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Showing posts from April, 2014

Saturday into Sunday

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I've been delayed in writing this by Hank Mobley's Soul Station.  Just as awesome and singing as the first time I heard it.



Saturday:  Yacht Rock played a big party at the Atlanta Athletic Club--the third year in a row we've played this event.  They're into it from the first note, so it's always fun.  The first year we were outside, but now they do it in their indoor tennis facility, which is way better--less pollen, less direct sunlight during set up/soundcheck.


Ugh.  Speaking of soundcheck, we had one of the longest, most brutal sound checks ever.  It was at least an hour and a half, maybe two hours of boredom and frustration.  We eventually got what we needed (or could live with for one gig), but the path there was mind numbing.



The gig itself was great.  These people are cool, and their women are hot and expensive.  More of that, please, especially if they'll help load our gear out at the end of the night.  Maybe next year?


Sunday:  I'm back to only havin…

The Beatles of Buford

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Last night, Please Pleaserock Me (Yacht Rock Revue plays The Beatles) ventured beyond our home at Smith's Olde Bar to try some Beatles at 37 Main in Buford, Georgia.  I think we had a very successful first night!


37 Main is a pretty cool place--the sound system is pretty good and the sound guys know what they are doing.  The staff/management there is also very easy to work with.  It's a good gig (even though it is FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR away).


We had Rob Opitz joining us on trumpet for this gig.  Excellent playing!  Working in a horn section situation is fun with a guy like Rob--he plays the charts very accurately and shows up prepared for the gig.


I hope that we can get back to doing a regular (monthly) Beatles gig--maybe more if we can get into a rotation with Smith's, 37 Main, and the soon-to-be-open 37 Main Johns Creek.  It's easy (for me) and fun, and we've begun playing some of the really cool solo stuff, such as What is Life off George Harrison'…

Mild Terror

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Unusual gig this morning...I was hired to play the National Anthem for a couple of thousand people for a big luncheon at the World Congress Center.  The Star Spangled Banner is not the kind of song you want to screw up, and playing solo makes it that much more of a tightrope!

I sound checked at 10:15 AM.  I successfully played it, albeit pretty straight.  One of the handlers (wearing not one but TWO headsets at the same time!) asked if I could "jazz it up" a little.  I worry about stuff like that--have you ever heard anybody complain that the National Anthem was too straight?  Me neither.  I wanted to then do something like this:

or even this:

but I chickened out.  I can't do either of those, anyway.  Maybe next time.

Following my three minutes of sound checking (and photo session), I was led to my own dressing room.  I hung out there by myself for a couple of hours.  It was numbing.


Not much to do except mess around with "jazz it up" ideas.

Both chairs felt t…

No Sleep til Monday!

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I had a tough Saturday into Sunday;  basically once I woke up Saturday morning, I subsisted on naps until Sunday night (when I passed out on the couch).  In between, gigs!

Saturday:  Yacht Rock played a wedding in Chattanooga.  About as easy as a wedding can be--the waiting between soundcheck and the playing was the hardest (and longest part).  I would bet that we hung around for almost four hours.  Lots of time staring at our phones, both in the green room and in a coffee shop up by the art museum.



We had a sub on drums:  Cole McSween from The Shadowboxers (an excellent Atlanta band).  He did a fantastic job!  Definitely one of the most prepared subs we've ever had.


The reception was one long set of approximately an hour and forty-five minutes.  No problem.  I'd rather play than sit around even more than we already had.




Kip and Zach ran sound.  We were in a tent outside next to the Tennessee Aquarium.  The stage sounded great.  Those guys are worth every penny.

Load out was p…

Back in S.O.B.

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Please Pleaserock Me (Yacht Rock plays the Beatles) was back for our almost monthly show at Smith's Olde Bar.  We sold it out!

Playing these songs is a nice change of pace, not only because they're not the Yacht Rock set list, but also because I play almost nothing but saxophone.

It was unfortunate that our load in occurred during an afternoon of rain.  The water coming off the roof made for a wet gauntlet going up and down the stairs with gear.



