Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Compared to some of our previous weekends, the Yacht Rock Revue had it pretty easy last week--a quick trip up to Nashville and then a wedding back in Atlanta.

Before I go any further, though, you should check out our video of Jason Carter Says Yes.  Half of the music is live stuff from us at the 10 High a few years ago, and half was done via email (such as the sax and strings).  I love the way this turned out.  I am also very jealous of Greg Lee's hair.

Our version was based on some weird stuff Bencuya laid on us in the van many years ago called Jimmy Carter Says Yes, a song poem which uses some of JC's inauguration speech.  Bizarre, but nearly equally awesome.

Our version from the 10 High is probably the best of all three, and still pee-in-your-pants funny after we've heard it a hundred times.

Friday:  The plan for this trip was to assemble at noon and head north, presumably beating traffic and getting up to Nashville with enough time to tackle anything necessary in soundcheck, and then eat.  Right.  Various delays with traffic/Friday Atlanta bullshit caused a delay.  We made it as far as Marietta before stopping for gas (and waited nearly forever for some old man to move up enough to trip the left hand turn signal).  Getting back on the interstate, there was a strong smell of gasoline, so we pulled off in Kennesaw to investigate (couldn't find anything).  A few of the guys needed food, so we tried to find a Chipotle in Town Center Mall, but it wasn't there.  We got back on the interstate and stopped in Acworth at a Wendy's.  So...two hours into our trip, and we'd gone about 30 miles!

From there, it was pretty smooth until we got to Franklin, TN, where traffic came to a screeching halt because of a crash (and ensuing car fire).

In spite of that, we were still in decent shape at load in, and the crew (led by our monitor guy named Crash) helped us get our gear in and on stage.  I think we set up reasonably quickly, but there was a long delay before we began checking things.  In the mean time, we played with the lights.

We were still checking things when they opened the doors.  Why'd it take so long?  Nobody knows.

The time crunch left us with about an hour to eat before we were to play, so we ran across the street to a latin restaurant.  Not my favorite place to eat--maybe I just didn't order well?  I tried their gumbo, but it was mostly just chicken broth with some carrots and rice.

We raced back over, changed clothes, and it was time to go.  The first set was another performance of Michael Jackson's Thriller.  Not too bad!  We have now played it enough that it's pretty comfortable.

Mark Dannells played the Beat It solo while standing on a chair.  More impressive was the fact that he was able to get down afterwards without falling.

Plenty of tang-galloping happened here.

The second set was a regular Yacht Rock set.  Our special guest for the evening was Walter Egan!  He  played on Magnet and SteelHot Summer NightsMonday Morning, and Go Your Own Way.

Hey there Bencuya.
The sound was...really loud on stage, but not horrible.  I could hear everything pretty well.  Out front may not have been as clear.  Reports from family and friends in the audience were that the sound was dominated by bass and kick drum.  We also got word that the front of house guy was at one point texting, at another point asleep, and at a third point NO LONGER MANNING HIS POSITION!  That's not so good.  It's safe to say that we've been spoiled by Kip and Zach at Athens Sound.

We loaded out and headed to our hotel, but not before passing a third crash, this one a bad wreck of a car jammed under and eighteen wheeler.  Bad stuff.

Saturday:  back up and out the door.  I slept a lot.  We made a pit stop for gas and Monkeyboy bought Perrier at a gas station on the north side of Nickajack Lake.  It's a treat for him.

We made it into Atlanta with enough time to stop for lunch before loading into our gig, so we hit Goldberg's Deli at Paces Ferry and Northside.

Load in, soundcheck, blah blah blah.  Zach was manning the PA for us at this wedding reception.  With plenty of time to kill between soundcheck and the gig, we convinced him to drive us back to the meeting point to retrieve our cars, which probably saved me an extra hour by the time we would have loaded the trailer, driven back to midtown, unloaded the trailer, and then gone our separate ways.

The gig was no big deal.  Early in the evening, they passed out small tambourines to the crowd (oh shit!), but they were so cheap (and there were so many of them), they ended up sounding like cicadas in the background.

Over at 11:15 PM.  Home before 1 AM.  Not too bad.

Sunday:  As I mentioned previously, there's been a lot of frustration from the vocalists lately about the mix.  I thought a good way to reassure them would be to record a mass so they could hear it.  Now I'm wondering if I've just given them something to pick apart and use against me.

If they can complain about my mixing, can I complain about their singing?

No public gigs this week, but next week we'll be on the Grammy Festival at Sea (http://www.grammy.com/news/grammy-festival-at-sea-to-set-sail-nov-4-8).  Wee.  Sleepy time for me.

