Showing posts from May, 2015

Friday in the Woods

The same group of us (plus Ben Holst) who played last Saturday night in somebody's backyard in Alpharetta/Crabapple played our second gig Friday night at a backyard in Cumming.  Frankly, I'm not sure how we got the gig--maybe Greg knew the guy?  Anyway, there was an open space in the stand of trees between his house and his neighbor's that he seeded with grass.  Pretty sweet.

The hauling of gear from the street to the stage (there was an actual stage with power and a small PA) was grueling, but the gig itself was pretty cool.  Nice stage (the host owned a roofing company, so it was really solidly built).  Good sound, all things considered.  This time, knowing what to expect of the gig, I was better prepared and more comfortable.  I even had a couple of decent organ solos!  Playing keyboard on a gig like this is definitely more fun than playing saxophone.

They had a frozen margarita machine (I had two), and barbecue.  I would probably die from the food if we had regular gi…

On the Hill

Yacht Rock had a ticketed event on Memorial Day, a fundraiser at a Buckhead church.  We played this gig last year, too.  It's a too small tent over a too small stage in the church parking lot.  Last year it rained pretty hard, but we ended up getting through it.

This year we also had the same too small tent/too small stage combination, the same two hundred yards of extension cord to the nearest electrical outlet, and the same weather conditions.  We played five songs before the front left quadrant of the stage had standing water and the sky began to flash with lightning.  No good.  I'm glad I'd brought my tarp to put over my gear.  After consulting the radar (and singing Rain by The Beatles, Who'll Stop the Rain by CCR, and almost It's Raining Men), the gig officially ended.

It's unfortunate not only because we were unable to continue the performance, but also because this was the gig where the entire band moved over to in ear monitors.  We had a really long so…

Dave the Dipshit

I don't write about my church gig on Sunday nights anymore;  usually there's nothing worth writing about.  However, last night gave me a story to tell.

In the past six to nine months, the vocalists in the group have decided that they don't like the sound;  specifically, they don't like the way that I run the P.A.  Even though I'm listening to what it sounds like in the cathedral (I've been doing this gig now for fifteen years--I know what the room sounds like), and listening on headphones, the singers will complain about what they hear (there are no monitors, just singers with handheld microphones standing around the piano), or roll their eyes, or decide on their own that their microphones aren't working and will pass to each other the microphone with the gain turned highest (set for a weaker singer), at which point they will turn to me wanting like they're proving a point (I guess that would be if I set all the microphones right at the point where the…

A Casual Gig in Alpharetta

No Yacht Rock gigs this past weekend, but Mark Bencuya put together a gig for most of us at a friend's house--a birthday party and graduation party rolled into one.
Greg organized the tunes, and all of his picks looked great until we each realized we'd be learning somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty songs for the gig.  Ouch!  I'm guessing that Greg probably knew a lot of them, though, and Bencuya probably knew most of them.  Monkeyboy, Cobb, and I had a lot of charts to write!
I supplied the PA, so I got there kind of early.


It turned out to be a very casual evening, and we played very well considering that there was no rehearsal or communication about any of the songs (except for a little bit of "Which keyboard part do you want?").  We laughed a lot.  It was fun.

This was a party with local musicians in attendance, so several people sat in.  Heaven Davis sang a few with us (including the evening's finale, where we played a Pat Metheny-ish ve…

Searcy, Indy Jones, and Greg Lee

I played at Eddie's Attic last night on a few tunes with Greg Lee.

The opener was Peter Searcy (with Greg Lee).  Pretty cool, as Greg has told many, many Searcy stories, and I'd never heard him.  He and Greg have a great vocal blend, and Searcy's stuff has a lot of passion to it.

Next up was Indianapolis Jones, Nick and Mark Cobb's original project with Tim Smith (of Noel Gallagher's Highflying Birds) and Jason Nackers.  Outstanding!  Probably the best band in Atlanta right now, playing some of the best songs of this century.  They never fail to impress.

The Greg Lee Show rounded out the evening.  An excellent performance by everybody on stage (mostly Yacht Rock, plus Ben Holst on bass), though I really sucked bad on the piano part to Bencuya's Cartoon Butterfly, and played a gruesome wrong note in the first chorus of One Kind of Love.  I want to jump off a bridge;  then again, that's how I feel about pretty much everything right now.

Purple People

Saturday night was the annual Purple Rain show at the Legacy Fountain in Piedmont Park.  This year we added two partners in crime (from the Vegas Home Depot gig earlier this year):  Keisha Jackson and Slick Barnes.  They nailed it!  Their backing vocals added a lot to our efforts.