There have been a couple of improvements in the dressing rooms.  Gone are the couch and the crappy plywood shelf, replaced with a couple of much nicer benches and built in refrigerators.  Very nice.  Also, it doesn't smell like cat pee anymore.  Hopefully they'll rebuild the men's restroom next.  It might be cleaner to pee in the alley.


The gig went pretty well.  I didn't have much to offer--I played alright, but there wasn't anything special about what I did.



We crashed and burned on the end of Hello Goodbye.  …

Sounds from the Underground

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I had a great gig tonight, quite possibly one of the best gigs I've ever played PERIOD.  I led a quartet of Tyrone Jackson (rhodes), Kevin Smith (bass), and Marlon Patton (drums) though a forty-five minute set of my original tunes.  Everything really clicked--my horn felt great, I could hear everything really well, my hands felt fast, I was relaxed and prepared, and the band was tremendous.  It was magical.




Palm Sunday

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I did two church gigs yesterday.

The first was fun, just as it has been since I began it a few weeks ago.  Hopefully it will continue past Easter!  The combination of musicians and the music chosen has given me great opportunities to improvise and orchestrate some cool stuff.  I'm really enjoying it.


I've been in a rut with my PM church gig--I have the feeling that if I fell over dead in the middle of mass, it probably wouldn't change anything (other than pushing the main fader up and down on the mixer).  In an effort to shake it up, I brought my clarinet to the gig.  Pretty good results!  I think I'll do that again.  Where else am I going to play clarinet?


The PM gig was more difficult than the first one because I took a bunch of Benadryl to deal with the pollen this afternoon.  I nearly fell asleep a hundred times.

Reagan Rock

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Yacht Rock played our first show of the year at Park Tavern Friday night to a 1,000+ crowd.  We don't play around Atlanta as often as we used to, so it's always a welcome sight to see a big audience when we have a local show.  We had a great time!


We added two new ones for this gig:  Head Over Heels (Tears for Fears) and the late addition of Take on Me (A-ha).  The latter was added Wednesday, the result of a Facebook poll of our fans.  Both were fun to play.  I have more nostalgia for the Tears for Fears, but the something about the breakneck speed of the A-ha that was fun, too.


This was the gig where I decided to play Careless Whisper on tenor.  The guy on the original recording sounds kind of like he's playing alto to me, but I read later on that it was tenor recorded at a slower speed and then sped up, which explains why it's kind of chipmunk-y.  After all this time, playing it in a different key was really bizarre.  Doing that made this a one horn gig, though.  L…

More Dave Duos

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David Ellington and I played another duo gig last night, this time for some sort of shipping and logistics convention.  We were parked in the corner of a small ballroom, pretty much playing for our own enjoyment--everybody stayed near the bar or near their little booths.



I didn't play particularly well--I did not have a good flow of ideas and on several tunes I had trouble playing the heads.  Not my best work!  Nevertheless, it was a good hang with Dave and the gig was only an hour and a half, so no big deal.

Live on Stage in Memphis

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Yacht Rock played a wedding Friday night in Memphis.  My hometown!  I imagine that the headline in the Commercial Appeal on Saturday morning said LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD, RETURNS TO MEMPHIS TO KILL IT AT WEDDING RECEPTION.  Maybe not...in reality, we were in town for maybe 7 hours, as we drove in, threw everything on stage, played the gig, packed up, and drove southeast, spending the night in Olive Branch, MS.  Not much of a homecoming for me.  Then again, I moved away in 1977, and hadn't set foot there since the mid nineties.  It's been a long time.  Regardless, I love the idea of "killing it at a wedding reception."





Unfortunately for us, the wedding was outdoors on a really chilly day.  We were in an open tent in a parking lot behind a restaurant, playing for a couple of hundred beautiful people.  My hands don't function well in cold weather--everything I played felt really stiff.


This dude Charvey played on our breaks.  Very good!


We drove home Saturday.


No gig…