Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Long Long Saturday

Saturday was a good one but a weird one. I started the day off getting to Cody's house with not enough sleep. The RV we usually take on road trips had destroyed its starter so we jumped in a few trucks and headed to the San Angelo Rodeo. We got to the rodeo and unpacked our gear and watched the band lined up before us play. I should have known this was the precursor to my entire day. The band was a "Chicago style" big band. The lead singer was playing the keys. There was a bassist and a drummer, but there was also a full horn section. One man was playing the sax, another playing the trombone, and another playing clarinet as well as the trumpet. If I were in let's say, an elevator or a wedding, I would have understood why these guys were playing ahead of us. Don't Get me wrong I really do love the full sound that a band with that depth has, but it was more so the song choice as well as the way they put the show on that really threw me off. They played such hits as "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond and "I Ain't Got Nobody" by originally the Mills Brothers but more memorably rerecorded by David Lee Roth. It was just weird. It didn't fit my premonition of what this show was going to be like. I stood outside of the big front opening of our venue as people walked by the sound going to and from the carnival midway. I watched as old people hopped along to their favorite oldies and a few even trickled into the show to see the band. I just knew the second we started playing they would be turning right back around out the door. In a nutshell that's exactly what happened. There were some great people there as well, who knew who we were and were really excited to see us play. While playing I focused on those tables that were actually watching us, and had a great time running though our set list to those people who were interested in what we sounded like this time around. I was just really entertained by the way everything looked before we got on stage. We had a good show for two in the afternoon at a rodeo stage following an old timey big band with broken on stage monitors, and I was proud of that. (the mix on the monitors was the main's mix which was really weird to play to, but kind of cool to see where I sat in the sound of our band)

If you're looking down at the post before this one, regarding the lineup of the rodeo to see who opened up before us, it wasn't the band on the list. I know the band's name who played before us, but I'd rather not write it down because they were nice guys but just not what I was in the mood to hear or play after that afternoon. Apparently a few bands had to cancel for one reason or another so a lot of the lineup was shuffled around. I found out that we were actually originally slated to close the line up for the Saturday after, but couldn't do it because of scheduling conflicts.

We packed back up and headed back to Midland finally awake and full of fair food. We got to The Hog Pit and unpacked again for our second show of the day. After some time Micky and The Motorcars as well as Jeremiah Houston had sound checked. It was running late so we decided to let Jeremiah Houston go ahead and open, strike their gear, and then we would do a quick on stage monitor check and play. Jeremiah Houston put on a great show and then it was our turn. We jumped on stage, checked in our monitors, and went right into a great set. Apparently having a show before hand really gets you well practiced for your following same day gig. We had good energy, the crowd response was great, and people were having a great time dancing and cheering. I felt really on compared to the show we had earlier. My harp's reeds were much warmer inside than in our open breeze barn from earlier and the notes were coming smoothly instead of an awkward fight.

Just about half way through our second to last song my D harp started feeling and sounding a bit off. That was bad news since the last song, our newest and my most expressive song for me at least, was also played with my D harp. I kept noticing right when i played over my sweet spot note in the center draw of my harp it had a funny click to it that you could feel and the note warped a bit. Of course all this thinking is in a nano-second while I'm playing, watching the crowd, listening to the music, and having a good time on stage. I dismissed it and finished that song with a change up form my usual solo that i felt went well enough. Our last song started called "yesterday" I really can't wait until it's on an album because it's a blast to play. It's an up tempo blues song that give me a ton of room for solos as well as room to play in the high end of my harp kind of like Blue's traveler style which I have been working on a lot lately. So the song plays and we are all grooving along, and it gets to the introduction of the band. Cody gets to my name and I hear a few people cheer and I get amped up for a good little harp ditty to say hi. I draw in I jump up and down the scale and then all of a sudden the center of my harp goes mute. I tried jumping around the two notes that have gone completely sour, but realize how much I used them for trills and fast hole work. So I end my introduction of the band solo with a hobbling low end trill and wave to the crowd. Cody goes through all the intros and we get back into the song. My solo part comes back up and I jump back into it trying to get around the man hole of a mute spot in my harp. I give up and try to force, what I thought was just a blockage in the reed, out in the middle of my solo by finding the note that wasn't playing and trying to suck really really hard for an instant of time in the song. I pulled it in and all of a sudden something is stabbing me in the throat. I had inhaled the reed from my harp. I spit and sputtered in the middle of my solo and hacked out into my hand a shiny tiny brass rectangle that had tried to wiggle down my throat. I heard in the back some girl say, "ewwww" and I went back into playing. the song ended we got off stage and we were done for the day finally. Micky and The Motorcars went up and rocked the house and the rest of my night was awesome. My girlfriend showed up and loved our set and we had a great time watching Micky's show and dancing.

I guess the best piece of advice I can give from this story is, don't play after full voodoo giving horn section bands in a cold shaded open air place that only attract elderly people who sneer at your rock music style when it's your turn and walk back to the carney rides while your harp reeds get hypothermia, if you intend on going to a rocking gig later with central air unless you want your harp reed to go into seizures and snap off in the middle of a song and try to kill you by stabbing your throat and trying to wiggle down into your belly.

Just wanted to share my weird day with you guys. I am really tired so off to bed and sorry for the typos.


  1. Sorry the gig went the way it did. Keep up the good work, though.

    You should look into reviving a HOOT chapter in your area.

  2. Well on the good side it gave me a reason to go and buy a Lee Oskar D harp replacement. I have almost all my major scales in Lee Oskars now. Also I purchased a melody maker to try out. It was just a funny day that's for sure.