In 1976, Parousia was still working hard to move forward from performing in and around the old neighborhoods onto more diverse crowds like those found at Colleges and Night Clubs, (once we all turned 18).
But until then we played for anyone who would pay us enough to afford gas for our cars and a few roadies to help us haul our stuff around from practice place to venue and then set it all up and tear it all down. Such was the case with this gig.
Steve Panczack is someone I knew from All Saints Grammar School. It was no secret that I had a band in the neighborhood and when it came time for his wedding, well, he just couldn’t resist hiring Parousia at the bargain price of $150.00. Plus we got to eat food from the wedding reception like those little wieners in BBQ sauce and of course wedding cake.
We didn’t know any real “wedding songs” so we had to practice on stage before the reception began. Most of our usual set consisted of 60’s and 70’s classics like the Beatles (Day Tripper, Hey Jude, Birthday, All My Lovin’, Eight Days A Week, Hard Day’s Night) and the Rolling Stones (Satisfaction, Jumping Jack Flash). We had to crash course some polkas and other wedding tunes like “The Bunny Hop” and “The Hokey Pokey”. We couldn’t play our “harder” music like Space Truckin’, La Grange, Communications Breakdown or Smoke on the Water.
The reception was held on Grant Street in Black Rock, in the same part of town that would bring Parousia to rehearse at the Rano Industrial building just three-years later in 1979 after Gath Huels and Robert Lowden joined the band. The venue was a Community Hall of some sort and it had two floors and fairly large. We tried to find it on the internet but it looks like it was torn down (or burned down like so many other venues that we performed at). The actual building was behind the one you see here and in back down the “road that goes no-where”.
Back here on this empty lot was where the reception was held. (Well not on this lot exactly, but in the building that used to be on this lot 😛 .)
The actual reception party was held downstairs and we played upstairs where there was a mid-sized auditorium and a theater stage. Most everyone stayed downstairs with the drinks and food along with the rest of the wedding party, while we jammed on to an empty room.
Except for a few guests wandering in and out of the auditorium, we played to an audience of mostly kids. I guess an evening with Parousia meant free day-care for some people. One of those kids actually stole my place behind the drums. She really liked my drum kit and was naturally good at it… I think that day may have changed her life. Later that night, she probably tortured her parents to get her a drum kit NOW.
The downstairs reception room had card tables set up and people were having a great time. I noticed that there were speakers on the walls and it took me a minute to realize but I heard my band mates talking on stage as clear as a bell. I asked Steve if the people downstairs could hear us coming through the speakers and he said, “Oh yeah” we can hear your music and everything your saying in between songs”.
Yipes, I thought! We had been saying some pretty embarrassing things thinking that no one was listening… I nearly spit out my food and ran upstairs to tell the guys that everything we said on stage was being broadcast through the downstairs P.A. system. We were very respectful from then on. Not that anyone noticed.