Thursday, July 30, 2015

Space is the Place

Cool random gig:  Yacht Rock played at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.  We performed on a stage almost underneath a space shuttle.

I was really annoyed that my gear had to sit in the hot sun for several hours (beginning at load in and remaining there basically until the sun went down).  Bad luck on my part.

After soundcheck, we were able to tour some of the exhibits.  Here's one about camouflage.

And they had some helicopters.

Obviously, there were many, many rockets lined up as well, including a Saturn V.

Post tour, we had time to watch about half of the movie Space Camp.  Don't remember that one?  Don't worry about it.

Eventually, we played our gig--a two set night.  We had Dustin Cottrell (from the Yacht Rock Schooner) subbing for Bencuya.  Pretty easy gig, but nothing particularly noteworthy.

On the break, Pete and I talked to a lady who went on and on about how well we captured every song in the first set with the exception of Paul Simon's voice on Kodachrome.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people are so perfectly willing to give you a critique of your performance.

We closed with Rosanna, and Monkeyboy accidentally knocked my EWI during the synth solo.  He was horrified (thinking he'd knocked my teeth out or something), but there was no damage.  He was so upset that he cussed on the mic and got in trouble after the gig.  Oops.

fan photo courtesy of Randy Barber

This weekend, we're headed to Nashville (City Winery) on Friday and central Indiana (Mallow Run Winery) on Saturday.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Park Tavern

The Yacht Rock Revue was back at the Park Tavern for our monthly show there.  We ended up with a pretty full crowd, with a massive number of walk-ups, topping out around eight hundred people.  Not the sell out we'd had in June, but pretty close!

photo swiped from the Park Tavern Facebook page

So...we added a new tune--Kissing My Love--a less well known cut from the Bill Withers songbook.  I'm not sure that it fulfilled the crowd's need to hear songs that are already cemented in their brains, but it was fun to play, and we added a flute solo at the end that was a fun challenge (basically a sixteen bar blues in Eb).

The only other notable song for me was the disaster of Islands in the Stream.  The song begins in C and modulates to Ab.  Soon after we made the move to Ab, my brain and my ear engaged in a tug of war, with the former trying like hell to convince the latter that we were really in Db.  Needless to say, I made a supreme mess of the string part.

Pretty lame solo on Taking it to the Streets.  As I play harder, my fingers and articulation get worse.  Yuck.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dave and Dave Duo

David Ellington and I braved the heat of Atlanta to play our outdoor duo gig at JCT Kitchen and Bar last night on the west side.  Actually, it was pretty hazy/overcast, and though the weather threatened, it never materialized.  After 7 PM, it was cool and breezy enough that I was no longer sweating profusely.  Thank god we didn't have to move into the bar.

We had some light applause throughout the night and a few people thanked us for playing after the gig, in contrast to the staff, who collectively always does their best to vibe us.  If only jazz was an acceptable form of hipster music!

Usually when we go on break, they blast something that doesn't mesh well with what we're playing--the only stuff I recognized was stuff by the Black Keys and the Beastie Boys.  This month, I tried to keep things the same by playing our own break music, but JCT shut us down--the waitress came over to tell me that our break music (Dave Douglas' Be Still) was bothering "her guests."  In my mind she said we were "offending her guests," but Dave claims she said "disturbing."  I think that even if she did say the latter, she meant the former.

Here's a song from that album (former roommate Matt Mitchell on piano!)

Here's some music if you'd like to check out what we played.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On the Bar

The Yacht Rock guys were inducted into a hall of fame (of sorts) at Smith's Olde Bar Sunday night, nailing our names into the bar.  I guess it's some sort of legendary status for Atlanta--it certainly can't be for the single SoB gig we've played (Thanksgiving Eve a few years ago).  Do the Please Pleaserock Me (Beatles) gigs count?  Maybe so.  Anyway, it's still cool.  Mostly it was a nice hang on an off night.

The Amp

The Yacht Rock Revue played a nice weekend concert at "The AMP" in Carrollton, GA.  Nice venue, and a very nice gig!  

Mark Cobb showed up with a beautiful sounding Yamaha snare drum and a funky new spiral trash cymbal.  Way cool.

It was a good gig, and I played well for the most part.  Here are a couple of pictures, courtesy of Jim Ramsdell.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Last Friday afternoon, Yacht Rock was invited to perform on FishCenter Live, a live internet call-in show.  The show was kind of like a morning radio show with a four guys talking over videos and graphics on the screen. A lot of this kind of thing:

We provided some live music, some of it with vocals and some of it instrumental.  It was weird.

Currently, you can view some of our show here:  The highlight of the show was a game where callers tried to match up our heads with our bodies.  They got Greg's head correct.  5 points!

Monkey boy's head on my body

my head on Rencuya's body

a random face on Monkeyboy's body

so...Nick's head on Pete's body, Monkey's head on my body, a complete Cobb, Pete's head on Nick's body, my head on Rencuya's body, a complete Greg, and some guy's head on Monkey's body

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Northeast Tour

We put the band back together for a trip to the Northeast last weekend, with dates in New York, Washington DC, and Connecticut.  It was a great trip and some great gigs!

