It has been almost two years since the first Gallo Guitar was played on stage. I remember just a few weeks before, I had met Max Owen at my school and now it seemed incredible to have one of my creations playing on stage.
The gig happened in a very cozy artist community on East Atlanta named Big House on Ponce. Even though it truly was a big house, the venue was located on a small theatre right next to it. We arrived some time around 10pm and found Max with his friends and family outside, talking and getting ready to go on stage. A few minutes later we all came in, Max and his band set everything up and in no time they were already playing to their very alternative tunes. It was a very fulfilling act of rhythms, distortion and dashing lights. Even though we weren’t a big audience, the place felt full and I felt full myself. I was full of emotion, full of joy and many indescribable, abstract, feelings. When the show was over, we hung out for a little bit, talked to the band and made a few more friends. Then we congratulated them again, I shook Max’s hand and told him I would see him next time.
This is how my amazing friendship with Max and The Matter Animatic started. As time went by, we kept in touch and kept talking about ways in which we could collaborate as artists. Soon, I got a call from Max telling me that he had landed a bigger gig at The Drunken Unicorn, a very popular underground venue on Ponce de Leon Street. He gave me the details and I immediately said yes to the opportunity. I saved the date and before I knew it, it was time to get on stage again!
As usual, I got there after the bands arrived. This time it was around 9pm. We parked, texted Max and walked to the door. Once there, I told the bouncer that we were with the band and he seemed pretty hesitant about it – Come on dude, I have a giant guitar case on my back! – Then I looked behind him and Max was coming to the door. He talked to him and got us in in no time. Not only that, but he also gave us tickets for a couple of free drinks. We hung out for a while and met some new people. This time I remember talking to most of the video guys that were there that night. I had my camera as well, but I wanted to have more footage available if I ever needed it.
After some other chats, the event promoter got up on stage, introduced the bands and soon music started blasting through those amps. I cannot remember the name of the first band on stage, but I do remember their very experimental style. It was a couple of DJ’s with their consoles playing over some of their original tracks and improvising to them. I also remember they had a projection behind them with different environments and landscapes that I think really added to their show.
The night went on and it was time for The Matter Animatic to get on stage. I had already heard their songs, so this time my attention went elsewhere. This time it was all about the atmosphere and their performance. I remember them starting to play and their bass player, Matt, going crazy on stage. He is quite a performer. The lights were all red, so the whole band was blended together. However, I remember the moment Max brought up my guitar. They started playing and soon he turned it on. While I recorded, I turned my attention to the crowd and remember everybody talking to each other and going crazy about Max’s guitar. Then the music got loud and the crowd got wild. Max’s head started bouncing while his hair danced all over his face. Matt kept jumping up and down and made sure that the crowd stayed wild. Again, their act was quite a unique experience and I was very grateful to be a part of it.
From that show on, things started to look very well. The Matter Animatic got booked for larger gigs and started recording their new EP. As for me, I was preparing to present my new line of guitars for my thesis show at SCAD. One of best parts of this, was that I was also creating a custom guitar for The Matter Animatic at that time. Max, Matt, Anthony and I started a group text and discussed what their guitar was going to look like. After going back and forth a couple of times, we had a good idea of what we wanted, so I just started to build it. It took a little over a month to put it all together, but in the end I was very glad that I got to collaborate with such a talented group of artists.
Max and The Matter Animatic played at my thesis presentation with their new guitar. It was quite a rewarding experience. After that, Max and I kept in touch and I continued to go to his shows. Now that I have relocated to Boston, I cannot help but to remember all of the good times we spent doing art and growing together. Him and The Matter Animatic will always be part of my story and I cannot wait for what the future has in store for us.
- Jose Gallo -