Friday’s freezing sleet shower wasn’t just annoying. It threatened to wreck the Pharmacy Prophets/Welbilt show at Iota. Prophet drummer Ben Mellott got stuck in traffic on I-66. But at least he was in the same state as the gig. The guy originally scheduled to back Welbilt never got closer than the New Jersey Turnpike. Fortunately, the Fairfax alternapoppers had a backup. Drummer Mike Smirnoff got a call at 7 p.m. for the 9 p.m. gig. Mike had a date. He canceled the date. As he said later, when rock ‘n’ roll calls, “You gotta live it.”
Smirnoff arrived for the 8 o’clock soundcheck with just his sticks and drum throne, because the plan was that both bands would use Mellott’s gear. But the only thing onstage between the amps and mic stands was empty space. After some moments of anxious cell calls, Mellott and his black Pearl kit finally arrived and the show got underway on time.
Considering the weather, a surprisingly hearty crowd enjoyed a set of briskly melodic pop from Welbilt and the debut of songs from the Prophets‘ gothic rock opera Fantome, which the band plans to turn into a short film.