Showing posts from March, 2010

Baritone Saxophone

Here's a computer video of me screwing around with my bari sax.  I was demonstrating for a friend that I'd fixed a leak with made the low end unplayable.  Nothing great, musically speaking.  That's the beauty of the baritone saxophone!

You might want to turn down your speakers before the video starts.

new Cobb!

Mark and Katy Cobb had a baby boy this morning!  Gadson Cobb is alive and well!  Congratulations!

Sunday in the Rain

Sunday night was a strange one.

I went to Buckhead and played my usual church gig.  No problems there, though a big pine tree had blocked one of the streets so I had to navigate around it.

The second gig was a Yacht Rock gig at Park Tavern for the Pamoja Penda Music and Art Festival.  Due to some crappy weather that blew threw Atlanta a few hours before (probably knocked down the pine tree), the crowd had dwindled from a few thousand to fewer than one hundred by the time we had arrived. A bummer, no doubt, but it did make the load in easier!

All of my equipment worked for a change.  I was sort of anticipating some sort of disaster (because that's the norm these days), but everything was fine.  The only thing I can think of is that I had to change batteries on a wireless pack in between songs.

This week should be pretty good.  We have another Beatles tribute gig at Smith's Olde Bar on Wednesday night, Yacht Rock Thursday and Friday, and the Yacht Rock Schooner (where I will att…

Schooner Saturday

Tonight was a super easy gig with the Yacht Rock Schooner at the Wild Wing Cafe in Alpharetta.  No keyboards, no EWI...just saxes and flute.  All my stuff was in the first set, too, so I was home before they finished the gig (and I texted them to let them know).

I felt pretty good, playing-wise.  I recorded most of the first set (I missed the first couple of songs because I forgot to turn the thing on), and I'm kind of flat (speaking in terms of pitch), but the effort is good.  I didn't get much in the monitor because we (Mark Bencuya and Kevin Spencer) were sharing the wedge, and that's usually when I start to overblow and go flat.

You'd think with no keyboards and no EWI I'd be safe from technology's evil plans (or my stupidity), but I did have one small problem.  I left the transmitter on my tenor on while I was playing alto on I Can't Go for That, and a couple of times the tenor cancelled out the signal and I got no sound in the microphone (you can hea…

Double Thursday

Yesterday was another double gig Thursday for me.  House Live did another gig at Ventanas downtown.  As you can see, it was another cool looking gig, and we had a good time.  My new shirt performed well. When that gig ended, I drove like a wild man to the 10 High for the Yacht Rock gig.  I'm beginning to think that the crowd will never catch on to the fact that we start at 9:30--everybody turns up in the middle of the first set (10 PM!).   This installment of Yacht Rock was invaded by the Schooner!  We had Ganesh Giri Jaya on drums, Kevin Spencer on vocals and Vanessa Olivarez on vocals.  We played lots of tunes we haven't touched in a while, which was cool, and then kind of frightening!  Lots of "I wish I'd played through that this afternoon" moments.  Overall, I think things went pretty well.  The second set kind of steamrolled me, though--a few too many in a row where I didn't get a chance to think them through before we got on stage.  The giant Newcastle on…

Tuesday at Opera

We did a House Live gig at Opera in midtown last night.  It was an "industry event", so it was a mixer for a bunch of event planners.  Steven Walker (drums/percussion), Jeff Burnisky (DJ), and myself were set up in a tent outside.  When we began, the thing was like a greenhouse.  It was probably 10 degrees hotter in the tent than outside.  Once the sun went down, it was chilly everywhere.  Playing in the cold weather makes my hands feel terrible.
Not much to report...I messed around with my effects pedal a good bit--a dialed in a nice slapback delay, a la Sanborn's effect on Young American!  I still haven't quite let my obsession with that go.
 I also made some HORRIBLE sounds!  You can set the effect up for a parallel interval, and I tried the following (just to bother Steven):  half step (painful!), whole step (very comfortable!), fourth above (weird), and an octave plus a half step (back to painful!).  You can investigate these intervals on a gig like this.  A four…

Technology Gives me the Finger

I am writing you from my laptop, which for the past two minutes has been having a seizure, but now looks fine again.  That's pretty much how it goes for me and technology tonight.  As soon as the thought "I'm buying a new laptop tomorrow" flashed in my brain, this laptop went back to normal.  Now it's doing it again.  Me and technology, we're not friends right now.

