Showing posts from June, 2011

One for Grady

Yacht Rock played at the Grady Rock and Ride Festival on Saturday in downtown Atlanta.  They closed Peachtree (first time EVER!) and set up a stage in between Westin Peachtree Plaza and the Ritz.  It was one of those semi trailers that unfolds into a concert stage.

The weather was good.  Actually, there was a nice breeze coming through that kept everything very comfortable, and we were in the shade because of the stage and the surrounding buildings.  If we've got to play outdoors in the summer in Atlanta, let it be like this!

So…one hour set.  No big deal.  For this one, Dannells and I swapped spots, so instead of me being on the far outside, I was tucked in between him and Mark Cobb.  I thought I was going to hate it (crammed in between an 18 inch crash and a guitar amp), but in the end I think I liked it.  I felt more "in the band" and less like I was "playing alongside the band," and the volume wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I think I need…

Marietta Square

Yacht Rock played a good gig last night on the Square in Marietta.  The weather got a little wild--right after we loaded in, a bad thunderstorm came through and we had everything under tarps.  It cleared off enough for us to play, but eventually the rain returned (with lightning!) and we had to bail on the last half hour.

The place was packed!  Very cool, and a decent number of people from my neighborhood showed up.  If the weather had been better, it might have been even better.  We have a gig coming up at the Strand Theatre in November, and I bet that will be packed because of it.

The sound on stage was super loud.  There were a limited number of monitor mixes, and I ended up with more vocals than I would ever want to hear bludgeoning my head.  Adding to the volume were main speakers right up next to us.  Ouch!  The sound out front was good (according to reports from the locals), and all of my stuff was in there.  Cool.

I'm still trying to get my effects pedal dialed in.  I have …

Another 10 High

Yacht Rock played the 10 High last night.  I wasn't in the mood AT ALL.

Better (Excruciatingly Early) Mornings

Yacht Rock played on the local CBS morning show "Better Mornings Atlanta."  We had to be there at 3 AM.  That part was not too hard…I'm used to staying up late.  The fact that I had to stay awake until 7:30 AM or so…not so fun.

We loaded into the TV studio at 3 AM.  Set up, soundchecked, changed.  We played a few bumpers (as the show was going to commercials) and a couple of camera shots.

If you care, you can see the videos here:

5 AM segment

6 AM segment

Web Extra

Most of my stuff is inaudible.  You should be hearing piano on the first segment (on the chorus you can hear a little bit of the synth, so I know the line works).  The second segment is a little better--you can kind of hear me because the guitar and piano parts are kind of sparse.  The Web Extra segment is about like the first (I'm not there)--I love the part where there's the big synth solo and you can't hear anything. And you still can't.  And then Bencuya adds his layer on top and it's real…

Quartet Gig!

Wow!  Last night was a cool little trio gig.  Tonight was a terrific quartet gig.  Super fun!  We (Tyrone Jackson, keyboard;  Kevin Smith, bass;  Marlon Patton, drums) were in the bottom of the Hub at the World of Coke.  I guess it was the acoustics of where were positioned, but we were able to play with all the energy that could be brought, and nobody was offended.  I was surprised--we were really pushing, and yet everybody was cool with it.  It made for a wonderful evening.  Wish I had more of these!

The band was very generous in interpreting my tunes and putting up with my strange harmonic sense and bizarre phrasing.  I am EXTREMELY fortunate to get these guys.  Who could ask for anything more!

Check out the audio (I promise it's worth it!):

Trio Gig

I played a really good trio gig with Tyrone Jackson (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass) tonight.  A little one hour reception.  We have a quartet gig tomorrow night (adding Marlon Patton on drums), so this was a good little tune up.

The audio!

P.S. If you'd like to check out my YouTube videos of last week's trio gig, you can find them HERE.

Bar Gigs, Church Gigs

I played two bar gigs on Saturday.  The first was with Uno Dos Tres Catorce (Yacht Rock playing a set of U2) at Meehan's in Sandy Springs, opening for the REMakes.  We loaded into the tent just in time for the sky to explode.  The band was trapped with just a few six packs of beer to ride out the storm.  We made the best of it…Mark Cobb bought a drum set (60s Slingerlands!  Nice!), and Bencuya told us about all the Yacht Rock live recordings he's been editing.

Because of the rain, we started a half hour late, but we blazed through our set and finished in an hour.  I think things were pretty good.

Check out how the sound man rolled his rack/mixer out front so he could mix accurately.  Impressive!  I've never seen a guy do that.

My second gig was playing saxophone and flute with the Yacht Rock Schooner at Dixie Tavern.  Another pretty good gig, though the crowd wasn't as good as the last time I played there.  Zac Brown never showed up, but Wheat Williams did.  The band …

Thursday at the Ol' 10 High

Usual Thursday night 10 High gig.  It was really fun, but geez…I sucked really bad.  It was like I haven't thought about any of these songs in a month.  Some particular low points were the little synth break in Heart of Rock and Roll (which I practiced and played well in Nashville last week, but haven't thought about since), and All Night Long (which completely bit me in the ass).

