Been a while since I posted, I know, but I’ve been busy on so many fronts that I just couldn’t provide updates. Never mind, I’m here right now!
I had the great pleasure of playing last night in my lead guitar gig with Anne Castellano & The Smoke. We were playing at Strange Brew in Norwich, CT – a first visit for the band, and my first time at the venue. We were providing support for Ohio act, The Saturday Giant, who’s in the middle of a 39 date tour.
A few reflections and thoughts on the night.
For the first time in 36 years of playing live, I had a tube fritz out on me, killing the clean channel of my amp – didn’t have a spare tube, but wouldn’t have been able to replace it anyway (not quickly at least). Played the whole set through the dirty channel and rejigged all my pedals to make things work – got compliments, so it seemed to hit the spot
[a relief, for sure]
As ever, music has the power to help me overcome whatever angst this compromised set-up was giving me, and we played a tight set
[a tip for any up and coming musician – practice way, way more than you gig – the gigs will be much better for it]
The Saturday Giant is a loop-based one-man band, creating his loops live; quite complex sonic architectures. I use loops to practice improvisation
[so much better than a metronome]
I’ve never incorporated them into my live shows, because I’m still a little too song-based
[verse, chorus, middle 8, solo, etc.]
and prefer to focus on playing/singing rather than tap-dancing on all the pedals to control multiple parts.
With that said, The Saturday Giant is very, VERY good at what he does – at times his sonics touch upon Sigur Ros, etc. though with more of a hip-hop beat going on underneath. And several of us agreed that his version of The Pixies Where Is My Mind was one of the better we’d heard. Definitely worth checking out if you get chance to see him.
This morning, Jane asked me how the night went, and I was telling her all of the above. As we were talking, I realized that I wasn’t complaining about the venue at all. Typically, there’s some aspect of the venue that creates angst/leaves a bad impression – be it mic stands that don’t stay up
[oh, that one really, really annoys me]
monitoring that sounds like cloth over the speakers, sound men
[not meaning to be gender specific, but I’ve yet to meet a sound woman]
not listening/reacting to what’s happening on stage, playing in spaces not designed for a solo performer let alone a band. Either that, or the audience
[or lack thereof]
not being supportive of the music. I have to say it, Strange Brew is a GREAT venue to play. Jason was friendly and collaborative in setting up sound, the audience were listening and with us in the performance. In another place
[and sadly, I fear, another time – that has passed us by]
Strange Brew would be filled to the rafters. On a Thursday evening in downtown Norwich CT, it still had a reasonable crowd when we played, though it thinned out a little for The Saturday Giant – a pity, people missed a great performance. Hats off to Strange Brew, though – I look forward to visiting again, as a player and listener.
So, another night of music, of togetherness, of humanity. Live music is a power for good in our lives, thank you for supporting it in whatever way you can.