Gigs & Setlists, 2004-2006
10/30/06 | 9/30/06 | 9/18/06 | 7/3/06 | 5/22/06 | 4/10/06 | 1/23/06
12/29/05 | 11/7/05 | 9/26/05 | 3/21/05
[click for larger versions - photos by Stephanie Oberlin]
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : 3-song open mic set
Setlist : Wednesday, The No-Show, Whiskey & Women
In Attendance : My lovely wife and about 20 people
Proof : digital photos, digital video/audio (listen to Whiskey & Women + Wednesday here!)
Notes : We got superbly lucky today. We left at a good time but due to me trying to avoid some road construction, we took a very scenic route through town and it took a little longer than it should have. No worries, though. Well, until we walk in to an un-crowded bar and get to the sign-up sheet and there are already FIFTEEN fucking people signed up! Then, I almost peed myself when I saw that nobody was signed up in the very first slot. I don't like going first - it happened once before, unintentionally - but it was better than going on 16th at 1:30 am. Eff THAT. So I thanked my very, very lucky stars and showed Steph and then we went back into the bar because there was a duo on stage semi-rehearsing. I had said hey to Nate on the way in and when we came back out into the bar, he caught my eye and flagged me down and wanted to make sure I was able to get one of the first slots. I said yeah, there was one left, number one... and he was all "oh, good, cool... it's *insane* tonight!" What a helluva nice guy. And then I had a small moment of personal joy when I realize again how great a host Nate is. He also just released a solo CD and I've grown to really like a few of his tunes that he plays in the pre-open mic host slot every time I go. I also recall now that I said in a prior gig blog that he was "not great" or something to that effect after the first time I saw him play. And while he plays a crappy guitar (to me, at least), his playing can be cryptically simple but very good. His voice still bewilders me that something that gruff and bluesy and growly can come out of his body. I think it probably threw me off that first time. Anyway, I really dig his tunes and wanted to support him and get his record (his song Not A Fool In Love is genius). I asked him if he brought some and he said yep, they're $10 - or 5 drinks. heh. I didn't think ahead, though, because I only had $7 and had to borrow some of Steph's beer money (somewhat reluctantly) to get one. When I did buy one (after I played my songs) he gave it to me, gave me a hug and then dropped the bomb on me that his last night hosting at The Fire was in a couple weeks. Gasp! Damn. So that was gonna be my last night playing with him as host; serious bummer, he's a class guy. I wished him luck and told him quite honestly that I planned on catching a gig of his when I could. Gonna miss him. Ok, so back to my show. Went on first, but the room seemed relatively full of people. Too bad they weren't really paying much attention, though. It was pretty chatty during my set. I opened with Wednesday, and intro'd it with "I got married one month ago today" and that was followed by silence... and then a very reluctant smattering of applause from 3 people who probably were doing it only out of social obligation. ;-) I gave a very sarcastic "thanks". I had even thought about whether or not I was going to mention that on stage and I had decided it wasn't a good idea. So much for planning ahead. "This is about, uh... my wife". Hell yeah. Not a bad rendition, very less messed up than the wedding version. But someone very near the stage had their cell phone on and they got a call with some annoying loud ringtone right as I was finishing up the song - yeah, during the quiet part at the very end of the tune. Thanks, pal. But it was ok besides that. Then I just went right into The No-Show, which I remember felt pretty good, but listening to the tapes, doesn't sound as solid as the previous performance last month. Not bad at all, the music was as good as anything and I didn't mess up any words... just not great. The vocals were clearer but seemed to lack some energy. I asked if everyone was voting next week (mid-term national elections) and heard one very faint "yes" and I think Nate said "what's that?". Hehe. Very non-interactive crowd tonight, and when I asked if any Republicans were in the house, I got nothing. Which was good, anyway. I said "good, this is a song about George Bush..." (one guy went "heh!") "...I just wrote it last week... well, finished it... I'm not normally a political songwriter, so forgive me..." And then I attempted to play the song. But I forgot how the words started, screwed it up pretty badly by rearranging the first verse, and ended up just having to stop it altogether. Funnily enough, Nate had forgotten some words in one of his earlier songs so I said "help me out Nate!" and he started to say "something about a stranger!" right as I was giving up. I explained that I had inverted some lyrics and he said to anyone who cared "this is all part of the act!" So I just started over, and still did have some minor goofs and dropped lyrics, but I just went with the flow and finished it out. The second half of it was pretty decent and sounded pretty good, really. When it was done, I actually did get a few "woo!"s & cheers instead of the requisite polite clapping because I was finished. So that was cool. I apologized about the beginning and said "next month... I'll do it again". And I was done. Jessica Saddington (same girl from my last time there) was on just after me, so I recorded her set, too... sweet. I don't think she did the tune from last time that I really liked, but all her songs are solid. She's pretty good. She's on MySpace, too. Check her out. Later.
