Boulder, CO – “The Suck Button” – The Foundry – September 20, 1998

The Foundry is a pool hall, bar, and music venue with tall ceilings and a cigar-smoking, board-game-playing section.  It fills up with a late-night crowd who’re mostly there to hook up or die trying.  I knew it wouldn’t be a glamorous gig but I didn’t think it would be disastrous and in all fairness, it was really only the first 2.5 hours that sucked.

The trouble started when our sound man, Rex, showed up.  He’d clearly been around the block if not around the whole neighborhood.  He was a Vietnam veteran who demanded respect. He had a white-bearded face that was quick to smile and, we’d later find out, just ask quick to scowl and yell curses at us and our unborn children.  During a two-hour sound check (which normally takes 15-20 minutes) Rex couldn’t figure out how to get even a peep from the guitars. He kept looking at the stage with squinted eyes, turning a knob, worrying it right and left, right and left, right and left, looking down, locating a new knob, squinting eyes, worrying it left and right, left and right, and repeat. Repeat. REPEAT. Once he realized he was getting nowhere with the knobs, he started yelling at us, infuriated at his own incompetence. 

Jeremy was most frustrated with the situation on account that every time he was asked to check his mic he’d get an electrical shock to the lips.  This hurts. I can attest. It feels like a hornet sting on the tongue. Plus it’s, mind the pun, shocking. Jeremy cursed, paced the stage, was told the problem had been fixed, and got shocked again and again. It was like watching a Milgram experiment and I didn’t think I should watch my band take much more abuse.

I approached Pony, The Foundry’s owner who was deeply apologetic and frantically called around to other local venues trying to find a decent sound technician for us.  When Steve (our savior) showed up from The Boulder Theater he asked what needed to be done.  Quietly, out of Rex’s earshot, I let Steve know I was afraid we needed to start from scratch. 

We had a decent show once Steve got the sound on track.  We had to compete with an ever-increasing number of ever-increasingly drunk, desperate 20-somethings looking for a hook-up but the cluster of folks who crowded around our chest-high stage were totally into us and I could have sworn I even saw a few people mouthing the words to some of my songs.  Is that even possible?

The F*ed up thing was that every time Steve would step away from the soundboard, even a few feet, fuzzy little Rexy would scurry on over and push all the suck buttons despite Steve and Pony’s explicit instructions to stay away from it.  It was like he couldn’t control himself.  It actually made me laugh and reminded me not to take myself too seriously. 

Thanks Rex.

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2 Replies to “Boulder, CO – “The Suck Button” – The Foundry – September 20, 1998”

  1. The Foundry sounds like a dire place! Thankfully, a quick check on the internet tells me it shut down in 2009. Good riddance. You are brave, Sally!

    1. Hey Cindy,
      Actually the foundry was one of the best places in Boulder back when I lived there. I did the photo shoot of APT #6S there (you can see “the foundry” printed on the wall behind me on the cover). But maybe it wasn’t the best place to play. I wish that place was still around. I made some of my favorite boulder memories there. If it was still opened I’d insist you meet me there for a mocktail and a game of pool and maybe not a concert. You’d love it.

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