Gig Review: November 13, 2010

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Some gigs are just difficult to write about. There are but so many ways to say, “I came, I saw, I made sound over time.” Unless there is a radical change to the set, some form of commotion in the crowd, a mishap on stage, or guest musicians, many gigs are business as usual.

There was one significant change. For the first time in a long while, Ricky Blues did not play an entire set of Pink Floyd. It has been a little while since we just played two sets of classic rock, blues, and originals. Unless I’m mistaken, it has been at least a year. In a way, that was a sort of homecoming.

Gaetano’s Grill called us at the last minute to do this gig (not literally, but a week or so before). Last minute gigs can go a couple of ways. If you are preparing new material for every show and you don’t know the other band members too well, it can be a little shaky. On the other hand, if you know the other musicians very well, it can be great. Going back to older material was like slipping on comfortable clothing. It feels different, but nice.

Below are some pictures of the evening:


Gig Review: October 30, 2010

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This review has taken awhile for me to write. I’ve been trying to avoid the elephant in the room.

On Halloween Eve, Ricky Blues (under the name Surrogate Band) took the stage at Finnegan’s Grill in Thornwood, NY. A month prior to this performance, a young man was in an altercation with the police outside the bar, which ended with him being shot and killed by the officers. Though the incident did not involve any of the staff of the bar, nor did it occur inside the bar, their name has been associated with the unfortunate events. Call it collateral damage, call it whatever, it results in a cloud over the establishment.

Whether it relates to the aforementioned affair or not, it was a very strange gig. The people were nice, the owners and employees treated us well, but the response to our set was… odd. The audience applauded, they were attentive, and there was no excessive murmur during the songs. On the other hand, it felt like we were being watched by judges instead of a paying crowd.

Some people said, “Everyone was just really into what you guys were playing,” but it didn’t really feel that way. I don’t think they were uninterested or bored, but they definitely were not overcome with ecstasy. These are the kind of gigs you just have to chalk up to experience. It certainly was not bad, but I definitely did not get a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Aside from that, I thought we sounded excellent. Here are some pics:

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

Faith No More @ Williamsburg Waterfront July 2, 2010

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I long considered Faith No More a band that was ahead of their time, and thus they never achieved success commensurate with their abilities and influence during their initial run. I’ll even admit that my affection for them was not as great when their albums were new. I came to really enjoy them years later, well after their breakup.

Their openers consisted of Neil Hamburger and Rahzel. Neil Hamburger has a brand of comedy that may not appeal to everyone as much of his set involves him clearing his throat. Rahzel is fantastic for all, not just hip-hop fans. Hearing him on CD or over the net does not do him justice. He did a half-hour set of beatboxing. If I didn’t see it live, I would swear that he was overdubbing or looping parts. He was not. Fans of Tuvan throat singing should take notice.

Faith No More is primarily listed as a heavy metal band. They opened with Reunited by Peach & Herb. They also played Easy and I Started a Joke. It makes for an interesting live show of moshing and very awkward dancing by people who have obviously never danced before. They were spectacular. They were everything I was hoping for and they played all the popular songs (at least popular among their fans). They also played the mega hit that got them national exposure in the first place, Epic. They had plenty of energy and the sound was marvelous.

The show took place on the Williamsburg Waterfront. The backdrop is the Manhattan skyline. It is not a incredibly large venue, like Central Park, but there was a substantial crowd. Other concerts in the series also include Weezer, Damien Marley, and Primus.

Gig Review: June 25, 2010

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More power! MORE POWER!

It is incredible how much volume you need to sound decent in an open air venue, especially for the bass guitar. When I tuned up and started to warm up, Greg motioned for me to turn up. I stepped on the volume pedal. He motioned again. I increased the master volume on the amplifier. He motioned AGAIN! My eyes got wide. “Really?!?” He nodded in the affirmative. Wow. I could feel the bass rumbling the stage below my feet. It was so loud I could see the notes I was playing.

Nevertheless, the sound off the stage was right. (Check the video.)

This gig was about as perfect as an outdoor gig as possible. It was warm with an occasional cool breeze. Our backdrop was the water and the setting sun. Cue sunset. Start with Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Here are some pictures from the show:

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

When Enough Is Enough

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I eat out relatively often. The accommodations may run from fancy to dive, but there are a few things I will not tolerate: dirty conditions and/or poor service.

I try to be patient. If the restaurant is especially busy, I will allow waiters/waitresses some extra time. A small apology along the lines of “Sorry for the delay, we’re a little short-staffed today,” goes a long way. On the other hand, if no one comes by my table at all…

Sunday afternoon my girlfriend and I went to the Savin Rock Roasting Company in Stratford, CT. It was a new place for both of us. This restaurant is part of a small chain and has been at this location under a year. It’s a lovely location, alongside the water with indoor and outdoor seating. Entering the front, there is a small vestibule where a hostess greets you and asks if you would like indoor or outdoor seating. We chose indoor. We were seated near the grill area/waitress station and could see into the kitchen and watch the different dishes as they made their way to diners. The dishes looked good.

The menu had a nice mix of surf and turf. There was a nice selection of sandwiches and platters, good for lunch and dinner. We scanned the menu for a little while, discussed our selections and got ready to order.

…and got ready to order.
…and were ready to order.
…and were waiting to order.
…and desired a chance to order.
…and wondered whether we would be allowed to order.
…and greatly hoped to partake of the privilege of giving someone our order.

Perhaps we were doing something wrong. Our menus were down on the table, we had our napkins in our laps, signifying that we expected to have some sort of food. Our eyes were filled with hope each time a waitress would pass. We were next to their station. They passed us as they delivered other orders. They saw us as they stood by the cash register making idle conversation.

Was the place too busy? No. In fact there was more staff than there were filled tables. Am I easy to miss in a crowd? I don’t think so… and THERE WAS NO CROWD!

Was I being unreasonable? Am I expecting too much? I don’t think twenty minutes displays a lack of patience. Yes, I’m sure it was twenty minutes. I checked, and double checked. It was twenty minutes after we put our menus down.

Our patience was exhausted. We left.

I don’t complain with people that serve me food. I would hate to be the victim of someone’s revenge. I am passive aggressive. I flipped a quarter onto the table on the way out. I believe a tip of a single piece of silver is enough to say, “I was here and this small token is a way of saying your service sucks.”

How would you handle this situation?
Was my reaction warranted/appropriate?