Apr 20, 2008

Café Coda, April 19

Our show was just excellent. After setting up and rewiring the stage monitors to work with my mixer, I stayed to engineer the sound for the opening act, Marquesa Versola, who has a clear, beautiful voice like Patty Griffin. The crowd grew as we set up for our turn. In attendance were my mom and dad, Heather, Bess and Olivia, aunt Susan and cousin Anna, friends Kiel and Yvonne, Ben, and Garry—thanks for coming, people!

We played 20 songs in just under two hours, and the audience kept us floating with generous applause, many of them singing along with Mike's songs. Mike introduced me as the new guy, and I got a lot of support when the fans saw that I could walk the walk AND that I was having fun doing it. In turn, I introduced my family, mentioned that my folks are going to move to Chico this year (garnering a big cheer) and played "Happy Birthday to You" for Dad's 65th.

After the show, I was surprised at the reactions of my family and friends. They were effusive. I'll have to ask them to post their comments here, but in sum, it seemed like they had not expected to enjoy themselves as much as they did. I knew Mike's songs were good and that we presented them professionally, but I was very gratified to hear their excitement.

It was a great night, and I can't wait for May 2, when the full band will rock LaSalles!

Below, an excerpt from "Another Side," shot by Heather with her Canon PowerShot camera. (L-R: Brandon, Mike, Aaron)

Apr 17, 2008

Getting ready

Two days left to practice for the Café Coda gig. I'm 95% there. Sheer repetition is all that's needed. This gig is a little unnerving because we're playing without aid of drums and bass, and the audience will be able to hear every detail. When in doubt, add reverb. Reverb is to musicians what pancake is to models—a little covers the blemishes nicely without being obvious; too much makes you look like a clown.

Apr 14, 2008

Twitcher's Lullaby

Earlier this year Twitcher, our very good pygmy bunny, died. An acoustic guitar theme that had been in my head for a year or two made a perfect requiem, and I recorded it as Twitcher's Lullaby (embedded above). Along with acoustic and electric guitars, this track features ethereal chimes made from the steel rods found in office printers and scanners, recorded with echo and then reversed.

Apr 7, 2008

First Gig: G Street Pub

Our "warm up" gig went well...especially considering the circumstances:

  • Mike got a head cold a couple of days ago, and his voice was pretty restricted
  • We played with a substitute bass player, Ryan, who hadn't played with Mike for 9 months
  • We hit the stage at 11:30 on a Sunday night
  • And...oh yeah...it was my first time playing these songs live!

Despite the late hour, the Pub was full of happy college kids. Mike does a great job of talking to the audience between songs and getting the audience involved. And the songs are short and sweet, which is a plus. We only played eight or ten songs, and played them nice and loud so no one could hear my mistakes. ;)

My custom fit earplugs were wonderful! I could easily hear myself sing, even though the stage sound was crazy (no time to sound check). My POD X3 sounded great running direct to the house PA. And we had fun and smiled at each other a lot.

Got back home at 3am. Fun and exhausting!

Uh, oh. I think I broke the dress code by wearing a non-black shirt...

Apr 3, 2008


I am practicing now! Tomorrow, too. And the next day...

Apr 1, 2008

Crunch Time

Remember finals week at college? Cramming your brain so you could perform well on the tests? Well, not many of the tests had to be taken with you standing in front of an audience, playing an instrument, singing, and trying to remember two dozen new songs...

Mike booked us a warm-up gig at the G Street Pub in Davis on Sunday, April 6, at really-freaking-late o'clock. Let's call it early April 7. At this point, I have about half of the 25 songs in the play list memorized, and five days to nail the rest. Should be very...interesting...

I'll be playing with Mike's current set of musicians, except for my counterpart. Chris Holmes, the band member I'm replacing filling-in-for [I'm trying to be sensitive!] made me a video of all the songs so I could see what he's doing. Very helpful! Especially in a band with two guitars! Wish I had this weeks ago. Here is an excerpt:

So if you can get to Davis late Sunday night...and you have no job on Monday morning...come see if I can pass my test.

We couldn't all be cowboys
So some of us are clowns
Some of us are dancers on the midway
We roam from town to town
I hope that everybody can find a little flame
Me, I say my prayers, then I just light myself on fire
And I walk out on the wire once again
      &ndash Counting Crows