Showing posts from March, 2011

80s in Athens

Yacht Rock played a private gig for software developers in Athens last night.  It was 80s themed, so we pulled all of our Reagan Rock stuff out for them.

We were on a super tiny stage.  From my spot, my back was against the wall (literally!) and the microphone clipped on the bell of my horn kept hitting my keyboard.  Mark Cobb's right side crash hung over the top of my other keyboard--I think that it was probably closer to me than him.  All of that being said, the volume wasn't too bad, though the bass was awfully loud.

The gig was really fun.  I don't know if the crowd was into it, but I enjoyed playing some different tunes.  We also hit some stuff beyond the realm of Reagan Rock--just stuff that the Y.O.U. guys used to play as covers.  I got off a really good alto solo on Talking In Your Sleep--wish I'd recorded that, but I wasn't thinking I was going to play anything on it at all!

Humane Society Benefit

Yacht Rock played a benefit for the Humane Society at Sweetwater Brewery last night.  I was worried--the weather was a little too chilly for me to have fun outside (and last time we were there we nearly froze to death).  It turned out to be a non-issue.  I mean, my horns were flat as hell, but everything continued to function, so I could deal with it.

By the end of the night, though, my hands were really not working well.  We played Lido Shuffle as an encore and my hands just couldn't do the triplet thing in the synth build up.

Mark Cobb had some strange experiments with gaff tape throughout the night.  Every set had stripes across the head of a different drum, it seemed.  That and a strange pair bell cymbals (I guess)--about four inches in diameter, that rode atop his hi hat for a while.  He's looking for some Steve Jordan/Chris Dave mojo.

So that was it.  No rain, and we were finished at 9 PM.  Not too bad.

We're off to Athens tonight.

Church Snippet

Not too much going on at the moment…I recorded (on my phone) a song we played at church gig number one a couple of days ago.  I went for a Lenny Pickett approach (on a crappy reed!).  Still, not bad for first thing in the morning.  I start playing about a minute and a half in.

Mt. Bethel UMC-March 27, 2011 by David B Freeman

Church gig number two was pretty easy.  I played lots of low stuff on flute.  I'm dreaming of an alto flute.  Wish I could afford one!

Dixie Tavern

I played with the Yacht Rock Schooner last night at the Dixie Tavern last night.  Not bad for a bar gig!  The gig itself was good, but I nearly died waiting around--I was told to be there at 8.  Ready to go at 8:10, but the soundcheck began at 9:30 (which means they checked the sax line at about 10), and we didn't actually start the gig until 10:30.  Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long to hang out.  Next time, I'm rolling in at 10.

Anyway, once we started playing, everything was cool.  The band was solid, and there was something for me to do on every song of the first set.

Someone from the crowd told the two singers that the difference between the Schooner and the Revue was that the Schooner's sax player is so much better.  Thanks?

10 High

We (Yacht Rock) used the 10 High as a preliminary rehearsal for the big 80s prom coming up in a few weeks at the Variety Playhouse.  New oldies included Careless Whisper, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, I Can Dream About You, and True.  All came off without a hitch (ok-I had a medium small disaster in I Can Dream, but nothing fatal).  We also added Hold the Line, which was alot of fun to play--I played power chords on the chorus and a synth part on the second and third verses.  Easy stuff for me, but I bet we won't do that one too much--the vocals are super high.
The second set was fast.  Mark Cobb played everything like he needed to go pee.  We flew through every song.  All of the sudden, the gig was over!
It was a pretty thin crowd.  I won't bother to speculate why.

Monday trio gig

I played a really good trio gig with Louis Heriveaux (keyboard) and Kevin Smith (bass) at the Sheraton downtown.  It was some kind of private gig…a networking thing.

Here are the audio files:

Road Trippin'

Friday and Saturday, I was on the move with Yacht Rock.

Friday's show was with the Yacht Rock Schooner in Chattanooga at Rhythm and Brews.  I just played saxes and flute, so it was a pretty easy night.  The band sounded good;  everything was solid, and it was nice to kind of have the night off on a gig.  I probably did more cell phone videos than actual playing!

