Gig Review: November 25, 2009

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Another Thanksgiving Eve, so another Ricky Blues gig at the Mediterranean Taverna. As a special addition, Rick Donato was back in town on break from his Chorus Line gig to join us on the drums. Also on the drums was Glen Sacchi. Unlike many recent Ricky Blues shows, we were without keyboards and horns. It was different.

Instead of doing an entire Pink Floyd second set, we shortened it to the material that would work without horn and keys. There were more jams than usual, and we pulled some songs from the bin that we haven’t played in quite a while.

Playing songs that are not a part of the regular repertoire is always interesting. While there is a level of familiarity with the piece, since it is not in the recent muscle memory, if feels new. Throw in musicians you have not played with in a while and it becomes even more interesting. It the musical equivalent of walking a tightrope that is not very high of the ground.

One lame part of the night: Someone hit my car and left a very large dent in the driver’s side rear. No note, no number, no nothing. Weak. Since I’ve played there a million times before I probably know who did it, as the crowd there is regular. Not that I know who the person is, but they’re probably a familiar face. The sad part is, I would not have been upset. I would have said, “No worries.” My vehicle is over twelve years old with plenty of bumps and bruises and is on its way to the junk yard in the sky, but the fact that someone would hit me with no regard is lame.

Here are some pictures from the show:

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Béla Fleck and the Flecktones @ Tiles Center: November 22, 2009

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I wonder how many fusion fans are not musicians. It’s very rare that I’ll get into a non-musicians car and hear Return to Forever. Nevertheless, even non-fusion fans can appreciate the sheer virtuosity of certain groups and musicians.

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones are described as a cross between bluegrass and funk. Each of the musicians have been lauded in numerous circles for their innovative playing and composing.

This particular show was at the Tiles Center on the Long Island University campus. It’s a big ass concert hall, around the size of Alice Tully. I was in the fourth row so I could see all the little twists and turns that each musician made throughout the show. They are currently touring with their original lineup: banjo, bass, drumitar, piano, and harmonica. (Last time I saw them it was sax and clarinet instead of keys and harmonica.)

What the hell is a drumitar? Read for yourself.

The song of the night was undoubtedly Sinister Minister.

Definitely check out the Flecktones if you can. Even if you never purchase an album, see the live at least once. It’s a wonderful show.

Additional Links:

Victor Wooten’s website
Futureman’s website
Béla Fleck’s website
Howard Levy’s website

Gig Review: November 21, 2009

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Every bar has that guy. You know the one. He’s had  a few too many. He’s enjoying himself a little too much. He’s singing a little louder than everyone else. His inhibitions are all but obliterated. Oh yeah, he’s that guy.

I have nothing against that guy. Sure, he’s had a little too much to drink, and he’s cutting a little too loose, but he’s not hurting anyone, so I really don’t care. I can even find that guy to be amusing. You can get him to do things that no sober person would ever do. If there is nothing interesting on the television, you need to amuse yourself in some form or another. Why not dare that guy to chat up some ladies.

However, when I’m playing, and that guy is calling out requests, grabbing the microphone and imploring you to play his favorite song, I really want to smack the crap out of that guy. A big downside to that guy, is that he cannot take a hint. When I jokingly say, “Security, could you please help this gentleman out,” and there is no security in the bar, I’m obviously joking, and that guy gets testy about my comments… we’ll just say that it does not engender good feelings between that guy and myself.

Thankfully, that guy did not arrive until midway through our final set. An entire evening of that guy would have been too much for me to cope with, and an altercation would probably have ensued.

Other than that guy, I think that this was Sick Logic’s best gig to date. The new material went over very well, we sounded very balanced and comfortable with all our songs, and there we no mishaps or problems. Though Mr. Viggs is a very tight room, we were able to move about comfortably.

There are no pictures of that guy in this set, so as to protect the guilty.

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Gig Review: October 31, 2009

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Playing in pain stinks.

Once again, I had injured my back. The muscles below the left shoulder blade were killing me, and I was especially careful, because this was similar to the beginning pains of my last hospital visit. I played piano in the morning for a ballet class, then went home and directly to bed. As I learned in my last ordeal, this was not something I could stretch out, so I decided on an elaborate plan of action. DON’T MOVE!

I had barely slept the night before due to discomfort, so staying in bed was not difficult. The trick was staying still, in perfect orthopedic position, neck and back properly supported, and weight evenly distributed. Unlike many people, I don’t keep a television in my bedroom, so it was radio and magazines until call time.

I still had one daunting hurdle to jump: carrying equipment. This was very scary. Large heavy speakers and an evening ahead with a bass slung over the injured shoulder. I was starting to sweat. What to do? Answer: It’s the small rig for me tonight.

Ask any bassist about choice of speaker, and you’re likely to get a long dissertation on the subject.
Fifteens push more air for more lows.
I like tens for a tight, focused sound.
Twelves provide the proper balance of lows and punch.
I would never use fifteens, they’re just not efficient.
I would never have a horn in any of my cabinets.

Blah, blah, blah.

There are good points and bad points, depending on what sound you want to achieve. Truthfully, I have a large speaker and a small. I bought the small one so that the other musicians on musical theater gigs would not be intimidated. The small one works well, but is just different from the large. This gig, the small was chosen for its weight.

I was lucky. Lying still proved the perfect remedy. Though I was tender for the duration of the gig, I was not in pain.

Many folks were in costume, as per the tradition of All Hallows Eve. Greg and Ricky got into the act with Batman and Wolfman masks, respectively. Dino donned a frightfully accurate costume of Ali G (Respect), and I was the bass player that grinned through the aches.

Here are some photos:

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Gig Review: October 23, 2009

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Johnny’s had us back again, and we happy to play. Joining us on saxophone was Casey Howard. As always, it was a pleasure to play with the Ricky Blues Band.

Here are some photos from the show:

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