First Gig: Shannon Labrie
First Gig is our series at Stereo Subversion that asks various musicians to look back at their first-ever live show. Shannon Labrie has come a long way since her initial show in Memphis, and you should hear the results for yourself with a pre-order of her new album, War & Peace. For now, make sure to read about a memorable night that went remarkably well (anaconda included).
My first album, my first tour, my first show on that tour. Here’s the story!
My band and I packed our mini-van and headed for Memphis. It was my first time to ever set foot in the city of Graceland. I’d driven through a few times but never actually walked the streets and met the people.
We pulled up behind some old buildings and my drummer said, “This is it.” We walked into the back of the building and I felt a waft of smoke flow through my hair. It was like a movie. A few pool tables, a beautiful girl with red lipstick, a bartender who knew everyone’s name.
We walked past the pool tables and into the bar. I could feel eyes on the back of my head. Everyone knew I wasn’t a local. The bartender casually walked up to me and said, “You’re Shannon Labrie.” He was surprisingly sweet. I have to say, I’d never met a man with a tattoo of an anaconda across his face. Had I judged him right off the bat I would have been so wrong. Case and point, never judge a man by the size of his anaconda…tattoo.
We set up our instruments in a tiny corner in the lounge area. There were pictures of old cartoons from newspapers that served as wallpaper. Tables were all square and scattered around with little lamps lighting the room. It was awesome. Actually, the room was empty when we started but luckily, there was a martial arts event across the street and apparently, martial arts people like to drink and listen to music.
I started my third song and began feeling very comfortable. I no longer felt like a stranger but a familiar face. We were snug in the corner ripping on our guitars and slapping the base. People were nodding their heads and a few even danced.
We played for two hours and afterwards got to hang with the great people of Memphis. We packed up our van and listened to Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” all the way home. P&H Club, thanks for the memories!