Showing posts from October, 2011

King of Pops

Please Pleaserock Me (the Yacht Rock guys playing the Beatles) played a set of music at the King of Pops Field Day.  I guess it was a show of appreciation for KoP fans.  The event was in the backyard of the Masquerade (who knew there was such a thing?).

The venue was kind of cool…easy load in right off the street, big stage, room for lots of people.

Our set was really flat.  It surely didn't help that it was Sunday night right after the sun had gone down, or the massive amount of dead air in between us and the band before (the Mike Geier/Monkey Zuma thing was a bust).  We'd also spent all of our energy the previous two nights.  Fortunately, it was only a forty-five minute set, most of which I spent taking pictures and playing percussion.  No big deal.  I was home and asleep on the couch at the usual time!


Friday, Yacht Rock traveled to Nashville to play the Mercy Lounge.  This has become somewhat of a regular gig for us.  It's nicely predictable--we know how to get there, where to eat, what the sound will be like.  The sound guys no longer treat us like we're morons--they actually seem happy to see us!

The Mercy Lounge gig sold out.  Yay!  Second time we've done that.  They really pack 'em in there, too, so it feels like a lot of people (even though it's just a couple of hundred).

I sat down to play the first song of the night (Greatest American Hero), and had no sound coming out of my rig.  SHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!  Multiple small heart attacks.  I tried to be systematic in my thinking.  Keyboards have power, speaker has power, rack has power…what the hell?  Then I noticed that my mixer had no power.  Great…no mixer and we'd have to stop and run separate lines and DIs for each keyboard and the EWI, and then send it through the m…

Thriller/Purple Rain Preparations

It's been a rough month…lots of gigs and lots of rehearsals, all culminating in this weekend's big Thriller/Purple Rain show at the Variety Playhouse.  This week began with rehearsals Monday morning and Tuesday night.  Since then I have been working on my parts and tweaking sounds to the point of insanity, sleeping in my clothes and trying to work the knot out of my shoulder.  After this, I don't want to hear any synthesizers for a while.

I think we're ready, though!  I'm certainly sick of practicing--let's play the thing!

Thursday night was the 10 High.  It was a really dragging gig.  Maybe it was the setlist, or maybe it was the fact that our minds have been elsewhere, but we weren't particularly into it, and the whole thing kind of wandered around until we finished the last song.  The crowd seemed really ambivalent too, but there were enough people to make it a good night money-wise.


I rolled into my church gig this morning.  After the usual rehearsal, they started passing out music for the concert tonight.  Huh?  The band leader had mentioned a few MONTHS ago playing on some Sunday night show…I guess tonight's the night!  The only problem was that I had a gig already scheduled for that night.  There'd never been a single email with a date, a time…nothing.  I guess that started talking about it last Sunday when I wasn't there and never got around to saying anything to me about it.  Nice.

Anyway…I got a sub to cover it.  Before I left, I took a quick glance through the book and noticed that all the charts were for alto, not tenor.  Good thing I'd looked--they never have me play alto at this gig.  I would have sent a tenor sub.

What a mess!

My gig was a little jazz trio thing--me, Tyrone Jackson, and Kevin Smith.  We were supposed to be down at the Omni at 4:30 for a 5:30 start.  Unfortunately, the Falcons game let out after 4…traffic was insanely ba…

Jazzoo 2011

Yacht Rock played at Jazzoo last night.  We were at the zoo.  I walked around before we started.  It appeared to be jazz free.

Actually, that's not true.  I heard a really bad trio parked right at the front entrance, and I ran into Randy Hunter who had been there playing with Kayla Taylor earlier in the evening, and Grant Green Jr was there.

I don't have any good stories about this gig, so how about this:  I played about twenty gigs with Kayla Taylor a few years ago, and she used to get on me for playing too many notes in my solos.  "I bet you fuck like that, too.  Just like a jackhammer" she once said to me.

Back to Yacht Rock…we played two sets, 9-11 PM.  While we were searching for the jazz in the zoo, we sampled lots and lots of good (free) food.  Yeah!  It sure beat the Boston Market stuff that was in our dressing room.

Our gig was incredibly loud…just insanely loud, and it seemed like it got louder later in the evening.

I played sax on one song in the first s…

10 High

Yacht Rock played the 10 High last night.  Not much to speak of…we ripped through our usual tunes at brisk tempi.  Mark Cobb was playing drums last night with particular fire (and a strange mullet--see the above picture).  We were playing very well.  Dannells in on a good streak right now.

I don't know why I'd never done it before, but last night I made a keyboard split and added the flugelhorn part in Lovely Day.  I've always played the whole thing on strings…I guess it dawned on me that I could put the horn part down at the bottom of the synth and still have enough room to play the string part.  Anyway, I was very pleased with myself for doing that.

In the first set, I failed to turn off the transmitter on my tenor microphone, and when I tried to take an alto solo, the signals cancelled each other out.  That was stupid.  I know that when the mic isn't working I should stop and fix it (nobody's hearing what I'm doing anyway), but I can never bring myself to do…

Lake Oconee

Yacht Rock played some kind of corporate party at Lake Oconee last night.  Easy, easy gig.  We played two sets between 7 and 10 PM, and then the noise ordinance prohibited anything further.  Yay!  The best part is that we spent the night at the Ritz.  Can't go wrong there!

