biggest show to date, and the big break we had worked so hard for. I imagined things would just get huge for us now as we were at the pinnacle of our journey. The last thing I expected was the disturbing phone call that came the following day... 

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