Vegas to Hollywood, CTC Rocks SpringBreak in SoCal

Posted: April 14, 2009 in Band, best, control the chaos, heavy metal, hollywood, hot, Las Vegas, molten metal, rock, teen, west coast, whisky

Current mood: accomplished
Category: Music
April 6, 2009 – W. Hollywood, CA (USA) –

Traffic on the US-101 was predictable. Congested, slow. A quick glance at the gas gauge warns that we’d better make a petrol stop if we wanted to avoid problems. We exit in Echo Park only to meet even more congestion and gridlock. A quick redirect on the GPS has us heading westward again in no time. We’re still six miles away, but we’re officially on “the Sunset Strip” and we begin to take in the sites and sounds of Tinseltown, natives yet tourists. It’s a picture-perfect day, about 80 degrees. Three car loads transport the Las Vegas teen metal band, Control the Chaos and an assortment of amplifiers, guitars and music gear towards our destination.

With anticipation, we pass other famous icons: Santa Monica Boulevard, Vine Street. We cruise past the GC “Rock-Walk” and bathe in the shadow of the big, white letters that spell H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D on the slope before us. Anticipation grows as we turn the corner past La Cienega. We see the House of Blues on our left and begin surveying the surrounding buildings for any early glimpse of the Whisky building.

As Clark Street comes into view, an excitement builds. All passengers stare in unison at the marquee facing Sunset Boulevard. Twenty feet in the air, the words “Whisky a Go-Go” are unmistakeable against the horizon. And in the exact same snapshot, exactly four feet underneath the building placard, in bold black lettering against a pale-white background four additional words stand-out, shouting our arrival: “TONIGHT: CONTROL THE CHAOS”

Anxious, we find the closest, empty parking spot and make our way towards the entrance. Everyone’s smiling. We’re really here.

There’s an impossible darkness that engulfs the senses for the first ten seconds of transition from Sunset Boulevard through the portal that delivers us on to the main floor of the bar. A coolness tints the air as the moist, earthen aromas fill the nostrils. As eyes adjust from the brightness of the LA sun to the barely lit lair, a row of bright red booths aligned against the interior wall begins to appear. Stretched in the distance are neon illuminations labeling the restrooms. Ahead, barely forty feet separates our soles from the souls of legends. All eyes quickly transfix on the elevated platform that is clearly the focal point of the room. Lavishly adorned with long black curtains, a sea of electronic cables and PA monitors, the riser looks as inviting as it is intimidating. Small rips and stains in the carpet are as historic as the floorboards beneath. The stage sits silent, but there is a definite audible pulse to it’s presence.

The rest of the lower level appears empty, aside from the sound of funk and jazz fading in and out through the central sound system. A few volume adjustments and equalized variations later, the groove finds the perfect balance within our ear drums and now, the full spectrum of our environment comes into visual and aural focus. We’ve arrived at the world-famous, Whisky a Go-Go nightclub in West Hollywood. The only venue still in operation that has been inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and the defacto standard and prerequisite stage for any aspiring rock act. It is this same establishment which gave voice to legendary artists such as Jimmy Hendrix and Joplin, Led Zeppelin and The Doors and the christened birthplace of LA rock giants Guns-N-Roses and Motley Crue. This shortlist pales in comparison to the lengthy guestbook of performers that have raised this roof. A quick glance upwards exposes a staircase to the upper level and an overhanging balcony, surrounding the primary sound booth.

The sound engineer, “Slava” barely acknowledges our initial presence. We wait patiently as he continues to fuss with sliders and knobs. Our basic questions are typical: Hello…Where do we park? Where do we sign in? Where do we load? Pony-tailed and peering out from round-rimmed glasses he extends a hand-shake and shuffles a few pieces of paper to our attention. He then goes about administering instructions as to where we should stage our gear, what time to anticipate sound-check and where we can grab a quick bite to eat before the show. Parking is in the alley, where we should be able to find an attendant already on duty. “You guys are first, so you sound-check last,” Slava announces. He points to a second figure, buried under the far counter. “This is Sam, our front-of-house engineer. When it’s your turn, he’ll help adjust your monitors. Sit tight and thanks for being on time. Oh, and you get five extra minutes on your set tonight.” With that, he smiles and leaves us to carry out his orders. He moves on towards new shadows that have entered the doorway. It’s exactly three hours before show time and the other bands have begun to show up…

By 7pm, sound check for all performers was complete. Some early fans began to mull the main floor, most looking for a drink as relief from a hot and long day. All seemed ready to be entertained. Whisky security ushered the growing crowd outside stating that everyone must remain outside until the official opening, band members included.

As directed, we exited through the same door we had entered a few hours earlier. This time the scene had changed. Gone was the western sunshine. The element had transformed into full-on nightlife. The street was alive with brightness and noise. Traffic staged at every corner. Sidewalks full of pedestrians and passers-by. Outside of the Whisky an attendant was signing in the band members and stamping our hands for re-entry. A quick review of our crew and guest list was reviewed with the floor manager and all was in place. It was at this time that we noticed familiar faces along the sidewalk. Family, friends, fans. Many locals from the Los Angeles area, and some suprising faces had driven all the way from Las Vegas to show their support. The excitement and anticipation begain to fill again. We took in everything around us, to savor the moment. Then we noticed it…The line.

Wow. A very impressive line for a Monday night. A line of people wrapped around the corner, farther than could be seen from the main entrance. A line that we had not expected so early in the evening, for our first time in town.

The doorman officially opened the club doors at 7:15pm. Bands entered first, where CTC quickly posted near stage, right. The upstairs balcony soon reached capacity. The red booths, filled. Lines began to form at each bar. Laughter, voices, music… all filled the air. The main floor became peppered with spectators. A bartender arrived carrying waters for the band, which were quickly positioned at optimal locations for each member.

One final prayer, one final look. “Kick ass guys” were the the final words mentioned. The lights dimmed, “Control the Chaos’ flashed across the video monitors and the emcee announced the start of the show. A perfect sounding, amazingly entertaining CTC show would extend the next 35 minutes. One of the band’s best, and the cheers and screams of the audience confirmed our acceptance.

Two days later, we would be invited back to play on a prime night back at the Whisky. A Friday night in May. Stay tuned world… we can’t wait to get back to LA!!!

-Control the Chaos

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