Kobe is the next town up on the itinerary. I can only remember playing this club here in Kobe; Varit. It has this rock/industrial vibe to it on the inside. With clear cut angles and metal railings this could also be a techno-house music venue. Who knows, maybe they do have nights like that. The stage though is great with ample backline available and a great pro staff to manage our sound needs. It’s an easy load in with an elevator and small carts for the big and heavy items and the small stuff I can just run it downstairs for quicker results. Before we get to the club we had lunch at Ten-ichi ramen then we ran by this music store named Tone Blue. A small shop with a few vintage instruments but the main output of this store is that the owner is a pedal manufacturer. His pedals, PD or Pedal Diggers gave me a pedal when I was here last time. An 819 pedal. Fashioned after another pedal that was popular among enthusiasts; an 818 I believe, but with different colors to it. I used it for a while but I found it had just a bit too thin of a tone and it fell out of the ranks in my pedal chain. (I say ‘chain’ cuz’ I still don’t use a board). When I arrived here for this tour Mr. Mizui, the owner, had sent me a new 819 pedal that he modified just for me and sure enough this pedal is warmer and has real ‘cutting’ power to elevate the guitar on top when stepped on for a solo. I’ve had a lot of distortion/booster pedals that when you apply them your guitar signal isn’t put on top like I want it to be when I’m taking a solo. It’s as if I’m the guy mixing our music in a studio and when the solo comes I boost the guitar’s volume up just a bit so it stands out. This current 819 was doing just that. Plus like I said it’s warmer too. So today I’m presented with an upgraded model of the 819 with better circuitry and a bigger housing. Industrial size. He also variated the color just slightly to give it the unique look that only belongs to me. And yes this pedal is an upgrade. Gets a great driving blues tone to it for shuffles and the like, but if I crank the gain I’m getting into the ‘Holdsworth-tone’ area. I’ve only had this pedal for two gigs and it takes me several to learn the workings of a pedal so I’m going to have fun with it.
Tonight there is also two opening bands on in front of us. Happy People and Foxy Ass Rip. Happy People is a two guitar and drums instrumentation set-up. Electric and Acoustic respectively. Both are of exceptional talent and the band is very young. With the guitarist’s age being at late 20’s and 31, the drummer brings up the rear at 21. They’ve got their charts on stage and the chords are dense at times but pleasant enough that dissonance does not dominate the spectrum. Nice melodies with fast runs and furious drums they’re not just fun to hear but fun to watch. The show ends with the drummer being featured and in the course of this time he shows off some pretty flashy stick-hand work to give it more ‘Wow’ factor. I’m impressed.
Next up is Foxy Ass Rip and these guys are here just to have some rockin’ fun. It’s a four piece classic rock set-up with a front singer strutting his stuff with attitude and verve. These guys were just straight up fun and they rocked!
The crowd tonight is a decent little crowd but by no means a sell-out like we’ve been enjoying the past week. Nevertheless we go out there with conviction. We throw ourselves into the show and the music. After our show I have fun talking with the staff then we go do the ‘traditional Kanppai’ with the opening bands. Light chatting ensues then they throw on the Jimi Hendrix Story on the screens in the club and I’m hard pressed to look away. Love this movie, especially when Hendrix smashes the guitar he set on fire at the Monterrey Pop Festival. So visceral and emotive. I find myself lightly grunting every time Jimi swings the guitar and crashes it down on the stage. What a release….
Makes me feel as if I have nothing as strong to offer like that. It is Hendrix though… He’s still a giant amongst us all.