On the road… thanks to my friend Bahkiti Kumalo, I’m sharing my adventures with the Monophonics –
(Note: Cool tour video at the end!)
On a Wednesday at the end of July, I received that call, the one that you always hope you would get. For me it was my friend Bahkiti Kumalo on the other end. Thinking this was just a social call to touch base about bass, well it wasn’t. He let me know that he needed a sub for a gig that he was subbing for. The band the Monophonics, a band out of the Bay Area of San Francisco, had a bunch of gigs on the east coast. Their regular bass player had a day gig that he just couldn’t get out of so they needed someone quick to fill in. Well that would be where I come in. It’s 2:00 pm on Wednesday and I get a set list of 20 tunes to shed in 24 hours before the gig in DC. Okay, DC is 300 miles from where I live and now we have to figure out how I’m going to get there. In comes the tour manager, Reed Shippy, who figures out that with a rental car I can drive to DC and catch up with the band…. Now it’s time to shed, except I still had a full load of students to teach before I can get to the material; I’ll figure it out on the way.
Got the rental at 8:45 am and headed out on the road to DC for the first club date. Four + hours later and a constant rotation of the Bands CDs on my playlist, I’m close to meeting up. I drop off the rental and meet the band (for the first time); nice guys, different vibe from the east cost but cool nonetheless. We head to grab food and we chill for about an hour before we head back to the hotel to chill while we wait for the opening band, who is running late. This is rough because they have the back-line for the gig. So the load in time is getting later and later 4, 5….5:49… what’s up next? Everyone is in touch via text with the band tour manager, but not sure what’s going to happen. Update… gig started late, opening act that had the back-line had van troubles. They arrived just in time to do their sound check. None for us.
So to recap… 12 hours to learn 90 minutes of music… no rehearsal… go live. It was awesome! We pulled it off with some bumps along the way, but came out the other side. Side note… Jeff from Thievery Corporation sat in on percussion, making the night huge. Set ends, we hang and head to Jeff’s place to chill. Night 1 was awesome.
Back in the van now heading north to the World Cafe live, the traffic was crazy-heavy, so we were rolling in with a quick sound check. The Sermon from Philadelphia was the opener; killer band check them out! Show goes great, a few less bumps than DC.
Back to the van at 12:30am and drive 3 hours so we can make it to Floyd VA for Floydfest. It’s now 3:55 am and we’re checking in.
We hit the van at 9:00am… Coffee!!!!! Damn it’s early, but we have a 3+ hour drive to go. No stops as we have to get there by 2:00 pm. We arrive, it’s raining and we check in. With artist badges and wrist bands, we’re off to find the stage with enough time to grab a quick beer.
Main stage is awesome! We arrived to hear Keller Williams… sweet! Time to get set up… Hammond set up, bass amp set, got my set list, and here we go. We do 65 minutes and it’s time to head to the artist signing line. It’s a cool vibe; people are cool. Now we head back to the artist green room. The guys from Leftover Salmon stop by and hang. Fun times.
Now we chill till the late night set at 12:30am. We try to get some food from catering, grab a nap and touch base with the wife. ; )
At 11:45 pm it’s time to head to the late night stage; we get to close-out the night. We’re going to have guests, the Polyrhythmics are sitting in: 6 horns, 2 guitars, percussion, keys, Hammond, drums and bass. Set starts late so it’s a shorty; we’re going to hit it and quit it. Crowed is pumped, they love The Monophonics and they sing along with every song; powerful moment. The night ends huge and we leave the stage and hang with the other bands for a bit. We grab the van and it’s off to the hotel. It’s 4:00 am by the time we roll into the hotel. Lobby call, 9:00 am.
The drive back… it’s 8:30 am and I’m up and need coffee. I have a 9 hour drive back home and volunteer to do the drive, as most of the guys are still asleep. Nadav and I navigate back to the highway and we’re off. We roll into DC around around 3:00 pm and we go our separate ways. I learned a ton of cool tunes on the fly, met some new, awesome people, made some great friends and played their super-funky, super-cool tunes. Awesome time! I wasn’t expecting to do this but by not saying no, you never know what amazing things can happen.
Now for the Cool Video Montage:
Music: “Foolish Love” by the Monophonics
Check them out monophonics.com!
- Austin Bohlman (Drums)
- Myles O’Mahony (Bass/Background Vocals)
- Ian McDonald (Guitar/Background Vocals)
- Ryan Scott (Trumpet/Back- ground Vocals/Percussion)
- Kelly Finnigan (Keys/Lead Vocals)
- Along with a rotating 2nd horn usually filled by Nadav Nirenberg (Trombone) from Ikebe Shakedown and Breakdown Brass.
- Tour manger, Reed Shippy