Monday, August 25, 2008

Consistency, consistency, consistency

We need to focus on consistency, Matt said. Yes, I couldn't have said it better myself.

After a string of solid practices and a couple of solid shows that had our peers saying "Wow, you guys have been sounding tight lately," we blew it at Olive's in Nyack, NY. Big time. I'm not trying to offer hyperbole here, but we were cut-off. After EIGHT songs. The cause of all this was some pre-show drinking that caused some sloppy play, but we don't need to get into specifics here. Suffice it to say, it was an enormous waste of time (8 hours of driving), energy (on almost no sleep), and money ($60 pay + $75 bar tab, but spent $65 on gas there -- a bit too generous from the club for this show). Either way, I'm not interested in making anyone feel bad or anything, this is just a reality check. We still have a lot of work left to do.

Sometimes it seems like we went from undervaluing ourselves to overvaluing ourselves pretty quickly. We're still young, we're still getting better, but we have to keep working on it to make it happen. We're still focusing on playing well, but we also need to focus very hard on two areas: Professionalism and consistency. Sure, drinking is part of being in a band, and plenty get away with it. But in a "pro" band, if a set is ruined a few times by the culprit which is alcohol, it could warrant some serious ramifications for the offending party. Now, to be clear, this band isn't like that. We wouldn't do anything to anyone, and to be honest, there's nothing you really can do (for example, how would you suspend the pay of someone who's basically donating their time and effort?). We'd never kick anyone out of the band (and we're certainly nowhere near that point); it just wouldn't be the same. So, it's up to all of us to act professionally when necessary. Like Matt told me, I can't impose a no-drinking rule, and I wouldn't. But I can ask that we all (note that this says ALL) watch it a little bit more, and I have. More professionalism will lead to increased consistency. After all, that's why we're playing these weekend warrior shows -- to tighten up, to get better, to make mistakes and learn from them. To get more professional and more consistent. Photos to come...
SET LIST (to the best of my recollection): A Hard Rain / You'll Be Crying Soon / Debts / The Devil's Arms / Empire Central / Lights On / Don't Get Me Wrong / Shine A Light

That being said, the Wellfleet Beachcomber show was actually pretty cool. I'd never been out there before, and we enjoyed a full day at the beach. We went swimming and did flips in the sand. Really beachbummed it. Or beachcombed, whatever.

It was definitely a solid afternoon, and a pretty good night. I think by the end of the season, most of the staff is pretty worn out at these vacation destinations because no one seemed thrilled to have an act that night (besides the sound guy, who was extremely cool and did a soundboard recording for us). But we played a pretty solid set and got some really positive feedback, which makes it all worthwhile. I'd love to go back next summer earlier in the season and really feel the good vibes flow. That'd be sweet. Photos from Fritz here.

SET LIST (this may be wrong): Lights On / Madeline / I Come From the Water / Trouble From the Start / On the Lam / Ordinary Girls / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Don't Get Me Wrong / Golden Fleece / Shotgun Wedding / Shine A Light

Next up: Finishing mastering my record tomorrow (new songs coming soon, I promise) and this weekend we're in NYC (Googie's Lounge, above the Living Room) on Friday and back at the Beachcomber in Quincy on Saturday. Should be good!

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