Cambria Town Hall: Parousia Performs a Benefit Concert for St. Mary’s School for the Deaf in Beautiful Downtown Cambria, NY – March 19, 1980
When we told our agent Dave Buffamonti to book our first gig with new keyboardist, Eric Scheda, someplace “out of town so the band could work off the rough edges”; we never dreamed it would be a Town Hall in Niagara County. I never even heard of Cambria before until we were asked to perform there at a benefit concert for the deaf. It’s a town in Niagara County. In comparison to Buffalo, it is way the hell out there… More precisely, it is west of Lockport and northeast of Sanborn, NY.
Now I know the reason of this gig begs the question, “Why are we performing a music concert for the deaf” … I mean, who would hear the music right? The show was put on for the people who worked for St. Mary’s and not the hearing impaired. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Now that we cleared that up…
Parousia risked life and limb to play at this God-forsaken place. No one knew exactly where it was, not even the local residents. It was a thirty mile drive from Buffalo. I was riding in the equipment truck with our ‘new’ roadie, Paul (a friend of Kim Watts). He was a classic punk-rocker with safety pins in his face, spikey hair, leather pants and a matching dog collar with studs, etc. and then of course Bob Lowden, ‘nuff said.
We got lost on the way out there and had to stop at a farm house to ask directions. I swear, it was like watching an old show from the 50’s. When I got to the door to ask for help, an old man answered – he looked like Mr. Ziffle from the TV show Green Acres. He took one look at us then turned and shouted back to his wife, “Hey Martha, come look… it’s a freak with sunglasses (me) a nigger (Bob) and a kid with a Dog collar around his neck (Paul)”.
Racist comments aside, the old man wasn’t much help in finding the place… he gave us directions to the fire house and we wanted the fire hall, which eventually we learned was the Town Hall. It took us way too long to find it but we eventually did and put on our show without lighting!
Yeah that’s right… the lighting company we hired (L&S lighting, Dave Stock) never showed up! Poor Dave, he spent hours looking for the place and when he couldn’t find it, he just gave up. The client noticed our light show never showed and docked us $100 from our pay. We had little to say other than “it wasn’t our fault, really… please sir we really need the money”, but it didn’t matter to him, he had us.
On the up side, we were happy to find out that the audience was packed full of people who could hear quite well. We put on our full show, with costumes and props, playing Jethro Tull songs like “Cross Eyed Mary” and “Hymn 43”, where we change a six foot Crucifix into a giant Bingo Card! Then we blew their minds with “White Punks on Dope”, “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “the Ballad of Dwight Fry”. I’m sure it all would have looked much better with our stage lighting. Gr-r-r-r.
Anyway, its important to note that this was our first gig with our new keyboardist Eric Scheda, and it was one hell of a baptism! Eric joined up with us back in December. The band rehearsed with him for three months and by the time we played his first show, we unleashed every “keyboard heavy” song we had on him and Eric nailed it!
With Eric in the band, we were able to expand our repertoire with original tunes like “Lucifer’s Lament”, “Revelation” and cover songs “Long Distance Runaround”, “Perpetual Change”, “Hoe Down”, “Toronto Tonto’s”, “Hold Your Head Up” and “Squonk”.