Thursday:  the four of us pictured flew from Atlanta to New York (JFK).  Pete flew in from Indianapolis, Mark Cobb flew in from Nantucket, Nick was already in New York visiting his sister, and Kip and Zach had driven the van and trailer up to meet us.  Ugh!  JFK!

We ate at a restaurant in JFK that had iPads at every table for ordering.  You could also surf the web.  It seems like it would be convenient, but it turned out to be pretty annoying (you can't ask questions or make substitutions easily).  Plus...the food was pretty crappy.  Also, the internet kept crashing.  Plus, JFK sucks.

Our first gig of the run was in Great Neck, NY.  After the van rescued us from JFK, we drove out to Long Island with time to spare.

The original plan was to play outside with the marina in the background--perfect for us--but the forecast had rain as a significant possibility, so they moved us inside to the high school auditorium.  Pretty nice room!  Built in 1926.  Beautiful.

Right out of the trailer, I notice that my keyboard stand had a broken weld, rendering it unfixable.  I did my best to get through the gig with a mile of gaff tape.

Notable alumni of this high school:  Francis Ford Coppola, Kenneth Cole, and Andy Kaufman.

Light attendance.  It got a little better, but the rain certainly didn't help.  I guess we were lucky that the room was very dark and we could barely see anybody in the seats.  It reminded me of those scenes in The Last Waltz where The Band is performing on a sound stage with no audience.

Our green room.

This gig was a good warm up to the rest of the weekend--it'd been several weeks since the seven of us shared the stage.

Friday:  a long day of driving from Long Island to Washington DC for the evening's gig at The Hamilton (one of our favorite venues).

We've had good luck in the past with stopping for food as soon as we hit Delaware, and this find was no exception.  Tex-Mex and Cajun food.  Yes!  I had a bowl of gumbo and then shrimp étouffée.

The Hamilton is a wonderful room!  The crew is great, the room sounds good, the room looks good, the audience is always fantastic, the food is great...all good. Plus, this run had Zach and Kip on sound, so no problems at all on that end.  Our crew is awesome.

The gig sold out right around the time that we hit Washington D.C., and we were informed after the show that our gig had set the record for food and drink sales.  I guess that means we'll definitely be back!

My keyboard stand made it through one more gig without giving way.  I started thinking about this kid during the show:

However, at the end of the night, the wireless transmitter on my tenor went on strike, so to speak.  When I picked up the horn to play Born to Run, it said it had dead batteries (red light).  I grabbed the batteries from my alto pack--still dead it said.  I grabbed from my spare batteries in the back of my rack--still dead.  What the hell?  So I played through my vocal mic (and Kip was on it immediately).  After the gig, still dead, still dead, still dead, and then ten minutes later, it magically came back on (green light).  No logical explanation.  Maybe the White House blocked my signal or something.

Saturday:  another big drive back to New York--this time for the evening's gig in Manhattan.  We made it early enough to park (found a spot next to Gramercy Park) and go eat.

Photo shoot next to the van.  Nice shoes.  Both of you.

Instead of eating, Kip, Zach, and I went to Guitar Center for a keyboard stand (Kip bought some cheap adapters while we were there).  They didn't have the keyboard stand I wanted--they had the same crappy one I've had--twice--and both have eventually died.  I wasn't really excited about a third one, but it was all that was available.

After ten minutes of waiting, the dude still hadn't brought it out, so I walked out of the store.  We still had an hour before load in, so I decided to hoof it twenty blocks north to Sam Ash to try my luck there.  They DID have the keyboard stand I wanted (hah!  Suck it Guitar Center!).  The only tricky part was carrying the giant box back.  After some quick iPhone research, I figured out that if I could get a couple of avenues over, I could grab the N,Q,R at 33rd and 6th and ride the subway back down to Union Square, saving myself twenty blocks unnecessary pain.

We set up, sound problems.  The stage at Irving Plaza seems like it should be bigger.  I guess because it will hold more people (1,100, as opposed to our other usual spot--Gramercy Theatre--which holds 650), I think the stage would reflect that, but they're about the same.  It's not too tight, but I'd be disappointed if it were any smaller.  We had just over 650 in attendance--full without being packed.

It also has a small band bathroom.  You can brush your teeth while sitting down, though.

Anyway, the gig was electric!  New York is always a great crowd.  My new keyboard stand worked great, my wireless packs worked great, my in ears sounded great...great gig.  I wanted to high five everybody in the room.

And New York liked us back.  This was on the driver's side window when we came out to the van.

We spent the night in White Plains, just north of the city.

Sunday:  a short drive awaited us, so we went out to lunch before the gig.  Coming out of a gas station, the trailer took a hit.  Oops. to Connecticut to the Ridgefield Playhouse.  Another beautiful room.

We've never played a public gig in Connecticut, so the crowd was small in numbers, but they got into it.  There were a few handfuls of people who did know who we were, and you could see their captain's hats dancing in the seats.

When we got back to the White Plains, we noticed that the trailer tire was smoking.  Uh oh.  The hub had come off one of the axles and the bearings burned.  Not good!

Kip and Zach had the unfortunate task of dealing with that.  They made it back to Atlanta by Tuesday night.

Monday:  We flew home on a small, bouncy jet.  Clowns to the left of me...

Jokers to the right.

Our next gig is this coming Saturday, July 18, at the Carrolton Amphitheater ("The Amp at Adamson Square").  FREE SHOW!!!!