Almost Back to Normal

Yesterday was the first day in a week that my hands weren't sore when I woke up.  I guess it's from pounding on a keyboard more than usual, but I could hardly stir my coffee in the mornings.  After an hour or so, the strength would return to my hands.

A recap of the past few days!

Friday:  The big Yacht Rock Holiday Special at Park Tavern.  Two shows, both sold out.  Maximum awesomeness.  The venue was cool…we were upstairs in that acoustical nightmare;  Schooner was downstairs in front of the fireplace;  ice skating outside on the patio.  I think all our fans had a wonderful time.

Nick had a new white three piece suit.  I'm so jealous.  It's got me shopping.

That room…ughhhhhh…we were set up in front of all that glass, which always makes for a horrible musical experience, and Friday was no different.  It looks great with the lights and the city in the background, but it felt like somebody had a screwdriver jammed in each of my ears!  I had two choices on stage--turn down and hear everybody else (and guess at what I was playing), or turn up and hear myself, but not be able to hear the band over my amplifier.  I tried both, and failed at both!

Bencuya said he had so much trouble hearing that he had to take his ear plugs out.  I noticed that Cobb actually put some plugs in!  His mom would be happy.

It definitely made me aware of how much my ear is involved in playing--even the keyboard stuff, where I'd/you'd think that I would be playing more literally "this chord, this chord, this chord."  I thought that's the way I was doing it, but in subtracting the sound, I couldn't remember if I was supposed to to hold a G or F on the chorus.   I think I played some really horrible stuff!

The other oddity of playing in that room was that some of my stuff sounded really out of tune, and I am not talking about saxophone issues (I only played sax on two or three songs per show).  The upper octaves of my synth sounded horribly out of tune--like more than a quarter step.  How is that possible?  It was an acoustical problem, not wrong notes.  It really freaked me out.  Things that I knew I was playing correctly sounded so wrong that it would make me second guess myself.  It was really bizarre.

my ice skates

Mark Dannells!

Anyway, everybody said it sounded good out front, so I guess that's all that matters.  Hopefully Bencuya's recording of the performances won't get me fired.

Nick is having a good time
In between the two shows we all went out on the ice rink and sang We Are the World.  I did two laps before we sang.  Not too bad!

All in all, an awesome night for us.  Nick and Pete really put together a great show.

Saturday:  Yacht Rock played a wedding at Greystone in Piedmont Park, a new venue right on the lake.

The room looked like it could be another problem (shoebox, hard surfaces), but the it turned out to be a great spot for us.  The stage was big (so we weren't right on top of each other), and the acoustical panels on the walls ate up the bad reflections.  Everything sounded great.  It restored my faith in my playing!

For their first dance, we were asked to play Supertramp's Give a Little Bit.  Cool with me!  It's got a nice little sax solo in there:

I hope we keep that song--if Nick can stomach it.

The batteries on one of my sax mic transmitters died…changed those out.  Later on in the gig, my EWI started blinking, so I had to change those out.  Six batteries just like that!  I was kind of relieved that the EWI batteries finally gave up--I spent too much energy worrying about them dying during the Friday show (but strangely not enough to just switch them out for fresh ones).

The gig was over at 11, and we were out of there at midnight.  Yay!  That was great.

Mark Dannells is blue but awesome

Sunday:  Church gig number one is finally finding a groove!  No disasters, no confusion.  I think it helped that we played Christmas carols for prelude music, so there was no guessing about what we were playing or where we were in the music.  Cool.  We played more than usual, but it was no big deal, and I was more awake since I'd gone to bed a little earlier than usual.

Church gig number two was fun.  There were two songs sung over drones--it's Advent, and so there seems to be lots of minor key drones.  On one, I played flute--lots of bends and flutters and sound effects to kind of fill it out.  

On the second drone, I played soprano sax--lots of false fingerings and overtone kind of things.  I must be in an overtone kind of mood.  We played The Biggest Part of Me on Saturday night, and my solo at the end had the same sort of overblown/overtone kind of stuff happening.  I guess it's kind of in my ear at the moment, though I don't know why.

One more big week of gigs and then things slow down.  I'm looking forward to practicing more regularly again.

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