I've been waiting to see this band since 1999. That's when my pal Jena from LA sent me a tape of their first record. She had a friend up near where the band is from that liked them and Jena thought I might dig it, too. I shore did. A whole lot. I wore that thing out (still got it!) that summer and ever since have been following every move by that band, then known as Jive N Direct. They released another record, then changed their name to JND, released an EP, changed their name to just Damon Castillo, or DCBand and released another EP and then a double-CD live set. And then they came to Philadelphia.
First, they came to New York City. And since I could, and since it's only a couple hours away, I went to that, too. It was the night before the Philly show. I'm really glad I trekked up there because the NY set was a good 20 minutes longer than the one here, and I also got a decent handful of different songs at both gigs. I bumped into Larry Kim, sax player extraordinaire, walking up the stairs in NYC as I was walking into the venue. We chatted for a minute, and I was in geek heaven. He's super cool. Their set was awesome and very well received by a pretty solid crowd. I inadvertantly saw half of King Norris' set, a band fronted by Fred Norris from the Howard Stern show... a fact I didn't know until the day after the show. There were a grand total of about 6 people watching King Norris play. Thankfully that morphed into about 100 for DCB.
So I came to the Philly gig with my camera, my camcorder, my own pre-made setlist and a ton of cash. I asked for a table as close to the stage as possible and got the one directly in front of it. They literally started bringing out and setting up their gear as we were walking in... Larry recognized me shortly thereafter and came over to say hi and wondered why I didn't stick around after the show the night before but figured I probably had to catch a train or something. I showed him my setlist and he thought it was awesome and immediately called to Damon to come check it out. He got a kick out of it, too. They were both like, "wow... how did you even KNOW that song?" because I threw in a bunch of songs that never made it onto records and apparently had fallen out of the live rotation. Damon said "you went deep!" Larry said about one... "I remember the hook to that, but that's about it". I know it was corny, but I had to at least sort of request some of my favorites and also let them know that I was a hardcore, long-time fan. Without getting all up in their faces. Oh, yeah... I took some pictures.
Soundcheck... chillin'. Kristian and the current bassist, sort of just for this tour, Forest.
Full band checkin'. Minus Larry.
There's Larry. Blurrylarry.
Let the gig begin. JJ gets in some backing vocals in Damon's armpit.
Really, the only picture I got with all of them in the frame... and unfortunately, Damon is all kindsa out of focus.
Damon close-up, lookin' kinda creepy. JJ sneaks in armpit backing vox, again.
Much more in focus, but dark.
Kristian, aka Mr. Kotter.
BlurryBassist, rockin' out.
That's not bad.
Face off! Lovely double sax-guitar jam in On The Throat.
Less blurry Larry.
Had to break out the infared nightshot mode to get a decent shot of JJ on the kit, back in the darkness. He always looks so calm.
Wow, and they're all nice guys, too. Damon came back out and chatted me up for a minute after their set (which was way short) and thanked me for coming out... I mentioned something about buying a t-shirt, but they didn't have them out - (they did up in NYC) I was worried maybe they had them packed up in the van. He said they had them in the green room, and invited me back, so I just kinda followed. It's not even that I really wanted a shirt as much I just wanted to buy something else, since I already had all their CDs. So I'm hanging with the band backstage and Damon is rifling through their merch trunk trying to find a shirt in XL. I went with the brown (they had men's black and brown) and he couldn't find one in that size. He just kept pulling shirts out, one after the other... shooting the shit with me the whole time, and other guys are slowly making their way back there... I severely overpaid for the shirt and he intitially didn't want to take my cash and I told him in no uncertain terms that I was disappointed I couldn't pay for an actual ticket (there was no cover) and that I wanted to help pay for van gas money and he better fuckin' take my money because I've been waiting for a long time to give them more of my money. He finally found a black shirt in XL and so I was good to go, then I got to officially meet Kristian (who remembered my name from emails I'd sent the band over the years) and JJ, and Larry came back in and so I'm just kinda standing there, grinning my ass off and talking like a jack-ass, and they're just kinda all looking at me, smiling themselves, and it's a little weird and I feel like a geek in headlights because I'm just so happy to have been able to see this fantastic band play for the first time ever after 8 years of being a huge fan, and I'm hanging out backstage with them. Wacky. They did say that they definitely were planning on coming back to the area in the spring after their record comes out this fall/winter so I shouldn't have to wait another 8 years. Sweetness. And then eventually I just kinda thanked them again and was out and that was that. They sound great on my video of the show, too. Anna came along and was really digging the band, but was mocking me severely for being a stalker the entire time. And it turns out that the t-shirt I bought (which was wrapped in tape with a big XL written on it) was actually a size SMALL, which I find very amusing... but that means I can't wear it. It fits Steph nicely, though.