Drunk At A Show: Artist Edition ft. Chris Sicard from Waking Things
What you don’t know about writing an article about your own show is the difficulty of doing so is magnified by the chaotic back and forth you have before, during and after your set. Adding on the ever looming buzz I had to cultivate to make this article hold true to it’s name, I felt neck deep before I managed to do a soundcheck.
As self-serving as it might seem to write a review of a show that I was a part of, the challenge was interesting enough for me to brush off the cobwebs and try my hand at saying something larger than myself, while also taking an opportunity to not censor my thoughts.
I started my night by introducing myself to a few members of Joyfield and The Requisite. Ellie Hanes wearing a faux-cheetah fur jacket, enthusiastically shook my hand. Maxwell Royce and I had already met at one of my shows merely a week prior to tonight, but he provided me with a hearty bear-hug despite his fresh chest tattoo still in the healing process. Most, if not all band members exchanged friendly “hellos” and dispersed to prepare for what we were all sure was going to be a really exciting night.
It was directly after this time I found my way to the green room and opened beer number 1. Then number 2, then 3 and 4. By the time Joyfield took the stage I felt I had a steady buzz going, so I could honestly try to do this piece justice.
(Photo by Trevor Foyston)
I could already tell by being privy to their soundcheck that Joyfield was, as I oft-repeated through the night, one of the “tightest” bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing a bill with. Steady, rhythmic, swells of keys and bass were accented by mostly poppy, yet driving drums and highlighted by guitar parts that seemed to stamp the songs with a certified vein of electricity. The woman I had met merely an hour or so prior, Ellie Hanes, was now clearly, and cleanly delivering harrowing, almost ethereal style voicing. But my favorite part was being genuinely surprised by the development of their songs as their much too short set, came to an end. I was expecting a lot of sounds similar to their singles “Racing Hearts” and “Taste Like Summer”, but instead was given songs blending their natural pop sentiments with a strong blues-fusion style, courtesy of the most smiley guitarist I’ve ever met, Josh Richins', precision. And if all that wasn’t enough, bassist Sean Lane was kind enough to let my bass player use his new amp.
And that’s where I want to not only say a few things about my set, but also bring up something I’ve been ruminating on. At the end of last year, mostly inspired by reacquainting myself with ATCQ, I started shouting the idea of starting some kind of Seattle collective, at anyone that would listen. When I drink it’s not easy to contain these ideas, so I apologize to any show-goers or band members that got an earful of my lofty hopes and dreams. But as silly as it sounds, and as mundane as it may seem to other musicians, I felt genuinely touched by the simple act of gear sharing. Most musicians will tell you, that it’s common practice, but as someone who doesn’t always feel as connected to the “scene” (whatever that is), I felt the spark of a collective flicker just a little bit harder by that small act of kindness.
See, you ask for it and this is the kind of drunk Chris Sicard you get. Either loud, talkative and brash (eg: the length of this article) or way too thoughtful on seemingly innocuous interactions.
As Joyfield left the stage I found myself breathing a little bit heavier and feeling like I should just tape the tall boy of PBR to my hand. I came to the realization that this show was the first time in a long time, that I felt nervous by the energy of the crowd. Everyone had been so supportive and excited for Joyfield, so naturally being a bit knocked, I thought ‘I might actually bomb’. But once we got rolling, all of that faded away.
For the last year or so Waking Things has been operating as a 3 piece. One that as a musician, felt comfortable because Matt, Brian, and I were able to dig ourselves into our own little pocket of playing. Going on a self-booked mini tour down to California and Oregon and playing all over Washington. But I can now say with the utmost certainty, that Samantha Aiello was the piece we had been missing for some time. Her shining moments of untamed vocal gymnastics were peppered in between our bread and butter harmonies.
(Photo by Joe Doleski)
And while our set was definitely “louder” than Joyfield’s, that didn’t shy the crowd away. We tore through 8 songs ranging from our newest single “Fickle Bitch” to the ever-popular “Pretend” and I lost myself in that purity of finally being able to share my art and words with some of my closest friends and one of best and biggest crowds I’ve ever played in front of. The cheap beer was and always will be a decent sedative to my shaky hands. Every few moments I remembered I wasn’t alone up on this small stage. Leaning back toward Matt, ever the showman, his rise and strike drumming reminiscent of Kenny Aronoff, a reference that might be lost on non-musicians. Since Matt and I have been playing together for years we fall in lock step, the same way traditionally a drummer and bass player would.
(Photo by Trevor Foyston)
Once we finished our set, I began to scramble around the venue. Bouncing in between tearing down my own gear, playing Smash Bros. at our merch booth with new and old fans and giving thanks to the room as best I could. Most people were in shock by my lack of inhibition, due to my walking around in a freshly crafted singlet, courtesy of Something Witchy’s Melody Allen.
(Photo by Trevor Foyston)
As my own adrenaline started fading, a hooligan version of Savage Garden’s “Truly, Madly, Deeply” began blaring over the stage monitors. Naturally everyone in the room that recognized the 1997 hit was chanting along. And with my energy resurrected, The Requisite finally took the stage. Luis, Sam and Matt took their positions, with Maxwell poised in the middle. Without hesitation they broke out into their newest song “High Five” a smashing through the gallery type of pop-rock song, with more emphasis on the rock. This is what essentially defined the rest of their set. Occasional breaks in the waves of distortion met with technical prowess from both guitarists. I forgot to ask what their process of songwriting was, something that I’m always curious about. But from my perspective they felt very much inline with other singer/songwriter led groups I’ve enjoyed through the years. Their singles “Hurricane Ridge” and “Beat Down” existing on the ends of the nostalgia spectrum of Emo and Late 2000’s Rock. In Maxwell’s own words, “Sad, but Rad.” “Lost Voice” also easily standing out with a catchy as hell chorus melody.
The room finally began to empty at the end of the show. All in all the total number throughout the night was close to 200, but it’s hard to keep those things straight when you’re slamming back your 5th, 6th or 7th PBR. My drummer Matt was entertaining everyone at a back table with his newfound love of magic tricks. And I just kept floating in and out of groups, slightly buzzed, slightly high on the night.
I’ll admit, I spent much of the show nervous, over-excited and talkative. At one point I mentioned to Luis of The Requisite that I’d be writing an article for the show. He genuinely inquired if I was a journalist. I guess that remains to be seen.