Saturday afternoon was a Yacht Rock Revue gig at Eagles Landing in Stockbridge.  What a disaster!  The van was late in arriving to grab our gear, and then it took us twice as long as was allocated to pack the trailer.  We then moved our cars over to the Pleaserock office so as to avoid returning to smashed car windows.  Once we got on the interstate, we decided to take 75 south instead of 675 south (which was what my phone kept telling me to do), and somewhere in there I recalculated directions to Stockbridge instead of Eagles Landing.  So…we got off the interstate at the wrong exit before I noticed.  Back on the interstat…

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Last night was the big Pleaserock takes over Virginia Highlands night--multiple Pleaserock bands playing around the Dark Horse, Limmerick Junction, and Blind Willie's.  Yacht Rock played the 9-11 PM slot in the parking lot.  We had GREAT weather.  Last year, it rained;  there was no cover for the stage, so we never even played.  The year before that was pretty good, but it got cold once the sun went down.  The year before that was colder still.  The high was in the mid-70s (how appropriate!), so we were still really comfortable through our sets.

The toughest/worst part about the gig was the fact that we loaded in at 4, but didn't play until 9.  In the mean time, we stood around.  The Stooge Brothers played.  Then the Main Street Exiles played.  Then the Ill-Eagles played.  Finally, we got up there--frantically threw our gear on stage and got started.  I preset as much stuff offstage as I could, but everybody was still waiting on me to get set (and I heard about it).

I played …

Tuesday-House Live

Tuesday night was the final leg of our House Live tour…not really a tour, but after a couple of months of not having any gigs, we had Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday.  Good stuff!

This one was the easiest of all--just a quick two hour gig at Ventanas.  We made our usual pilgrimage to Baja Fresh across the street, and then came back and hit it.

It was blue dress shirt/dark pants night, and mostly dudes.  Lots of one-on-one business talk.

Here's a couple of audio clips from the evening.  In hearing these recordings, it's striking how different the levels appear in comparison to when I'm playing.  On stage, the DJ component sometimes seems to be too much, but listening back now it seems that it is I who is too loud in the mix.

House Live (soprano) by David B Freeman

House Live (alto) by David B Freeman

At the end of the night, I put my phone on a cocktail table in front of us for a video.  I guess it turns out to be mostly a video of Wayne.

Sunday Stuff

Sunday morning started off an hour too early.  Why the hell do we still have daylight savings time?  Not cool.  I'd gotten home from my Saturday night gig by 9:30 or so;  I practiced until midnight, and then poked around thinking I still had plenty of time to sleep.  Boo--the time switch snuck up on me.  No good.

Anyway, church gig number one went off without a hitch.  In fact, the leader even mentioned that it was one of the tightest services we'd ever played.  Pretty high praise, considering how often it is dished out.

Sunday night, I played another House Live gig, this time at Stats--some private party for a technology company.  Pretty easy stuff.  We played for an hour, then had about forty-five minutes off, then played an hour and forty-five (with a break).  I continued my stream of consciousness playing, for better or for worse.  We had a table of guys sitting right in front of us for most of the night, and I wondered why it took so long for them to get sick of me!

On th…

Payback, circa 1992-93

Yacht Rock played our second gig as a U2 cover band (Uno Dos Tres Catorces) tonight at Meehan's in Sandy Springs.

This one was much better than last week's effort.  For one thing, none of us was throwing up (though Nick tried)!  Also, I think on the whole we were much more rested and ready.  I was also able to spend an hour or so going over my stuff (as well as a few hours over the past couple of days).  I felt good.  It was easy, though I can't say that there was really much for me to do.  I played lots of shaker and tambourine.  The toughest part of the night, in fact, was trying to look cool playing shaker;  for that matter, trying to look cool doing nothing on stage!

The crowd was good.  They seemed to be really into it.  I wonder how many people showed up thinking it was going to be smooth 70s soft rock, though.

We opened for Ed Kowalczyk, former lead singer of the band Live.  The girl I was dating at the end of high school (and long distance into college) got really…

House Live

House Live hasn't played a gig in a couple of months.  I guess nobody's been having trendy parties the past few months!

We were hired to play a 50th birthday party at a really cool space--a new room at a complex called White Provision.  Pretty cool…at one point it was a slaughterhouse, and more recently a U-Haul place (that's how I remember it).  Anyway, there's no blood left, and it looks really good, and the room where we were had really great views.  Upton Sinclair approves!