It just did it again, and I had to shut the computer all the way down (the screen wouldn't come back on at all).  Now it seems fine.

This afternoon Yacht Rock played a gig at the Tin Room Cantina over by North Druid Hills.  From the get-go I should have known that it was not meant to be.

We got set up and soundchecked (in direct sunlight, which is always fun for not being able to read any displays--never mind the way my reeds dried out and looked like potato chips).  Everything worked fine, but about four songs into the gig, my wireless microphone on my sax started picking up RF interference …

Friday Quartet gig

Tonight (Friday night) I had a quartet gig downtown for some kind of pharmaceutical dinner.  The band was Louis Heriveaux (keyboard), Kevin Smith (bass), and Kinah Boto (drums).  They made it so easy!  The client was also very cool and they left us alone to play the music and enjoy ourselves.  They even thanked us after the gig.  Here are the mp3s for your listening pleasure:

Thursday Threefer

Thursday was a tough day.  Three gigs!  I'd never done that before.

1.  I played a duo gig with Tyrone Jackson at 7:30 in the morning at an elementary school in Austell.  This was fun because Tyrone is so much better than me.  It takes everything I've got just to keep up.

I went home and crashed for a few hours.  I got up early in the afternoon, loaded my truck, bathed, and headed out the door.  I loaded into the 10 High that afternoon.

2.  I played a quartet gig/house band for an awards ceremony at the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead.  This one was a killer--they are (let's say) very particular, and even though I've done the gig twice before, they did not express much confidence in me.  The event seems to be pretty immaculately planned, but they dropped lots of last minute stuff on me which really frayed my nerves.   Louis Heriveaux, Kevin Smith, and Marlon Patton did a terrific job dealing with everything and we made it out alive!  I got out at 9:07 PM and drove like hel…

St. Patrick's Day!

Yacht Rock was supposed to play two gigs for St. Patrick's Day.  The first was a set outdoors in the parking lot behind Limerick Junction.  For some reason, they decided to try and construct a cover for the stage while we were waiting to begin (even though it'd been raining all day).  Needless to say, it was not built in time for us to take the stage.  We bailed on the gig.  Sun Domingo had to play out there, and they said it was freezing!  (of course, the next day was sunny and almost 70!).  Here's the photo evidence of the "event."  Dig Dannells' green pants.

After that, we headed to the W Hotel in Buckhead to play a very dimly lit (both in lighting and a certain waitress!) event.

After that, we headed to the W Hotel in Buckhead to play a very dimly lit (both in lighting and a certain waitress!) event.

Monday House Live

House Live played a gig last night at Ventanas downtown.  It was another easy gig.  I'm not sure if I was tired or what, but I could never really get in a groove--too much noodling.  So it goes!

A busy week is here.  Stay tuned.

Meehan's Public House

Please Pleaserock Me and the Yacht Rock Revue played the Shamrock and Roll Festival in Sandy Springs yesterday.

My thoughts:  cold!...thought it would be warmer-should've brought a jacket...Francisco Vidal is the ultimate one man bar guy (is that a putdown or a compliment?  both)...laptop screen is just about dead (scaring me again!)...played with REMakes, and I hung out in the cold with no jacket to do two songs, but they only called one of them...changed into a suit in the open parking lot of a Kroger...nailed my vocal part on Paperback Writer all three times!...Greg tried to play bari sax in the horn section (somewhat successful--now he knows what it's like)...Dannells counted the strings--between all the guitars, we had sixty-six strings on stage, and none of them were in tune because of the temperature (including this ferocious electric twelve string in the picture)...reset all my gear for Yacht Rock--a twisted tornado of cables...played two sets REALLY LOUDLY...Cobb was …

Thursday and Friday

Thursday night was a very low key Yacht Rock night.  Mark Dannells' guitar rig went on strike during the second song (said it was one of very expensive pedals), but he had it "fixed" (it decided to work again) by the end of the song, and it was fine for the rest of the gig.

