Adventures in band gigs, last night edition
Last night we played at a place called “The Hall Of Fame” for a big party for a bunch of photographers. Since they all work on the weekends doing weddings and such, they have their annual party on a tuesday (we’ve played it for several years now). I really love playing this place because it’s big, and has a great built in sound system meaning everything sounds huge and good, and we don’t have to bring our own system. It also has a band dressing room with couches, and it’s own bathroom with a shower (not that I’d ever use it since it’s kind of icky)!
I’ve got a new toy by Line 6 called the Pod XT. This little unit simulates 32 guitar amps, tons of speaker cabinets, microphones on the speaker cabinets, and has tons of built in effects. So between my Variax and the Pod XT I now have a room full of guitars and amps in one tiny compact little setup.
Since the Pod emulates all parts of the guitar amp chain, you get the best results running through a “full range” system like a P.A., or a keyboard amp, so I ordered a supposedly great keyboard amp which should be in next week. Our keyboard player had also ordered one because his old one is kinda flaky, and these new ones were a real good deal. He offered to let me use his new amp until mine comes in since it doesn’t really make as much difference to him as it does for my guitar stuff, and he still had his old amp to use.
We get to soundcheck and I set my stuff up through his new amp, and it sounds awesome. I can’t wait to get mine now. Jess and I left to get some food and such and when we returned before the gig the sound guy said “your amp was making really weird noises so we turned it off”. I go to investigate, and sure enough every time I turn it on it makes very weird noises and kinda smells funny. Eventually the weird noises stop, but at that point all I can get out of it is a weak distorted sound that obviously indicates the amp is dead. It’s getting shipped off for a replacement today. Luckily I just plugged my Pod into the P.A. system and had it turned up in my monitor so I could hear it on stage.
The first set was really rough. Everyone was making little mistakes here and there, even me which is highly unusual. 😉 There was one point when Angonia called out a certain country song to do, and I proceeded to start a completely different song much to the surprise of all the band. My excuse was that all those country songs sound alike, and both were about drinkin’.
The rest of the night went pretty well with the exception of some obnoxious and annoying people, Angonia old keyboard amp going back to it’s flaky ways, and our drummer breaking one of his cymbals and hurting his arm on the way back from the bathroom. He had to pee really badly so he ran to the bathroom between songs, and on the way back he ran into this big metal piece of electrical machinery in the hall. It tore the sleeve of his shirt, so during our break he just ripped the sleeves off and made it a sleeveless shirt.
An amusing anecdote about one of the annoying people:
these two girls came to the stage and started asking if we knew all these songs. It went something like this…
girl: Do you know “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger?
us: No, we sure don’t.
girl: (indignant look) What? If you don’t know that song , you guys suck!
rest of band (who are drooling over themselves at the pretty girl even though they are all married, and apparently think that playing this song will somehow instigate some fantasy sequence where the pretty girl goes to the dressing room and pleasures them): Well we could probably do it!
me (knowing full well that we could do it, and in fact have done it before, but not wanting to do it because it’s an overplayed clich� and apparently being the only one not under this siren’s spell since I don’t care if she’s pretty or not, she’s a bitch): [dirty look at band] No, we can’t!
girl: What about “The Cotton-Eyed Joe?”
us (normally we just play a recording of this during our break to save us the agony): No. We don’t have a fiddle player.
me (as girl, again, looks disgusted with us): but we know this…
I then launch into our next song to end this little exchange of obnoxiousness.
Ah, my glamorous rock star life. Then there was the guy who wanted to sit and play drums with us.
I’ll end with two important pointers:
1) it’s OK to ask if we know a song or 2, but don’t cop an attitude, and don’t sit there for 5 minutes listing through 20 songs that you want us to play. While we have a very extensive set list that could probably fill 6-8 hours if we played every song we knew (and more if we played all the songs we could even fake), that leaves approximately 9,876,678,155,984,278 hours worth of music that we don’t know.
2) Don’t ask to play or sing with the band. This isn’t karaoke.