My last big equipment upgrade of the year was a new effects pedal for my sax stuff.  I bought a TC Helicon Voicelive 2.  Super fancy and very state of the art.  It seems to be infinitely programmable.  I have the first preset built as my basic thing--just reverb.  Then, I can turn on (or turn off) chorus, slap reverb, and doubling within that preset by stepping on the different buttons.  Crazy.  Before, I would have to have a preset for each one.  Then I have a big stack as another preset (like three or four octaves wide) for Silly Love Songs.  For Heart of Rock and Roll, I have the solo sound, the…

Indiana Homecoming

So…yeah, the gig at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville was a high point for Yacht Rock.  We kicked ass, and the crowd (great numbers, too!  something like 320 people all together) loved every note of it.  The sound was good (super loud, but what else is new), the vibe was great.  When we came off stage after the second set, the crowd was screaming for an encore.  Bencuya declared "We're killin' it!"

Once we finished and celebrated and pack up, we drove to Bowling Green, Kentucky in the middle of the night to get away from the Bonnaroo traffic.  We arrived at something like 4:30 AM, crashed for a few hours, and drove to Carmel, Indiana (on the north side of Indianapolis).  There we set up and played a pretty cool outdoor show for Rock the District 2011.  The weather was perfect;  low eighties and slightly breezy.  We were in a parking lot, but the crowd got thicker as the gig went on, and by the end, people were into it, dancing on rooftops and such.

I was kind of weirded…

Mercy Lounge-Nashville

Wow!  One of our best gigs EVER!

As Mark Cobb Goes, So Goes the Band

Wow!  Great gig last night at the 10 High.  The band was really happening.

It looked for a minute like we wouldn't even have a gig.  Fifteen minutes before we were scheduled to begin, there was one guy in the room (other than the band).

People came downstairs right as we began.  Just in time!

Back to the show…we played great!  Mark Cobb was on fire.  I think it was the best that he's played (on an entire gig) in a couple of months.  He had a great groove and just the right amount of aggression, and the rest of the band fell in behind him.  The whole night was like that.  Every song felt great.  Plus, Vistalites in the 10 High!  Hell yeah!

I played pretty well.  I played a wrong chord in the intro to Lonely Boy.  Damnit!  I was thinking about where to play octaves in my left hand in the prechorus, and I forgot to change chords in the intro.  Oops. I hate that I messed that up--we play it so rarely, it'll be months before I have another opportunity.  Plus, it was just a dum…

Faking it

Other possible titles:  Paid in Toothpaste; Greetings from the Land of Poor Fitting Khakis; Let's Get Excited about Shelf Space; My First and Last Day of Business School.

I participated in a really strange gig this morning (and also Tuesday night).  The guys who make up Yacht Rock were hired to be the house band (kind of like the Letterman band) for a private event for Proctor and Gamble.  It was not, however, a Yacht Rock event--we dressed "like rock stars" (I wore a t shirt and jeans with a leather blazer) and played a much wider variety of music--mostly in the classic rock vein.  I had almost nothing to do, so I ended up turning the volume off on my keyboard and faking it for most of the show.

Tuesday night we loaded in to the Marriott downtown.  At that time, the song selections were still up in the air, so I brought my full rig:  2 keyboards, EWI setup, amplifier, and a saxophone.  Once they settled on songs, it turned out I would only need one keyboard--everything…

Trio Gig

I played a trio gig tonight with Tyrone Jackson (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass).  Good stuff.  The gig was supposed to be 7:30-10:30, but we found out at 6:30 that it had been changed to 7-9 (the money stayed the same, though).  Uh, no problem!

We played pretty well, but the crowd was incredibly loud.  Really…we could hardly hear ourselves!  It was nuts.  Fortunately my recorder is kind of directional, so the roar isn't too bad except for a couple of songs in the middle of the gig.


More gigs this week…stay tuned!

Weekend Wrap Up

First some odds and ends...

A few videos from the Turner Field show!

how about one where you can't hear me!

A few videos from last week's duo gig with Trey Wright!

On to the wrap up…

Friday night, Yacht Rock played our monthly show at the Park Tavern.  Space Capone opened for us.  Great stuff!  The band sounded really solid, and their songs are really good.  I guess they wanted to wear black suits for the show, but only the trumpet player actually owned a black suit.  The rest of them wore…they did not look good.

Our set was really good.  No problems other than a crappy tenor reed.  I'm scared to death of my equipment right now (keyboard and EWI, I should say), but everything worked fine.  That knob thing on my Fantom still comes and goes, and I'm betting that the SKB case has something to do with it.  I'm going to cut some more of the foam away and see if that helps.  My solution (when the keyboard asks me to save over and over) is to push the knobs into the board…

Both Sides of Thursday

I had two gigs on Thursday.

My first gig was a flute/guitar duo with Trey Wright.  We played for the opening of a condo building in Marietta (very convenient that both of us live about fifteen minutes away!), providing mood-setting music for people exiting the elevator.  Sounds romantic!  It was fun--I never get jazz flute gigs, it was cool to play with Trey again, and nobody bothered us.  The crowd got a little loud at some points (don't they know they're ruining my recording!), but we enjoyed ourselves.  Easy gig, easy money.

Here's some audio!

I ran home, swapped gear and clothing, and headed out to the 10 High for the regular Yacht Rock gig.  A very different playing environment.

The first set, I was Sloppy Joe Saxman.  I had lots of little blips where I just couldn't quite get my stuff happening.  I did hit on a really nice idea for my sax solo on Reminiscing, but I had a couple of hiccups in the duo thing right before that.  The first few songs were like that…I t…