Equipment issues in live performance are the ultimate Chinese fire drills.  Not only are you embarrassed because your gear has gone haywire (usually catastrophically, and often very audibly), but you are then under the gun to diagnose and fix the problem before the next song begins.  To make matters worse, not only is everybody in the band watching you solve the problem; everybody in the ROOM is watching you solve the problem.  When you don't have the answer, you will sweat blood.  For something like the configuration of guitar pedals (or say, an EWI MIDI'ed into a laptop?!), there are so many little cables and switches that you end up frantically pushing and pulling the connections and hoping…

"Do You Believe in Miracles?"

Yesterday was the Yacht Rock Olympics.

I left home at 1:45 yesterday to get down to the Park Tavern for the Sham/Yacht Rock Festival.  We loaded in our equipment (and parked over-the-horizon far away).  All of us got dressed in suits and ties, threw our gear on stage in less than 30 minutes, and played a rippin' set of Beatles tunes (Please Pleaserock Me).  That went over very well, and we had fun.  There were moments of uncertainty, but I don't think it mattered because it was all pretty loose and fun.  My four notes of vocals on Paperback Writer--I don't think I ever got it right, but my tambourine was pretty good, so that was enough!

After the Beatles set, we ran back upstairs and changed, and then came out and played an hour and a half set of Yacht Rock to the faithful crowd.  It was pretty packed, and lots of fun.  Usual stuff...lots of fun little moments between me and Cobb, lots of dancing by me, kind of sloppy but just going for it.  I tried to play like I didn'…

Much Better

Last night's performance of the BeeGees material (and everything else for that matter) was much better.  It was really a ton of fun, and I think we all enjoyed the stuff this time.  The crowd was digging it too!  I've said this before, but it's very surreal to me when I can hear the crowd singing along.  It's a rock star moment for me.

We had chocolate cake shots on the break (which I put on my credit card).  I'd never had one before.  It was really tasty, and I don't think I even felt the alcohol (my tolerance has gone through the roof since the beginning of the year).  While we were standing at the bar, Greg had a strange moment with a crazy girl who would not stop touching his face.  Ask him about it--it's a funny story.

The second set was predictably looser but still pretty good.  We carried our collective hatred of Scott Stapp into Andrew's, but I don't think they enjoyed it as much as the 10 High Crowd.  Cobb and I had lots of little shared m…

I Can't Sustain It

Last night's Yacht Rock show was a dry run of the BeeGees stuff before tonight's big Andrews Upstairs gig.  I realize that this blog has become the catalog of my failures, but here's how it all went down:

First problem of the night was with the setlists. Somehow the setlist that Nick had sent out for Thursday did not come on the email I received, so to me it looked like both Thursday and Friday were the same thing.  I printed set lists for myself, Greg, Bencuya, and Cobb.  Right off the bat, we had to deal with that.

I discovered that my sustain pedal for the top keyboard was dead.  Luckily, there was an extra pedal in the crap behind the stage.  I plugged it in and it worked.  One problem solved!

As I was getting dressed before the gig, I realized that I'd forgotten my shades, so I had to sprint out to my truck and grab real sunglasses.

We trudged through the BeeGees stuff in the first set.  I don't think anything went horribly wrong, but we were all very unsure o…

More House Live

Tonight was a House Live gig at Ventanas downtown for 3M.  Not much to was around fifty men and a handful of females.

This is a picture of me pretending to play Wayne Viar's drum kit.  I have titled it "The Freeman Funk Machine."

I finally swapped out a couple of ancient soprano reeds (and played on a newer alto reed).  It made all the difference in the world.  I was thinking there was something wrong with my horns--and there was!  Old, dead reeds!

It is presently just after 5 AM.  I have been up for several hours desperately practicing my Bee Gees stuff for a Wednesday morning rehearsal.  I think I'm ready.  Time to sleep for a little bit!

Dance Music all the Time

Last night (Sunday night), I played a House Live gig with Jeff Burnisky and Wayne Viar at the World Congress Center.  Like all of those gigs, it was very easy.  Nothing to report.  I ate all the fruit backstage and half of the raw vegetables.
It's 5:30 AM and I am still up, trying desperately to learn some Bee Gees stuff for a special Yacht Rock gig this Friday night at Andrews Upstairs.  We have a Wednesday morning rehearsal and I have a Tuesday night gig, so I need to get this stuff together ASAP.  I'm going to knock out one or two more songs and then crash.