Tuesday, August 28, 2007

8/27/07 CSU Fresno (Fresno, Ca)

Ahhhh.....school is session. We performed in The Pit, a stage area in the middle of the Fresno State campus on the first day of classes during lunch. As usual they provided us with 2 vocal mics with huge bright orange foam condom looking covers. They are called wind screens and are supposed to be used by news reporters in an area of high wind. The screens cut down the wind noise. For some reason, they always give us these nasty mics with orange covers on them. That means the spit from everyone whos ever uttered a word into that mic has festered and germinated in that foam. I tried to take it off buts its locked down with a plastic strip. It was a fun gig though. Its always cool to people watch from the stage. You can always tell the new students because they dress up like they're going to a club for their morning math class. Then you have the 3rd yr. chicks that used to be hot rolling out of bed in their Ambercrombie sweat shorts, highlighted hair and sandals. And my favorite.....the frat guys. Handing out flyers like PETA at a Michael Vick hearing, to rush. I still don't know what the hell that even means. We had a good number of people gather to check out the set. Lots of people knew the words, which is a really cool feeling. We had to change the words on a few songs to make it appropriate for college kids who probably are doing beer bongs upside down this morning.

8/24/07 Marilyn's on K (Sacramento Ca)

We took the 2 1/2 drive to play at Marilyn's on K in downtown Sac. It's an underground spot, for real, its actually underground. Cool atmosphere, bartenders are nice the sound is decent and the crowd to responsive. A band called the Story Tellers opened up the night , playing some rocksteady ska/reggae. I guess their drummer is a pro skater. We played second for about 45 min, a nice change from 3 hr sets that we had been playing. After us was a rapper called Wisdom, who had an amazing drummer. Church style, banging chops and some showmanship a la John Blackwell. If you search "gospel drummer" on youtube, his name will come up, even though I can't remember it right now. Then our boys Sol Peligro came up and rocked that classic cumbias and kept the dancefloor packed. I got to sit in on percussion for a few songs. I would recommend this place to Sacramento gente, go check it out. We got home about 4:30am, another day at the office.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Feature Article in Flagstaff Live

Originally uploaded by aaronwall@sbcglobal.net
Imagine a compilation album featuring the talents of Santana, Black Eyed Peas and the Roots. Or better yet, mix eight talented musicians from diverse ethnic backgrounds, add some eloquent Spanish rap and pounding Latin beats, throw in a dash of serenading jazz horns and a pinch of alternative rock and you have the vibrant sound of 40 Watt Hype.
Commanding an undeniable presence in the independent music scene, the hip-hop group describes their music as, “White meets Black meets Chicano meets unity when rural-urban street talk combines with songwriting.”
The group hails from Fresno, Calif., and is composed of Aaron Wall (vocals and percussion), Brian Robinson (vocals), Enrique Gonzalas (guitar), Sean Alderette (drums), Bronson Garza (bass), Jared Dyar (percussion), Adan Infante (trombone), and David Hull (keyboards).
The band tucks a lengthy list of accomplishments under their belts, including a shared stage with prominent musicians such as Ozomatli, the Roots, 311, Fishbone, and the Pharcyde. The group also performed with hip-hop artist Ludacris at the Sundance Film Festival and went solo to perform during every San Francisco 49ers home game in the NFL’s 2005-06 season.