Venue : Valley Green Inn - Philly, PA
Gig : 1-song set, opening for Fooling April at my wedding reception!
Setlist : Wednesday
In Attendance : About 80 people, all of whom I know (including 30 members of my family and my new wife!)
Proof : digital photos, digital video/audio (listen to Wednesday here!)
Notes : This was all supposed to be a big surprise. It was also supposed to be a tad bit longer. I only told two people that I had planned on playing at my own wedding - the band that we hired (and whose equipment I would be plugging into) and my man Mike D. I knew the songs I was going to play, I even had a pretty good idea of the stupid stuff I was going to say before I actually played. And then the previous day happened. The day before our wedding was like the day from hell, for both of us - and we didn't even see each other all day from about 8 AM until 8 PM. It's a long, long story but there was way too little sleep, way too much activity, way too much driving in way too much traffic and way too many things going wrong all at the same time. The morning of the wedding was relatively chaotic or at least very busy trying to make sure everything was good to go. And then the wedding, just the nervousness of it all and all the emotion. By the time I was supposed to break out the guitar, I was feeling the pain. I was a little woozy from sweating in my tux (not out of fear!) and from lack of sleep and just the buzz from having just gotten married. This was quite the different experience compared to what I'm used to at open mic night at The Fire. It was a room full of people who were all staring at me, and - get this - paying attention. It was a room full of people I knew. It was a room full of light! I figured if I could just pull off one song, I would get outta there and that'd be fine. I showed Mike the lyrics to the song (Wednesday) the night before and he dug it. He also apparently told HIS wife all about it and she was egging me on to play when I mentioned I wasn't really feeling it. Steph hadn't ever heard the song before and it's about the day we met and the day I asked her out - both Wednesdays. It was kind of a funny and snappy tune so I thought it might go over well and I rehearsed it quite a bit in the lead-up to the big day. So I eventually just bit the bullet when it was time to rock. There was a good minute or two while the dudes from the band made sure my guitar was ok for sound (their guitarist actually tuned the guitar and put the strap on it for me before I got up to the mic - sweet!) and that didn't really help much because I just had more time to get nervous while looking at all these people looking at me. While I was essentially soundchecking, here's what I said to the crowd : "I'm just soundchecking for the band, there's nothing to see here" (giggles; then, lots of silence)... "you can keep talking!" (more laughs)... "um, so that was the last of the recorded music for the evening, the band will be out in a second... they're a great local band called Fooling April... um, I'm not really prepared to do this, but I'm gonna play a song for you that I wrote... I'm a little light-headed, it's been a long couple of days... this is a song about my lovely wife, that she's never heard..." (lots of OH!!s) "it's kind of a rockin' song, so don't get the wrong idea... it's very sweet" (isolated laughs) ..."we met on a Wednesday, I know this because it was my second day at work when she interviewed for her job... and we actually finally convinced her to go on a date with me on a Wednesday as well, so it's kinda like our day but she doesn't even remember what day it was..." (many laughs) "yeah, she does... so I wrote a song called Wednesday, and I apologize for the pauses in the song when I have trouble remembering the lyrics, because I've never played this for people before... and it's much stranger playing for a bunch of people you know..." (laughs) "and there are no lights blinding me in the eye so I can't see you... and that's very intimidating... I'm not really ready for this." And then I FINALLY played the damn song. The second and third chords I hit were wrong. It was not a good start. I played the intro riffs twice trying to work up the nerve to start singing - and to get at least one progression cleanly played. It wasn't too bad considering I was standing up and I hadn't been playing without a chair for some time. Got through the first line of the first verse great but then came back in with the second line and hit another superbly WRONG chord, which threw me off and I actually DID have to pause (briefly) before the next line in the song. When I went to sing the chorus, my voice was all over the map and I didn't know what the hell octave I was in or supposed to be in, nothing sounded right so I think I went way too high. By the time the second verse rolled around, I was getting into a groove and was able to actually look right at Steph for a bit while playing, which was fun, and I got major laughs after the line "it was all part of my five year plan". Nice. But I was playing too fast and the second chorus was still sounding weird. The bridge was sweet, though - more playing for Steph. I nailed the last line and got happy and forgot to go right into the jam and flubbed