RANGES EUROPEAN TOUR BLOG // DAY 4 // DUNK!FESTIVAL
So here we are at the pinnacle moment of the festival. Every bit of preparation going into this tour has revolved around Ranges taking the main stage of the legendary dunk!festival at 6:45 on Thursday evening. As the guys stood back stage waiting for their call, the tension was palpable, but in a positive sense. A lot of hard work went into getting to this point, and to look out upon what appeared as a sea of people (especially relative to the numbers they are accustomed to playing for, but really, there were as many people in the room tonight as there were for almost any of last year’s performers) it must have felt like everything was coming together all at once. Every hometown show where 12 people showed up, every time it felt like the hours of dedication and the attention paid to even the smallest details were yielding lesser results than hoped for – this was the moment that validated every ounce of it.
In a rare moment of broken focus, only seconds before stepping on stage, CJ turned to me and admitted that he probably should have peed first. I suggested that maybe he should pee his pants just a little and that maybe that would help him loosen up. I’m not sure if he did, because the unfortunate series of events that ensued almost immediately thereafter turned everything into a blur. When things fall apart they fall apart quickly. Just as he was stepping behind the drum kit, Mark realized that the one-pound jar of gefilte fish he had just eaten over the past hour was in fact not kosher, and his sense of rhythm was badly shaken. Joey looked out at his young daughter asleep in the crowd, and the thought crossed his mind that maybe post-rock *isn’t* exciting, draining his last remaining drops of precious confidence. Meanwhile, the bassist, who has requested anonymity (although he may or may not actually be Nicolas Cage in deep character study for an upcoming film, I have yet to determine whether this is in fact that case) was too busy tearing apart his dressing room because the pig intestine soup he demanded in the hospitality rider was not provided. CJ just really had to pee. When you’re rocking into your thirties you’re inevitably going to have to pee during your set, and sometimes it’s too much to overcome. Before they even had a chance to play a note the crowd was filing out in unanimous disappointment, and it is there that the story of Ranges comes to a sad and bitter close.
So that didn’t actually happen. But saying that Ranges played their set very well and that the crowd was uniformly engaged is kind of the just the easy, feel-good angle. However, that’s what happened and ultimately I’m here to dispel the truth. Joey’s daughter really did fall asleep and CJ definitely should have peed first, but otherwise the set was incredible. The crowd was estimated at about 900, and they were clapping along and cheering throughout the performance. Anyone who has been to dunk! previously knows that the lights are a game-changer, and that was no different this evening. Frederik Heerinckx is an absolute wizard on the board, and his performance (one of the great displays of artistry at this festival) is something special to behold.
I chose not to yell “play ‘Night & Day’!” tonight, as that joke is probably worn out at this point, but also because my voice likely would have been lost in the cavernous main stage tent, thus depriving the gag of its last gasps of humor. The guys were on cloud nine afterwards; this was truly like nothing they had experienced before as a band, or even similar really. I was directly involved with dunk!usa last year, and I’ll freely admit that event has a long way to go before it can even begin to think about competing with what Wout, Luc and co. have going on out here in Zottegem. Watching the merch table flood with fans, both established and newly minted, in the moments following the set, and seeing the band begin their first of a few interviews with excited media outlets that have posted up here, that was a special kind of thing. It’s great to see a band that you know has put the work in get treated like true rock stars, if even for just a few days. That’s what makes this festival like no other – it not only collects artists in one space but celebrates and elevates them in a way that they all deserve but rarely get to experience.
So far, my blog entries have been around 1200 words. Today I’m at about 800, and I’m done. As I’ve said, this festival is one of a kind and I’m going to go enjoy it. If you have a problem with that feel free to fill in the rest in the space provided below. If you live in Europe, thanks for doing what you do for artists. And if you live in America, go to more shows. That’s it. Engage. If you say you like something, like it actively. Maybe take a trip out to dunk!2019 and see what the word supportive really looks like in practice. And if you are one of those people in America who actively supports musicians, thank you. As someone who knows how frustrating it can be, I can confidently say that your passion and your efforts are essential. Ranges will be back in the States next week refreshed and re-energized. Here’s to the next step, whatever that may be. Okay, I’m at 950 words now, so I’m actually done.