Welcome to My First Show, where we give bands a chance to talk about the first shows they ever attended -- no matter how uncool and embarrassing those tales may be.
When he isn't recording, tour managing, or running sound for other bands, Matt Barnhart has Tre Orsi going. And Tre Orsi is far more than just a side gig: The Denton-based trio released Devices + Emblems last year, and the band will share the stage with legends Mission of Burma later this month.
Given the number of local acts who have been through The Echo Lab, the studio that Barnhart co-owns, and the number of acts he's toured with (most recently Superchunk, Destroyer and The Dodos), he surely must have a number of great first show memories.
Maybe too many to remember? Not always a bad thing.
After the jump, Barnhart shares with his his very first show memory -- one that has a nice connection with someone he's recently worked with in the studio.
What was the first show you remember seeing?
The Oak Ridge Boys at Six Flags in Arlington. I was maybe four or five years old. Years later, I found out that Daron Beck (of Pinkish Black, the Great Tyrant, and Pointy Shoe Factory) was there as well. As for the show itself, it was in one ear and out the other.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
What was the first show you remember paying to see? Anything you can brag about today?
Brutal Juice and Baboon at Mad Hatter's in Fort Worth, either in 1992 or early 1993. It turned out to be the release party for Brutal Juice's "Black Moment of Panic" 7-inch on Alternative Tentacles, but my friends and I were clueless. I had heard of both bands, saw the show listing in a local paper, and somehow convinced my parents that driving to a shitty part of Fort Worth was a good idea. I'm sure we were insufferable idiots to the rest of the crowd. Having only previously heard punk rock on dubbed cassettes, devoid of any social context, both bands blew my mind. Baboon were anthemic, an every-man's band, and Brutal Juice were frightening, shirtless, louder-than-god noise with a strobe light. It's not as historic an event as my wife's first show (she saw Embrace and Rites of Spring in D.C.), but, while buying a T-shirt and 7-inch from [Brutal Juice bassist] Sam McCall (the guy from the band I just saw on stage) after the show, I got my first real insight into punk rock and underground culture.
What has been the worst show you've seen, so far?
Considering that, in addition to recording, I've been doing live sound for 10 years, a) there have been too many to remember, and b) what constitutes a "bad show" for me these days is probably different than the average showgoer. I've thankfully learned to disengage from music I would otherwise find offensive. I just experience it as sound pressure waves and voltage. As a show-goer, the biggest disappointment I can recall is the band Wheat from Boston. I really enjoyed their records at the time, but live, they were just... gross. They exuded a sexuality on stage that was neither Iggy Pop cool or Greg Dulli comical. It was just weird and off-putting, and I haven't listened to them since.
What do you remember about the first Tre Orsi show?
We were opening for Magnolia Electric Co., and it was my first time singing lead since high school, so I was pretty nervous. Jason Molina (singer of the Mags) told me, "If you can't remember the next line, just sing, 'And...' and something good will come out."