We played this gig last year (you can read about it here).  This time we set up where we ended up last year (covered), which was good because just like last year, there were passing showers.  It seemed like most of the people were off to our right at the bar and maybe couldn't hear us, but there were a fair number of people sitting at tables watching us.

Dannells played great stuff, and very different from his usual ideas.

The place where Greg's bass cabinet was really liked A=440, and his side of the stage rang the whole night like there was some kind of feedback.  On our side, it sounded like the bass wasn't even on.  Weird acoustics.

We rolled back into town this morning, ate a really good breakf…

I Was Thinkin' That

I played a trio gig for Arby's last night.  Imagine a hotel ballroom that smelled like fast food, occupied by five hundred people trying to talk over each other, and me.

The gig was pretty good;  it was my usual guys:  Tyrone Jackson and Kevin Smith.  It didn't seem like we really clicked until about three hours into the gig.  Not that we weren't trying, but around the last four songs it felt like we'd all gotten comfortable (finally!)--the groove got better, and the pacing of the solos was a bit more relaxed.

Here's the audio.  If you listen to the first tune (Wheeler) and the last tune (Monk's Dream), and then listen to something in the middle (Beth Ann), you can maybe get an idea of how loud the crowd was.  It was like jazz with a sledgehammer.

Wilmington, NC

After my Friday night meltdown, I had just a few hours to sober up and head to the airport.  I picked Nick up at 5:30 AM (ouch) and met up with everybody for a flight to North Carolina for a gig.

Most of the day was pretty foggy.  Fortunately, we got there pretty early, checked into our rooms, and crashed.  By the time we left for the venue, I felt pretty good!  We each had a room to ourselves.  Check mine out.

Yacht Rock played a wedding reception in an old church that had been converted into an event facility.  It was a really pretty room.  Sound-wise, maybe not so great, but it was cool looking.

I had my gear, so I was happy.  I finally played I'd Really Love to See You Tonight without any mistakes.

The only blemish on the evening was that Nick got food poisoning and missed about half the gig.  Even after he'd puked his guts out a couple of times, he was still too beaten up to do anything more than wait for the gig to end.

Before the third set, we all went outside and wat…

How to Play When You're Drunk

Hell if I know.  This last Park Tavern gig was a fairly miserable experience.  Why?

1.  All of my gear is in North Carolina for a wedding tomorrow night, so I had to borrow gear to cover this gig.  I found about borrowing gear a week ago.  It did not go well.  The stuff I borrowed was not really compatible with this gig.  I could go into the details of it, but why bother.

2.  I was drunk.

So yeah, I played like shit.  I drank a lot of beer before we got on stage.  My gear sounded bad coming through my speaker.  It was uninspiring to say the least.  I didn't enjoy it.  I watched my watch click down til 11 PM.  It certainly didn't help to hear what I perceived to be a sarcastic comment from a friend of the band.  I know I didn't have anything to offer tonight, but I sure as fucking hell don't need to hear about it from anybody outside of the band.  I'm not even sure if I need to hear it from anyone inside the band.  I know when I'm not playing well, and when it s…

More Two-fers

Wow!  Another night with two gigs (and both were indoors!)!

My first gig was a little trio gig at the Marriott downtown.  This one came up at the last minute--it became an "official" gig (I received a contract) about twenty-four hours before the gig.  Because of this, I wasn't able to get Tyrone or Kevin on the gig.  Tyrone was playing a gig with Joe Gransden and Kevin was in the room next to me playing with Brent Runnells.  This gave me the opportunity to check out some different guys--I hired Nick Rosen on piano and Nadav Spiegelman on bass.  Good stuff!  All three of us played well.  We did a set of tunes by other people before we tackled some of my songs.

Here are mp3s from the gig:

My second gig was the regular Yacht Rock gig at the 10 High.  This one was fun!  Ganesh played great--he had a lot of energy that really made the gig feel easy.

The second set was a little silly.  There might have been alcohol involved.  Happy birthday to Mark Bencuya!


Both sides of 5 AM

Man, what a crazy weekend!

Friday:  huge show in Athens at the Georgia Theatre.  Going into it, I wondered how were going to make out at the Theatre.  Our previous best gig in Athens was at the 40 Watt, where I think there were something like 400 people in attendance.  The Georgia Theatre is roughly equivalent to the Variety Playhouse here in Athens, and I thought if we had 400 people at the Variety, it would look really thin.

No problem:  we sold out the Georgia Theatre.  What an awesome venue!  Check it out:

The only problem was that I didn't play very well.  I guess the sound was kind of bugging me--I couldn't get comfortable.  It certainly didn't help that the guitar was over my right shoulder, but the bigger issue to me was that the stage sound was loud and washy, but I couldn't pinpoint what the particular sounds were--just a big wave is something that I had to play against.  Sometimes my amp was too loud;  sometimes it was too quiet.  I couldn't find a balan…