Monday, March 05, 2007

Live from Virginia, it's a wrap up of Friday night

Sorry I didn't get to the requisite wrap-up of Friday's show yet. I'm currently in Virginia Beach, Va., visiting the old parental units with TD. This is a well-deserved break on the heels of some of the busiest weeks of my entire life. Friday's show at the Paradise Lounge, while fun, was almost hard to play -- I was worn out, I tell you. But I'm really, really glad we did it, and played hard. Either way, the first night in Virginia, I went to bed around 11 (early for me) and slept until 9 and when I woke up the next day, I could not believe how I felt. Laugh all you want, but I think I honestly forgot what a good sleep feels like. A full rest. I was re-energized, though for not much, since all we've done is kick it, play piano and guitar, and see two not-so-great movies (The Number 23 and Reno 911). But the popcorn was good. So, hey, here's what went down Friday, which now seems like a distant memory.

We played a show with an eclectic bill, to say the least: our buddies The Vital Might headlined, we went third, Philly's finest The Jealousy Curve, and opener Cyanide Valentine. My initial though during CV's set was that I'd seen them before, but the dude was doing electronic stuff and for some reason, Chris opened up for him as a DJ. I know that sounds like one of those crazy dreams where a bunch of people and things are mashed up into a nonsensical scene, but alas, I tell you, it's true. It happened. Well, this time, CV did a quiet, folksy set which was quite pleasant. He was joined by a female on vocals and a drummer using a sparse kit of a snare and a suitcase for a bass drum. Pretty sweet stuff. The Jealousy Curve turned out to be some really nice guys. I spoke to their guitarist Steve at several points through the evening, and resolved to a) see them at SXSW and b) do a show in Philly and c) check out Philly's Dr. Dog, who we apparently would fit well with on a bill. And of course, The Vital Might did what they do -- played some straight up rock. It was entertaining, and we got some dancing going. For how many people knew their lyrics and yet weren't shaking it, I couldn't believe. Thus, we had to show that crowd a thing or two about shake and bake. I think we did.

I wasn't entirely happy with our set, and I chose a really, really bad time to express myself. Right at the conclusion of the set, I told Matt he was never allowed to use a double bass pedal again (it was part of the Vital Might's rig), because I felt it clutters up the songs and detracts from the music. Now, when I initally said this (at the conclusion of the set), I really meant it seriously, but at the same time, I was trying to say it in a jokey way, like "Whoa, bro, never again, y'alright?" But it came out wrong. I immediately knew I was being an asshole, as I don't ever like to criticize that soon after a performance. Nor do I want to be that negative. Thus, I publicly apologize, Matt. That was uncool. It came out wrong. Anyhow, I wasn't particularly happy with the set, but it wasn't just the double bass -- there was just too much looseness. I guess I couldn't hear the other guys that well, but I didn't hear what I expected to hear when I caught some. Which isn't to say anyone was playing poorly, it just didn't sound tight -- especially at the beginning (plus, I personally think this was a horrible set list through the first half, it didn't flow at all). And I couldn't hear my vocals, so I was afraid I was off. I played instruments well enough, I think, but my voice was shot (probably the aforementioned lack of sleep catching up to me -- also, transitioning from the scream-a-thon "You Better, You Bet" into the equally yelly "It's Gonna Be Alright" was tough). Either way, after we brought up MK to do a couple songs -- "Like Secrets Beneath" and an untitled new song -- I think things picked up morally and energy-wise. I started to move without trying, which is always good, and everything from there on out felt pretty damn good. Plus, people seemed to be into it. I particularly liked the untitled new song, it sounds great with piano in it and it's a fun jangly tune. It was my personal highlight. I thought "The Devil's Arms" was a bit out of place, and the beginning of our cover of The Who wasn't together, but it all smoothed out.

You know, the odd thing about the last paragraph is that while I'm being vaguely critical, I got a lot of positive feedback about the show. And the band seemed to think we played well, too. Which may mean I'm crazy. Or that I was hearing things that weren't there. I don't know. Either way, it all turned up aces. I was feeling good after our set, I coerced a bunch of people to sign the mailing list, and we sold a chunk of merch. So there's that. A good night, not a perfect night, but a stepping point for improvement of the live performance. We're still trying to streamline our performance into a flow -- less talking, more flow. This was a step toward that, and not a bad one at that.

SET LIST: Debts / Shotgun Wedding / The Nadir / Like Secrets Beneath / NEW SONG UNTITLED / On The Lam / Loose Lips / The Devil's Arms / You Better, You Bet (cover of The Who) / It's Gonna Be Alright

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Anonymous chris said...

Dude, I've told you about Dr. Dog several times before!

They're the band I'm trying to get us on a bill with at Space in Portland -- we also were going to inquire about getting on their GS bill.

05 March, 2007 18:38  

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