Wow. What a great night last night was! I love that place!
Ok so, when we pulled into the Bearsville Theater, it was pouring. Cats and dogs type stuff. We unloaded the equipment in the pouring rain. Everybody was mucking in and helping out because part of the soundcheck was going to be broadcast live on the local radio station. So, there was a time crunch.
Meanwhile, I wanted to get that volume pedal, and I had to try and get it before the sound check. My friend Chris, from Woodstock, came and picked me up and we had lunch with Mike and Julia, and then went to a couple of music stores. Cute stores, but they didn’t have the pedal I wanted. I’m looking for either the Boss volume pedal, which requires no power supply, or the Ernie Ball volume pedal which does require power (batteries or otherwise) but supposedly does a little boost thing which is supposed to be nice.
When neither store had either pedal, Chris called his friend at a Kingston music store, and they carry both pedals but had neither in stock. Hmmm. I take these things as signs sometimes.
Anyway, we got back for sound check where we rehearsed Soul Food Man, a Mike tune I knew from the 2003 tour. Then the radio guys showed up and we did a short interview right from the stage, and did Dig Further Down live on the radio.
After sound check, Chris and I went to his house for a little pre-show party. He and his wife Adrian are very good friends that I rarely get to see, so it was great to actually see their house and hang. Kelly was there too (yay) and I met lots of their local friends. The food was great, company was great… just a nice way to hang before the show.
The venue itself is a wonderful place. All built with light, natural wood, it has great acoustics and a warm vibe. The room was packed when we went on. We started with Suskind Hotel, which is a real rocker. The band was tight and relaxed and playful. We veered away from the setlist after a couple songs and never came back.
One of Mike’s friends who is a percussionist who designs and makes his own instruments sat in for a percussion jam with Todd (drummer) and Craig (percussion) and then Mike joined them on bass for a while. That was a highlight.
Another highlight for me was Dig Further Down, the song we had done for the broadcast earlier. It’s another real rocker that usually starts loud and just keeps getting louder, but last night, the jam at the end took a different turn and went to some really cool places before coming back for the big ending. Cool!
In fact, all of the jams and solos last night went to some cool unusual places.
There’s always a balance, as a musician, that you try to achieve. You always want to improve technically. You want to have a large musical vocabulary to pick from, and you want to be able to play whatever you hear in your head, so there’s always this striving to play faster and more complicated, so you practice that kind of thing over and over, and build your chops.
But then, as an artist, you want to express, and ultimately, you want everything you play to express. The problem is that sometimes when you’re well practiced, it’s easy to just spew notes without real concern for expression, just because it’s all under your fingers.
I’m reminded by one of my favorite quotes, “The best musicians know when NOT to play.” And so with that in mind, my efforts lately have been to create expressive little melodies during the jams, rather than just spewing endless runs. Mike likes repetative melodies. He likes to repeat things, and then morph them a little at a time into something else. Lately, the band has been doing that kind of thing really well. and last night, that concept worked better than it has all tour. The jams were stellar!
After the show, a bunch of us went to The Pinecrest, which is a really cool little bar that’s part of a lodge type place and is open late. Of course, this ISN’T where I had way too much to drink, and someone named Pumpkin Pomagrita DIDN’T buy me drinks and sit on my lap all night. Just to be clear.
Tonight we’re at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA. I’ve played this room a few times and it’s a great room. I think I first played it with Bill K and Oteil and we had a blast here, so I’m very much looking forward to it!
Since I seem to end up at Starbucks a lot (like right now), today’s question is: what’s your favorite drink at Starbucks? Of course, I always get something with caffeine, but let’s not limit it to caffeinated drinks. Anything goes.