The week after that, the Dave and Dave Duo will be at Churchill Grounds Tuesday, November 10, 9-midnight.  Here's some stuff from our recent gigs at Sun in my Belly and JCT Kitchen and Bar.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

South Carolina

Whew...I'm getting slower and slower about updating this.  I'm still kind of decompressing from the previous two weeks' shows...at least, that's my excuse.

So anyway...rewind to last weekend:

Friday:  we drove to Charleston.  Driving there is a little strange--it seems like it should be interstate all the way, but instead you drive to Augusta, cross into South Carolina, and then wander through the cotton fields on two lane roads for a good while before you get on another interstate and resume your quest for signs of civilization.

The cotton is about ready.

I tried to persuade an uncollared dog at a gas station to get into our van, but once again to no avail.

We played Music Farm in Charleston.  My favorite part about this gig is walking down the street to the Thai restaurant-Basil--on the corner.  Good stuff.  Anything served with white rice has a good chance of making me happy.  It's genetic.

I went with these guys.

So...Music Farm.  Looks cool, sounds ok.  It's really loud in a nondescript, washy kind of way.  About halfway through the gig I realized that it was loud back where I was because of all the sound coming through the vocal mics out front.  Turning my monitor feed off made the rest of the gig less deafening.  They say they're getting a whole new PA early next year, and I'll be interested to see if it improves things.

The crew helped us load in and out--a huge plus.  I always like that.  We brought Zach (Kip's understudy) with us for both these gigs, and he ran sound out front, so I'm comfortable thinking that he made it sound as good as it could.

Thai food is good food.  I'd play here again just to hit Basil's again.

Saturday:  We played a wedding at a plantation on the north side of Charleston.  The reception was at the cotton dock--I assume since we were at the water's edge that it's where the bales were carried away by boat.

The ceremony was on site, so that meant an early load in and then hours of down time before we played.  We took a walk around to see the sites.

I was a little disappointed to find out that this was not the original house.

The gig...pretty easy.  In spite of a horrible Elton John song that we had to perform, this gig was better than the night before.  The sound was good, and I thought the three Marks (Dannells, Bencuya, and Cobb) all played some pretty hip shit.

Strange crowd--they were small in numbers to begin with, but the ebb and flow on and off the dance floor was at times extreme.

Check out this awesome getaway car at the reception!  A 1950 Dodge something.  Super cool.

Sunday:  We drove home.  Another long and boring ride that began much too early.

Service with a...

I made it home with enough time for a nap before my church gig.  Evidently there's some kind of gripe brewing about how much (or little) pushing of faders I'm doing on the gig.  Difficult to say--on Sunday, there were no solos (only group singing) with piano and djembe accompaniment.  Exactly what am I within the group am I supposed to be turning up and down?  I'm not a great sound man by any means, but after setting the gain for each microphone and balancing the voices with the instruments, what else is there to do?

No gigs during the week, so the next show is Friday night in Nashville at the Cannery Ballroom.  Thriller and a set of Yacht Rock (with a special local guest).  As Walter would say, close your eyes and it's 1978 all over again.  Stay tuned...

Friday, October 17, 2014

D and D at JCT

David Ellington and I played a third gig of the week (!), this time as a duo at JCT Kitchen and Bar.  This was a much better gig than Wednesday night's rough outing.  We had a good time playing and got fed, too!  I said I wasn't going to do it, but I ordered the burger and fries again.

Check this stuff out.  Some good shit, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday Trio

Wow!  Two trio gigs in a week, tying a personal best.

This one had a weird set up in terms of where we were in the room.  The idea was to put us up on a balcony and let the music gently waft over the crowd, but looking back on it I wonder if we instead sounded like we were wafting from the restroom.  We were in a good spot to hear ourselves, but I have no idea what it was like down on the floor.

The local sound company played music for the first twenty minutes of our set, then checked a microphone over and over (the ol' "testing one two, testing one two, check check check") and then about twenty minutes after we finally started playing, put on Frank Sinatra over what we were doing.  Thanks?  During dinner (when we were once again supposed to be playing) I had to go downstairs and ask them to turn their canned music off so that we could play.  How bizarre.

I can't remember what these two were talking about.

Aside from that, things were ok.  The three of us never reached a consensus on where the beat was, which made every tune feel like work.

Dave's vintage tube amp had some weirdness tonight where it would softly sound an Eb.  He kept getting up mid song to tap the tubes and make it stop.  Changing to the other channel finally fixed it.

Our part of the evening finished before the event ended, so we were able to pack up and sneak away with nobody noticing.