Monday, June 26, 2017

North Carolina (x2) and Venkman's

A few more gigs this past weekend, wobbling along with some spare parts in place of our missing (stolen) gear.

Friday: Charlotte, NC. We've tried Charlotte a few times over the years, and it's been hit and miss. For the couple of successful gigs at the NC Music Factory outdoor loading dock gig  (including the one where the stage light caught fire), we've had a couple of rain outs and an ice storm. I didn't know what to expect for our show at the The Underground - Fillmore Charlotte.

Good news! We had a very successful show, and eight hundred people showed up (sellout is 830, so we just missed it!). Still--awesome news. Like Birmingham and Chattanooga, it's great that another close city (within a reasonable drive from Atlanta) has finally caught fire. I'm excited to see this.

pre-gig pizza party with The Great Bencuya

Saturday: Gig number two was a wedding reception in Asheville, and after late checkout, we had a rather pleasant van ride through the mountains. We were greeted with really nice weather and a easy load in.

beware of the giant chandelier!
We learned Rainbow Connection for the first dance. It took me a lot of practice in a short week to get the string part together.

This wedding was a very small event--I think there were maybe seventy-five guests, and once we started playing, people were in and out of the room the whole night, but maybe only about fifteen were dancing at any one time. The adjoining patio seemed to be more popular (and with the weather being so great, no one could blame them). The doors to outside were open, so I'm sure people we still enjoying the music, even if they weren't planted on the dance floor.

This one ended at 10 PM, and we were in our hotel rooms by midnight, which was very nice.

Sunday: We left Asheville at 9 AM, got back to Atlanta just after noon, divided gear, and went our separate ways, reconvening at 4 PM to set up for a Yacht Rock Unplugged gig at Venkman's. I think it went ok. I messed up five measures of Rainbow Connection, some of the Hey 19 (which I attempted on soprano sax), the big string solo thing in Sara Smile, the end of the sax solo on Only the Good Die Young, and some flute parts in Africa. Not my night, I guess. It was nice to play my nice flute and piccolo (as opposed to my "road" flute and picc that live with my Yacht Rock gear).

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Birmingham/North Dakota/Louisville

Some more crazy apologies for the fifty pictures of nothing in North Dakota.

Friday: Birmingham, Alabama at the Avondale Brewing Company. Pretty cool venue, though we were right on the cusp of it being too hot to play outside. If this spot had a side curtain to protect the gear from the afternoon sun, it would make a big difference. I wonder if I should put a tarp in a bag and leave it in the trailer for the rest of the summer.

I played ok on this one, though there were a few points where my mind started to wander off.

Here's the killer: after the gig, we loaded up the trailer and drove back to Atlanta, spending the night/taking a nap at an airport hotel. In bed around 3 AM and up around 6:30 AM. Time to fly.

Saturday: Look out North Dakota! A casino hired us for a Yacht Rock Revival style show, so the format was us plus Robbie Dupree, Matthew Wilder, Elliot Lurie, and Peter Beckett. Big travel day. We flew from Atlanta to Minneapolis, and then changed to a regional jet to fly from Minneapolis to Minot, North Dakota, and then took a ninety minute van ride to New Town, North Dakota, which is in the middle of nowhere.

Minot: oil rigs and a B-52 base.

We just beat a storm into town. Big sky and the open prairie made for some incredible views.

check out how straight this road is!

Our first indication that we were in for something to the show were tied to a monster truck rally happening behind the casino.

The casino itself was underwhelming, but the arena/convention center that we were in was kind of cool! Nice big stage, and good backline gear.

After soundcheck, we had some time to kill, so I went for a run on a path along the main road.

this is apparently up to code in North Dakota
 So...the gig was not so great. Not much of an audience for the opener!

...and not much of an audience for us!

This one was a bummer. I liked the room, the stage, the gear, the songs, and the guests, but it kind of felt like a TV shoot or something where you have to pretend that you're getting energy from the nonexistent audience.

Sunday: All day travel day, though I woke up early enough to squeeze in another run, so I headed in the other direction from yesterday's run. 

The van ride back to Minot. More nothing. Our driver had told us to watch for houses with fences around them, because they were probably missile silos.

This plane took us from North Dakota to Minnesota

Got to Minnesota. Ate lunch, used the bathroom. The Minneapolis airport is exceptionally nice--I think I rate it even higher than Indianapolis'.

Another flight delay...

this thing will take us home

so long Minneapolis!

hello Atlanta!
 The flight was about an hour late getting us home. I was in my garage just before 11:30 PM.

Monday: Right back to the airport! This time we were headed to Louisville, KY for a gig in Bardstown.

hello Louisville
This particular gig was connected to a summer concert series an outdoor amphitheater which serves as home of The Stephen Foster Story.

Nice venue, especially once the sun moved low enough in the sky that my gear was no longer in direct sunlight.

We ended up with a rather small, reserved audience of maybe a hundred and fifty people (which was strange because ticket sales were more than three hundred). They were cool, but we didn't get a ton of energy from them.
nice picture by Zach Wetzel
After the show, an older man from the audience waited til I came out of the dressing room and offered to buy my hat. I still can't figure out why he wanted it, but I gave it to him.

Tuesday: Flew home with these beauties from last night's green room.

 Upon landing in Atlanta, we learned that someone had broken into our trailer while it was parked at the hotel in Louisville. They got in through the side door of the trailer, and evidently only grabbed a few easy things before leaving--Pete's acoustic guitar, Mark Cobb's drum pad, the box with our in ear monitors, and my rack. Fortunately, we're insured, but my wireless microphones, MIDI to USB switcher, and keyboard mixer are gone, so we're dealing with that, plus the repair to the trailer. Looks like we lost this round of the game of gig.