A Return to the Dragon’s Lair

Reader, my first thought was to try to write a day-by-day, minute-by minute account of our impressions on performing at DragonCon. I can tell you this: there’s really nothing like it. Nothing comparable. To give you an idea, when first looking at our schedule for Friday, the following thoughts went through my mind:

Oh, cool-1PM set, then the Urban Fantasy Panel at 11:30. We’ll have mad time to relax between events, this will be kinda chill.

Cue maniacal laughter.

For everyone involved, I’ve come to believe that getting from point A to point B at DragonCon is an adventure in and of itself. And we’re no exception. It’s also an additional challenge when we’re running our own tech-I should definitely make clear that’s our choice when we do, but for the events where we are doing it, I believe it’s the correct one.

Here’s a collection of events and observations that really stuck out.

Oddly, for a married couple that’s in a band together, I always leave cons feeling like I’ve not really seen Sarah in a few days. I think this is because we spend so much time focusing on the concerts/making sure we’re averting a disaster that we just kind of develop a kind of tunnel vision.

We showed up early for our Thursday night soundcheck, and wandered into a screening of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode, and there was something really comforting about sitting by ourselves and watching Buffy.

For Thursday, I was mostly excited about these things: 1) we were back, 2) the Helix patches sounded fantastic, 3) the drums sounded fantastic, and, as such, all the prep work was worth it.

And it was loud. Really, beautifully, powerfully, not ear hurting loud. That was fun. It really set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

Overall, my own view is that we’ll likely drop The Wolven Storm from the “usual” sets, and maybe break it out on special occasions. We played three brand new songs, released only on Patreon. And overall, they were a blast to play. This was no small feat, as I’d managed to utterly make colossal mistakes in Let the Silence Speak during our final rehearsals.

I did find myself wishing we’d brought another up-tempo cover song or two with us, as well as one or two more from Only Gossamer My Gown. But I then would remind myself that we’d not performed live since February 2020. I’d missed it far more than I realized.

Another highlight: we love our friends on the Horror and the Urban Fantasy tracks. Being able to provide a soundtrack to author readings is a thrilling challenge for me, and there were some seriously great stories read this year. So a major thank you to Carol Malcom for letting us come play on the UF track.

Over on Horror, Derek Tatum has really encouraged my love of silent movies. The ambition to score silent films with my bass first fired in my imagination sometime in the late 90’s. I wish I could go back and tell that dreamer that to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, I’d be on the Horror Track at DragonCon with my bass, ready to create an eerie soundscape to accompany this essential masterpiece.

I recall checking out a book on horror movies in the 3rd grade and being enthralled with the stills of the movie. Libraries are important, y’all. So a huge thank you to Derek and the Horror Track for making my dreams come true.

A HUGE shout out to Mikey Mason for agreeing to play music with us. Thank you so much for loving Annabel Lee as much as we do. You sounded great. Best Game Ever, indeed. 

And last, most most certainly not least, here’s my final observation:

If you received a Wolfe Pack badge ribbon at DragonCon, you can thank our close friends Corwyn and Jenn. They were joined at our merch table by my sister, Wendy. I know we’ve done gigs without their help (and help here is a really, really inadequate term), but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how. There truly are no words to convey how essential they are to Valentine Wolfe.

Simply put, there’s no way we could have performed at DragonCon without their help.

So a big public thank you to OUR Wolfe Pack: Corwyn, Jenn (who just KILLS at cosplay), and Wendy. We couldn’t have done it without you. Aside I was more floored than I let on when y’all just jumped onboard the 1:30AM concert (FYI-we were added during the con to the Sunday night show, which was a HUGE honor for us. Still kinda blown away by that).

I knew it would be a DragonCon to remember no matter what, but it was beyond anything I could have imagined. Thank you for letting us play music for you, DragonCon. We can’t wait to do it again.

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