40 Watt Hype released their third album, Strong Feet on the Concrete, in 2006, and currently has a fourth album in the works with a release date set for mid-2007.
And the most respectable aspect to the group’s success: they remain unsigned.
“Our sound is a fusion between our styles and cultures,” says Aaron Wall, whose ethnic background is mostly Dutch. “This band reflects the diversity of our hometown, Fresno. Our members are white, black and Mexican, and we want our music to reflect this in a pure and reputable manner.”
Wall, known to his fellow band members and fans as Awall, raps in Spanish and shows off his distinctive talents with Latin percussion instruments during every show. Wall says he’s loved all genres of music since his younger years and has always contributed his skills to a band.
Wall found a permanent home with 40 Watt Hype after all eight members noticed each other’s similar styles and began experimenting together. Everyone belonged to a different band at the time, Wall says, but all desired to spread the same positive message to their fans.
“Our music is always uplifting,” Wall says. “But on the rare occasions when we do write a song with critical undertones, we make sure to provide positive solutions to the situation we’re criticizing.”
This statement best rings true in tracks three and four of Strong Feet on the Concrete, which portray and evaluate the current trends in music and popular culture in the United States. Track three, “Jerry Gente Interlude,” is a parody of a big-wig music agent who encourages his clients to “focus on appearance and forget about writing their own lyrics” and to “perform celebrity stunts such as DUIs to gain media publicity.” Track four, “Controversy,” then jumps in to musically present this immoral advice and while evaluating the current direction of the music industry.
And, Wall says, with the cutthroat circumstances and image standards presented to musicians today, the music industry has never been tougher to break into.
While Wall and 40 Watt Hype revel in their impressive accomplishments and ability to reach a wider and wider fanbase with each album, Wall stays strong with his position on the oil and water mix of a musical career and a college education.
“A music degree from a university is valuable, but it doesn’t prepare you for the harsh realisms of the music industry,” Wall says. “If you want to make it as a musician, you need to dive into the industry and make your own school. Play with other musicians who expand and enhance your talents, and constantly practice and hone your skills. Real world experience is everything when it comes to etching out a successful path in the music industry.”
The band’s extraordinary unending dedication, which acts as the underbelly for their career, exemplifies in the treacherous trip from Malibu to Flagstaff the group took last year. The group signed up for a January show in Flagstaff, not fully realizing the harsh winter conditions until they hit icy roads and drove past nine car accidents on I-17 at a crawling speed of 5 mph.
“We were two hours late for the show, but we made it to Flagstaff in one piece,” Wall says. “To make it up to everyone, we played as long as the venue would let us. We were still playing our hearts out at 2 a.m, but it didn’t matter because everyone had a great time.”
This year, 40 Watt Hype plans to captivate and entertain Flagstaff fans during the warm summer months instead.
For those interested in checking out 40 Watt Hype’s energetic sound and live stage presence, be sure to attend their Sat, Aug. 18, show at Flagstaff Brewing Co., 16 E. Rte. 66, at 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.40watthype.com.

8/18/07 Flagstaff Brewery (Flagstaff AZ)

Originally uploaded by aaronwall@sbcglobal.net
Flagstaff is a beautiful mountain town in northern AZ. We got to see the change from low desert in Tucson to cooler weather and pine trees in Flagstaff during the drive. The Flagstaff Brewery Patio series shuts down the down town mall and sets up lights and a stage outdoors. The staff was extremely nice and pampered us pretty well. Some people treat you like a janitor, but this staff was very gracious. They remembered the last time we were there in January when we almost endured a trecherous storm, but didn't miss the gig and played all night. This picture was taken from the stage during our second set. The people of Flagstaff definitely like music and like to party. It reminded me of a Santa Cruz or norcal party school. We couldn't hit it too hard after our sets becuase we had to wake up at 6:30am the next day. Thanks to everyone who came out, we'll be back soon.

8/17/07 Nimbus Brewery (Tucson AZ)

Pulling up to the Nimbus Brewery in Tucson is like pulling up to the battlegroup scene in Terminator 2. When you're on the road pulling up to a new venue can be one of the scariest moments of the day. Nimbus Brewery is located in a rural industrial part of South Tucson, I know that sounds bad. Suprisingly enough it is a great venue with even better beer. The machinery is all in the same area as the restaurant and stage so its a huge facility. The Dirty Guera (Dirty Blonde) was the overwhelming band favorite and we got a couple of 6 packs on the way out. The staff was really cool as well as the owners. We played about an hour then got back to sampling beers. We met some really cool people from Fresno, who had randomly stopped by to check us out even though they had never heard us and didn't know we were from Fresno. Its off the beaten path but go check out the Nimbus Brewery, its worth it.

8/17/07 Zia Records (Tucson AZ)

We did an in store performance at Zia Records which is a really great record store that has everything you would ever want for great prices. Our cd is distributed in the Zia stores across AZ and NV so we do in store performances to promote our night show and sell cds. This particular store only had one copy, two employees ended up going half on it after we did a 30 min set, thanks guys.

