The Great Northeast
2015 is off to a great start! Yacht Rock did a short, successful run in the Northeast, with gigs in Boston, Long Island, New York City, and Washington, DC. A terrific way to begin the new year.
Thursday: We flew to Boston (the seven of us plus our sound engineer Kip) to meet the van, trailer, and gear (driven up by Hans). The day began like this:
Get on the plane!
I haven't seen pay phones in a long time. Boston's airport has the remaining supply.
This hat, direct from Russia, kept Pete's head warm.
Our first show was at The Sinclair in Cambridge. Nice venue! It holds 525 people, so not a huge room, but pretty nice size, with good food and a good crew (they helped us load in and out--I'm a big fan).
Mark Cobb demonstrates his new, mightier wind chimes. So powerful that they require two hands (and two sticks).
First gig of the run was a terrific success! It was only our second time in Boston, but we had 520 people in the room! How about that!
We were all a little worried about how the cold would effect our instruments--the gear had been freezing in the trailer for several days; in setting up, my hands got so cold that at one point I had to take a break!
The only casualty of the cold was the batteries in my tenor wireless transmitter--mid solo, they conked out. Dammit!
Yay Boston! It's really exciting that we're catching on this quickly.
Videos from the show:
Friday: Up for the drive to Huntington, New York (on Long Island). Along the way, we made a pit stop for gas. Monkey savored a doughnut.
Monkey played in the snow.
Kip's choice of footwear was unusual considering the conditions.
Pete tried to warm up at Wendy's with their fake fireplace.
Thursday's gig was at The Paramount in Huntington. Easily one of the single greatest venues we've ever played! They really treat the artists well (beginning with a crew to load in your gear!). Big stage, big room, terrific green room.
This marker was on the stage near Greg Lee's bass position. Pretty damn cool.
This place is super cool. They even had a large spread and fed the band and the crew--and it was good!
Somebody decided that instead of advertising us as The Yacht Rock Revue, it would be better to say "Live 70's Rock Tonight." Whatever...315 people came to see us--our first time in The Paramount! Wow! That's a fantastic number for our first time! I can't wait to make this part of our circuit in the northeast.
Videos from the show:
After the show, the owner took us on a tour. The downstairs is a speakeasy, with several secret rooms behind revolving bookcases and hidden behind walls. My favorite was the Shawshank Redemption room, complete with the posters, the rock hammers, the bucket of beer, an electric chair...
...and the actual prop from the movie--the box that Morgan Freeman digs up under the tree. Cool. Dude said he paid $20,000 for it.
Also in the speakeasy was a pump organ. Bencuya gave it a shot. It's said that Billy Joel is a member, and sometimes will sit down and play this sucker.
One of the worst things about this time of year is that my hands dry out and crack open. Both thumbs split open, and then my index finger, ring finger, and pinkie followed. No hand cream would save me. My keyboard playing was uncomfortable.
Saturday: New York City! Colder than ever. We took a cab to the East Village.
I spent most of the day wandering around. These were in some random music store.
From there I rode the subway up to Columbus Circle to visit the New York Flute Center with the hope of trying (and possibly buying) an alto flute. The Center is kind of small--like, living room small, with two people running it. They had one room for checking out flutes (which of course was already in use), so I had to check out a flute in front of other people, which totally weirded me out. To make matters worse, someone else came in to try flutes, and they told her she would have to hang out (and listen to me fart around on alto flutes) until I was finished. I got intimidated and left. Maybe some other time! Alto flutes are cool, though. I want one. It'll be my next gear purchase.
Down Broadway to what used to be Music Row...I went in Roberto's Woodwinds, which is mainly just a saxophone shop. Once again, I got too intimidated to try anything (and I'm not looking for any sax gear anyway).
I went in several random places (like CVS and Home Depot) because the wind made walking down the street painful. On top of that, my phone shut down (it had 40% battery left). Hmmm...how do I get back to the Gramercy? I tried to buy a cheap charger somewhere, thinking I could sit in a Starbucks and revive my phone, but the only chargers I came across were $40-50. Finally, I went into an AT&T store. While pretending to compare my phone to the new iPhone 6, I unplugged their phone and plugged in mine. Then I did an internet search on the 6 and got the address for the Theater. In about a minute, my phone came back to life. Back to 40%! Success.
Once my phone had been restored, I went in search of food and a restroom. A Thai place had both.
This show sold out Friday morning. We found out Saturday morning that it in fact had not sold out and they were still selling tickets (though online ticket sales were no longer available). I think by the time we played, we'd officially sold it out.
Having Kip run sound for us made a huge difference on this entire tour, but especially here. By far, the best sound we've ever had in the Gramercy. That dude is worth every penny. It made the playing a joy!
Great show! We always rise to the occasion for New York City, and this was no exception. So good, in fact, that we played not one but two encores.
Sunday: We hopped on the New Jersey Turnpike and headed south. Hans shopped for new shades at a service plaza.
The ride from New York to Washington was really boring.
The Hamilton is great! Another beautiful venue with great sound, great staff, and a great crowd.
Another terrific show. Awesome.
A new twist this time around--they venue uses their video cameras to project onto the back wall. During Hotel California's guitar solo, for instance, I watched Monkeyboy's solo on the wall behind Cobb. Later on, he used this angle (the camera is across the stage shooting down towards the drums). Very cool.
The Hamilton has their own liquor?
Monday: Hans dropped us off at Baltimore's airport. He drove our gear and Pete's hat home; we flew. I love gigging like this! I flew with a backpack. My suitcase and everything went in the trailer.
Wet in Atlanta. Good to be home.