I think this was one of our best Purple Rain performances.  I felt really solid on everything (except for the beginning of Baby I'm a Star, where I'd managed to accidentally shift the keyboard up and octave and turn on the tremolo--I played half the verse staring at my keyboard---"What the hell is happening?").  Our only trouble was at the end of Baby I'm a Star.  I finished on time, but there were a couple of random notes sprinkled in among the rest of my bandmates!

The second set was all yacht rock stuff.  Really mediocre saxophone solos on this gig.  Booooo.

Other big news on this ear monitors!  I used my new IEMs for the first time on this gig (Mark Cobb used his as well).…

Hall of Architects

Yacht Rock played a Friday night gig at the College Football Hall of Fame downtown for a bunch of architects.  Nice place!

The crowd wasn't that into us in the first set, but the second set was a different story.  Alcohol, perhaps?  Whatever it was, it made for a pretty good gig.  The only highlight I can think of was Nick's super long harmonica solo on Heart of Rock and Roll.  Excellent.

Zoom Zoom

David Ellington and I played another event for Porsche last night--a repeat of Monday night's drinks and dinner gig.  Different crowd, same basic result, though we got several compliments and a few guys checking us out, so maybe they were listening after all.  This one ended about twenty minutes early, which felt about right.  Nice little gig!

Public Diahhrea

So...I did my first House Live gig in a long time.  In case you, loyal reader, don't remember, that's where there's a DJ playing "house" music, and a percussionist and yours truly play over the top of it.  We used to do a lot of this variety of gigs, and then the popularity faded and I got busy with other stuff.  It's a nice paycheck, but musically, it's bullshit.  I spend my time practicing over deep four on the floor beats, and watching the clock.

Wayne Viar was the percussionist on this gig (equally bored with the concept).  I worked on playing rhythm changes on alto, jazz articulation (lightly tonguing the offbeats) on flute, and generally trying to play fast lines on both instruments.  I also photobombed a couple of shots, but if you're going to pose in front of the band like you're at the zoo, I'm gonna be the animal.

Later in the evening, I think I recognized a local musician (well...jazz vocalist), and it made me regret everything I&#…

There Is No Substitute

How has this not been Porsche's entire advertising campaign for the last ten years?  I can't believe that this nugget of 80s nostalgia hasn't been mined.

David Ellington and I brought our duo to the Porsche headquarters down by the airport.  It's a beautiful place;  it looks (not surprisingly) like a modern European office building dropped on the southside of Atlanta.  We played a dinner/reception for a bunch of high end customers.  They talked a lot.  They listened not at all.  We were strictly background noise.  Easy gig, though.  Dave and I were both pretty fried from stuff earlier in the day--he from recording and me from a rehearsal.

Flying High

I took a night off from Yacht Rock Saturday night to play at the Shaky Knees Festival, performing in a local horn section with Rob Opitz (trumpet) and Richard Sherrington (trombone) backing Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.  Interesting gig!

For whatever reason, I was curious as to how different things would be from the gigs that I do.  Lots of familiarity--the same kinds of gear, microphones, amps, power strips, and cables across the stage.  I'm not sure why I thought there would be anything different--no bluetooth guitars or anything.  Just like all of my gigs, it's just regular gear on a stage that we play.

What was different was the crew--a handful of techs for the musicians who set up and tuned all the gear, plus sound guys (out front and monitors), tour manager, and probably a personal assistant in there.  All British guys, and each had a different British accent.  We had Richard (our Brit) translate.

The most difficult part of this evening's adventure was p…

Dave vs Dave

The Yacht Rock van left Jacksonville pretty early on Friday morning--as uncomfortable as it was (7:30 AM), it was good because I had to be home and then get out to Decatur for a duo gig with David Ellington.  
We tried another new odd meter tune on Ellington's suggestion, called And Then Some.  Five I can kind of feel;  this one was in seven, and I don't know what to do with it.  Right now I'm just guessing where the downbeats are.
Other than that, it was a good gig!  Slow in the restaurant, but we (as always) had a good time.  Have a listen.

Golf Lundgren

I've got a little backlog of blogging, so I'll be catching up in pieces...

Thursday:  Yacht Rock has played a party connected to the PGA tournament in Jacksonville the previous two years.  We weren't available for this year's party, so we were hired for an event there earlier in the weekend.  Same ride, same tent, same people.

Unfortunately, Jacksonville is kind of far away, and we had to load in pretty early in the afternoon, so we left Atlanta at 7 AM.  Boo.  Somewhere in south Georgia, our van began to vibrate more than usual and we were forced to purchase two new tires.  I woke up in the back seat to this.

Behind these tires I set free my morning coffee.

The tire stop cut into our lunch break, so we ate at Wendy's.  No surprise that I ordered what I always order.

We showed up around a half hour late for load in, but it didn't seem to make any difference.  Since the golf tournament was in progress, we really couldn't do any kind of soundcheck anyway.  I…