Yacht Rock played two shows at Venkman's Saturday night. The first show was "unplugged," the room was emptied and filled with new humans, and then the second show commenced.
First show: the unplugged set was in the style of the MTV Unplugged series from the 90s, i.e. acoustic guitar heavy, drums and synthesizers light. Difficult, I would say because so much of the keyboard stuff has synths and electric pianos. We took our own approach, so I avoided using my top keyboard and the EWI. Bencuya used his Wurlitzer electric piano instead of his usual stuff. Mark Cobb was mostly down front on bongos and hand percussion.
It was definitely something different! With our overall volume being softer and the crowd being seated, the vibe was much more intimate. It was pretty cool. The only one that really concerned me was the solo on Africa, which I always play on EWI. For this show, I played it on flute, which because of the way I play it, felt like it was down a whole step and up an octave (I have the EWI set up like a Bb saxophone). It was a very intense moment of DON'T THINK ABOUT IT! JUST PLAY! I got through it, but I was not comfortable.
It was nice to play a few of these tunes that we don't play too often, such as Lotta Love, Thunder Island, and Right Down the Line.
Other than that...I was thinking about what I could do keyboard-wise in the future if we had more unplugged shows. Bencuya was joking that I could've brought my rhodes, but I don't know that that would be the right move--even on a normal gig, I don't play rhodes on any of these songs. I moved the string parts to organ, and I played the regular organ parts on several of those songs, so should I come up with an organ? We couldn't have fit a real Hammond organ on stage, and what would I do about the piano stuff? Acoustic piano was the other sound that I used on this show. To get both of those on stage would put me right back on a digital version like a Nord (which is what I was already playing). I don't know...maybe a Leslie speaker for the organ? I think I ended up talking myself into sticking with what I already have. The Leslie would be cool, though.
|photo by Kip Conner|
Second show: Venkman's kicked everybody out after the first show (except for the half dozen people who'd purchased tickets to both shows), and then allowed in the second show people. This one had sold out a week earlier...which is nice.
The dance show was closer to what we're used to doing, and the two sets were short enough that they went by very quickly. I can't remember anything particularly exciting about this show other than that. It was a relief to to play well in both shows. My performance anxiety is creeping back up these days.
|photo by Kip Conner|
Dig the poster: