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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Gig Review: October 17, 2009

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The Field in Bridgeport, CT did a few things that made me really enjoy playing. First, they provided food and beverage, which a number of places do, but it is always nice to get as a working musician.

Second, they had a dedicated stage area. It was a set of risers that rose about six inches from the ground, but that little half-foot makes a huge difference. There is something about a stage that draws people away from the television set and into the music scene. As a musician, it is nice to “rise to the occasion”, corny as it may sound, it makes a little mental difference.

Finally, due to Connecticut state laws, they had a definitive closing time. The stage was set up in the dining area after dinner hours and once the dining tables were cleared away. This ensured a hard start time (not, “Hey, start whenever…”) and a final call, closing the bar time. This meant the gig did not continue until the last person left, or until we ran out of songs. Once final call was made, the final song was played. I enjoy an all-night jam as much as the next guy, but I prefer it to be an exception instead of the rule.

On this particular gig, I was playing my part as first-alternate with Moonspank. On the few gigs I’ve done with them in the past, it was a one set affair. This time, I played a full two sets. It was really great.

Most groups I work with employ a guitarist/singer. While Dave does play a few songs on guitar, he is primarily a singer/frontman. It makes a huge difference in the way the audience is engaged. Aside from the freedom to walk into the crowd with a microphone, Dave is able to provide personal contact with audience members. Unencumbered by an instrument, he does not have to worry about navigating through a throng or accidentally bumping someone with his headstock. Though other singers I work with are able to overcome this inconvenience to a degree, there is a big difference when someone just has a microphone. On the few occasions when I have had to take the microphone without an instrument, I’ve felt naked. There is very little between me and the audience, making me feel all the more vulnerable.

The show went very well. Todd was able to run sound and provide lighting. Alex Violette played the soprano sax. John the Elder joined on guitar for a few tunes. Dino was on keys and guitar. The rest of the Spank boys, Greg, Dave, and Anthony, were excellent, as always.

Here are few pictures from the show:

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