The Heat is On

Summer is definitely here.  Yacht Rock played two indoor shows and one outdoor show last weekend, and all three were approximately the same temperature.

First up:  keyboard stand crap.

The Great Bencuya and I are still looking around for a better keyboard stand.  While we like the model we've currently got (the Quik Lok 642), neither of us is completely sold on its sturdiness.  The "eyebolt solution" (you can read about that here) for the knobs seems to be acceptable at the moment, but I still worry about it them every time we begin setting up gear.  I mean EVERY TIME.  So, we (I) are investigating other options before these fall apart.

This week's contender:  the On Stage Stands Two Tiered Z Stand.

Pretty cool.  Definitely more robust, and the knobs all turn (all fifteen of them).  You can certainly customize the width of the stand and the heigh and angle of the top keyboard.

My first big problem with this sucker:  the stand height.  It's either going to be around four and a half inches lower than what I'm used to...

...or around three inches higher than what I'm used to, meaning I would have to sit really low, or really high.  If it's really low, your knees also bang into the cross pieces.

Why this thing sucks, exhibit B:  want to break it down and get it off the stage?  Your options are to completely disassemble it...

Or leave it in two large, awkward pieces.  I read online that some dudes say, "Well, it takes a little more time, but it's totally worth it because the stand is rock solid."  I'm not so sure I agree.  I like the idea that the thing gets small enough that you could put it in some sort of case for transporting, but it took me almost five minutes to build the thing.  I can get the X stand that we currently use in position in under a minute.

It's cool, but I think it's a stand that stays set up in your studio or a steady gig on a TV show or something, or you have a roadie.  Perhaps he is barefoot.

More shit I read on the internet about this stand:  if you drill more holes in the vertical parts of the Z, you can have any height your keyboard heart desires.  Sooooo...I drilled, bringing the bottom keyboard to the same height as the not-so-beloved X stand.  Hmmm.

Even after all that, I'm still not convinced that's the way to go.  I still bang my knees on the cross braces, transporting it seems like a pain, and if we used backline gear and asked for this stand, would I also have to request a drill so I could get it to a comfortable position?  I think the search shall continue.  There's a Quik Lok 742 (which we used and liked in our recent visit to Iowa) headed my way via Amazon.

On to the gigs!

Saturday:  a wedding for some Yacht Rock fans at Paris on Ponce.  There was a time when I liked Paris on Ponce, but that time has ended.  There's no parking, the load in terrible (though we no longer have to push our gear through the maze that is the antique store to get to the room), the place is dark, and there's no where to change.  The signs in the bathroom are funny, though!  Maybe I'm just bitching because it took me over an hour to get there (a 35 minute trip normally).

We got an emergency text from Nick saying he forgot that we had to play Sailing by Christopher Cross.  Something about that string intro scares the shit out of me...probably because of the one time at Variety Playhouse when it was next on the setlist and my mind when blank.

To make matters worse than I've just described, the air conditioning was out, making our night in polyester pretty uncomfortable.  All of the attendees were really laid back, though.  It made for a really relaxed gig.

I had a particularly good night on the saxophones.  Some above average soloing, if I do say so myself.

Sunday:  to the Florida Panhandle!

Here's our new van (pulling our old trailer), parked for lunch in Eufaula, Alabama.  I went to a Subway in a Wal Mart.

More driving.  The van design has not changed on the interior.  I did my best to sleep the whole way there.  Big thanks to Zach for driving the whole way there and the whole way back.

Tonight's gig was at a brewery in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.  It appeared that they have concerts there all the time.  Not a bad set up--the stage was a good size.  Even though we were indoors, we were in a warehouse with all of the beer making stuff, and I don't think it was air conditioned.  More sweating.

Good news, though!  The Cajun Meat truck was outside providing the food for the evening.  I had 16 oz of jambalaya.

Followed by 16 oz of red beans and rice.  Both were very good.  I probably could have forced myself to eat another 16 oz of something.

Check out the pretty lights:

This gig sold out!  I didn't know it was a possibility, but 400+ showed up.  Nice gig, though my sax solos were pretty lame.  There were some Atlanta musicians sprinkled into the crowd, and I tried too hard to play something cool.  No dice tonight.

Monday:  after a night's sleep, we headed back to Atlanta for our final gig of this run.

The van, this time parked in Columbus, GA, while we ate lunch.  I had a sub from Publix.

Pete bought a box of ice cream sandwiches before we got back on the road.  We had to eat all twelve before they melted.  I ate three.

Other than that...just a boring ride in the van up I-85.

Today's show was at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead.  This is at least the third year we've played this gig.  The past two years have been rained out.  This year, Kip convinced them to spend the money to upgrade the stage and the power supply.  The stage was nice (one of those semi trailers that opens up into a stage with a roof and a back).  The power supply was another matter--the breakers were not installed in the breaker box.  Once again, thank god we had Kip, who either 1. knew how to install the breakers, or 2. was brave enough to figure it out.

Everything worked fine.

My clip on fan tucked between my keyboards was my best friend at all three of this weekend's gigs.

Nice stage!

No rain this year!  We made it all the way to the end.  The crowd was pretty reserved for most of the show (it was at a church, after all), but they finally got into it by the end.  It turned out to be a pretty evening, too, once the sun went down.

Super mindfuck of the evening:  the C# pad on my tenor got stuck, unbeknownst to me.  I'd already played solos on a couple of songs, but never sat on a C#.  When we started Maneater, the pad was still glued to the tone hole, which pulled the pitch down about a quarter step.  I played the first note of the opening solo, and it felt really bad (a quarter step flat!), but then the other notes were all in tune.  So...maybe I just imagined that I was out of tune?   I went back to the C# for the next phrase, and it was bad.  My ear/brain couldn't decide if I was out of tune or not.  It was really uncomfortable!  A quick flick during the verse and I was back to normal.

After it was all over, we loaded the trailer again.  We head out again Wednesday.

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