Shot from my point of view (Blunt Club @ Hollywood Alley)

Originally uploaded by aaronwall@sbcglobal.net
Here is a show from the stage during our set. To the left are some breakers cutting it up. After the show I got a drunken lecture from the ex-manager of Bobby Brown. He told that I was like Tito Puente but a modern version mixing in hip-hop. As ridiculous and drunk a compliment as it was, it made my day.

8/16/07 Hollywood Alley (Mesa AZ)

Originally uploaded by aaronwall@sbcglobal.net
7am load up, 7:30 hit the road. 3pm check into rooms 7pm check into venue, 7:30 sound check, 9:30 perform. That is usual as far as traveling goes. We hit the Blunt Club at Hollywood Alley as the first stop on a little 4 day trip through Arizona. It was amazingly hot, but people out there just deal with it. The Blunt Club has a great thing going. They spin the best in the golden age of hip-hop, lots of dope breakers and a nice venue. Its always interesting to see how a hip-hop crowd reacts to us. At first we gave them a few songs to get acclamated to the sound, then they gave us the love we wanted. A friend from Fresno and a talented timbalero named Mario also came through with his girl, so it was good to see a familiar face. Thanks again to everyone who came out.

8/3/07 Ashkenaz (Berkeley, Ca)

Originally uploaded by aaronwall@sbcglobal.net
We took the drive into Berkeley from Caspar and had the chance to walk around and grab some food and chill for a minute before heading to Ashkenaz. Ashkenaz is a community cultural center and looks like a barn from the outside. We loaded in and met one of the weirdest sound engineers ever, he smelled like bqq'd patchouli oil. We were sharing the bill with our boys the Bayonics. We had a good set and met a lot of new people. Bayonics came on and killed as usual. Our friend Jeff and his wife came through (we played at their wedding last year) so it was good to see them as well as Gerard and Crystal driving from Sac. My wife(7 mo pregnant) and Brooke also came through. Ashkenaz is a really dope venue full of rich culture and a great staff, although the sound booth could use a little Fabreeze.

8/2/07 Caspar Inn (Caspar Ca)

The drive to Caspar is beautiful and finding on a map is like playing Where's Waldo. Its a couple hours north of San Francisco on the 1. Its on the rocky Norcal coast by Mendecino and Fort Bragg. From the outside the venue looks like the setting of Stephen Kings' "Needfull Things" but the inside is warm, cozy and perfect for doing the hippie shuffle. The crowd was a little thin because the huge festival "Reggae on the River" was the next day, so people were saving their money and braiding their hemp necklaces and shells. I talked to some Abalone divers who explained that Abalone are a delicacy and that diving for them is really fun, but selling them is illegal. They also told me that recently an Abalone diver got his head bitten off by a shark nearby. We played 2 sets, had a couple of drinks and headed upstairs to get some sleep. Usually we share beds and sleep on floors to save money on hotel rooms. This night we all had our own rooms. We all were in Brian's room laughing and talking, when out of the corner of my eye I say a brown furry thing run across the floor. There weren't two feet on the floor after someone yelled "rat!" we all switched to Sean's room after realizing how lame we all looked. Then when we were in Sean's room we saw a large 8 legged insect crawl across the bed. Time to move to my room. When we got there we realized we didn't close the door to Brians room and the rat had gotten out. After the rat, bug and rumors of haunted rooms, what started out as a luxury turned into normalcy as we crammed into a few rooms and got some sleep.

7/15/07 Kings Fair (Hanford, Ca)

Originally uploaded by aaronwall@sbcglobal.net
The last night of the Kings Fair is Culture night, so we were booked to perform(thanks to Univision Radio). Nice big stage and sound system, nice amphitheater (thanks to Rick Robbins for hooking up the sound) The audience was receptive but judging by the fact that the next band was wearing shiny suits, cowboy boots and hats and all had mustaches we weren't quite gente enough. So we shared the bill with a popular Mexican act and also the runner up to the show "Objectiva Fama." Thats what I love about being in this band, definitely not pigeon holed. I also got to do a live remote broadcast for La Kalle 107.9. You know when the DJ is at a location and they check in, screaming with tons of background noise hyping an event, It was done from a cell phone next to a corn dog stand, sorry to ruin the mystery.