The gig itself was really refreshing.  I haven't had a lot of opportunities to just improvise and let it all hang out.  About an hour into the gig, I finally felt like I'd played through all my crap and had gotten to a point where I was coming up with some different stuff.  At that point, I kind of zoned out and just played.  It wasn't until later on that I realized that I was no longer playing in the context of the DJ's tracks--it was beyond that.  Maybe that's good, maybe no…


Yacht Rock played the 10 High last night.  Nick was sick and Cobb was out, so we had Kevin Spencer and Ganesh working with us.  I wore my new suit.

I know what you're thinking:  Kevin Spencer has an unofficial fan site?  More than one, it appears.  Here's another.

The first set was pretty good.  I got off a really good solo on Biggest Part of Me--remarkable because I haven't had a saxophone in my hands much at all this week.  Kind of a dud reed, but it was able to take the air, so it ended up being more of a feel issue for me and nothing else.  Not much else to report in the first set…it was pretty solid, though the  tempos felt slow to me.

The second set…ugh…the second set was a drag.  It felt slow, and the talking between songs was really annoying, and the crowd was ambivalent.  Brutal.  There was no flow to the set, and the space between songs made it feel like we'd never played a Yacht Rock gig before.  It had all the momentum of a morning rehearsal.  I thought we&…

Ashes to Ashes

I had a rare mid-week church gig tonight.  It's Ash Wednesday, and my number two church gig was asked to play the overflow service (people that couldn't fit in the cathedral were bumped over to us).  We ended up with a standing room only crowd.

The most challenging part of this gig was the mixing.  I am rarely ever in this particular room, and I was using unfamiliar sound equipment.  Plus, we were plugging into the ceiling speakers.  Weird stuff.  I think I ended up with a pretty good mix, though I had to ride the gain on a couple of the singers.  Frickin' singers! Half the time they sing with the mic at their breastbones, and half the time it's an inch from their lips!

I played flute but no saxophone on this one.  Lent is supposed to be somber, and I was reminded (once again) that that means no solos for Dave.  For some reason, this doesn't seem to apply to the frickin' singers.  Oh well…one less horn to pack up!

Greater Vavoom

Remember The Greater Vavoom show where we opened for Juliette Lewis?  You can read about it here.

Here are two sax solos from that show:

Fuck My Boss (edit) by David B Freeman

Boomerang (edit) by David B Freeman

You can follow The Great Vavoom here.  And you should.

P.S.  We really kicked ass that night.

More Non-Sleeping Madness

Sooooo…last time I wrote, we had played a pretty good gig at the 10 High.  Since then?  Madness.

Friday morning, I got up, made a few notes about the U2 stuff, packed my clothes, and met up with everybody else down at the office in Candler Park.  We loaded the van and drove to Nashville for a gig at the Mercy Lounge.

The Mercy Lounge is really cool.  All of the gigs there feel like significant events in the band's life--as opposed to the 10 High, which can feel like more of an obligation when we're not into it.  The Mercy always has good sound (though it can get really loud), and the sound guys generally care about what's happening.  I mean, it is Nashville--I think because there are so many talented people floating around, the sound guys have to be on it too, or they're likely to be replaced.

We rolled in, set up, soundchecked, and went and ate at Fiesta Mexicana, which is where we've eaten the past three or four times we've been up there.  I had a spinach bu…

The Build Up

This week has been relatively pain free after last weekend's crucible.

Most of the focus has been on the U2 stuff.  We did two rehearsals; one on Tuesday, and then a wrap up one on Thursday to check everything.  Both went well--everything sounded big and powerful.  After doing some more research, the guitar guys (Greg and Dannells) ironed out their respective parts a little more clearly.  Now it's up to Nick--this Bono stuff is super humanly high to sing, and a whole set might kill a lesser vocalist.  We lowered most of the keys a half step, but it's still tough stuff.

Last night at the 10 High was pretty good.  As usual, the first set was really tight;  everybody played well.  I did crash and burn on my solo to Reminiscing--things we going well, I was following a cool succession of ideas, and then my hands couldn't keep up with my head anymore, and that was it.

I played my best palm slide ever on the organ part to Thunder Island.  Ever.  I think I'm going to make…