up the transition, though. Ended the tune and said "yeah, you can clap now, thanks" to let folks know the song was over and got solid applause and "woo!"s from 80 people whose meals I paid for. Did a quick intro for the band and got the hell off stage. It actually took them a minute to get going because I had told them I was playing a couple songs and they were expecting more. (Song #2 was gonna be Never Better). Looking at the video Mike D took, I got to see the faces of some of my friends and family as I was playing, and it was really cool to see Christina, Erin, Jay & Stan and how excited they were to watch me rock. That stuff is priceless. You can see Steph on the video, too - and when Mike was trying to film her, she looked like she wasn't hardly paying attention. She felt so bad about that, but she had 80 people looking at HER for her reaction to the song, and the photographer was standing 2 feet away from her taking pictures. Steph is nervous enough just any day of the week, but that was driving her nuts and she had a hard time relaxing. And unfortunately, it wasn't a complete surprise for her. She didn't know exactly what was going to happen, but by pure chance she came down to the computer while I was working on an email to the band about the schedule for the reception. It was long but it just happened to have the paragraph on the screen about me playing and I had said "keep it on the down low, nobody knows about this". She was talking to me while I turned away from the screen and I didn't know it was on that section as she was sneaking peeks at it. Later on I realized she may have seen it, so I asked, and she said she stopped reading when she saw the "down low" part and didn't know specifically I would be playing. She said she knew "something was up". hehe. Overall, considering the circumstances, I don't feel too bad about my performance, and the audio isn't killing me. Since it was my wedding, I got several solid photos from other people, too. And now I can say I opened for Fooling April. Boo-yah!
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 3-song set
Setlist : The No-Show, My Sister & Her God, Never Better
In Attendance : Steph & perhaps 20 other folks
Proof : digital photos, digital video/audio (listen to The No-Show + MS&HG here!)
Notes : This time we were sure to get there plenty early - though I think it's been starting earlier, lately. Thank the sweet lord there were only a few people signed up when we arrived, and nobody in the first couple slots. I signed up 2nd - but ended up going first, anyway. I've never gone first before. I don't like setting the bar. But it was cool. It's always nice when you see the host at the open mic you go to semi-regularly and he always says hello and seems happy to see you. Nate is cool like that. I plugged the guitar in this time - enough of that feedback/super reverb BS. It still sounds a little too metallic, but we'll live with it. One of these days I'm gonna have to start standing up and then we'll be good to go. And, just a couple days prior to this gig, Mike D sent us an early wedding present - a digital camcorder. SaWEET. So I was all about the videotaping, and Steph was able to get some pictures during the set instead of right before it. Plus, that means basically all songs performed are eligible for online uploading since we can get the whole set on tape, guaranteed. AND, I can videotape other performers as per my whimsy. Bonus. Oh yeah, so I'm on stage as performer #1 and it's actually quieter than I thought it would be. Apparently people have not been drinking enough yet. I said "how's it going?" and got absolutely nothing. Intro'd myself as Chris in a fake band called Huge Down Here and then accidentally said "we're big up in Boston". woops. Not a peep, anyway. I played The No-Show first, a new song never played live, and intro'd it with "it's about a good friend of mine who repeatedly lets me down... it's called The No-Show. Rock on." Actually, it turned out pretty solid (well, at least there were few obvious mistakes) after a shaky vocal start. Next up was My Sister & Her God, which was mostly in the setlist just so I could get a full version of it on tape worthy enough to be uploaded for your listening pleasure. "This is a depressing song about my dead sister" is always the perfect way to liven up a crowd. Not a bad version after the wrong note that started it out. At least the place was quiet for me, but I don't know if that was respect or sobriety or absolute indifference. I ever-so-slightly screwed up on guitar during the quiet part in the middle of the song and that totally bummed me out. "We'll end on a positive note - this is a song about my lovely wife... future wife. It's called Never Better". Woulda been a pretty good version if it weren't for the bizarrely goofed chord progression in the second half of the first verse. I don't even know what the hell I was playing. And then it happened again later in one of the last choruses - I was totally playing something a whole step wrong and basically had to stop for a second to regroup. Too bad. The second verse sounded fuckin' great! So... relatively uneventful performance, overall... not horrible, not great. I sound kinda bored. But we got it all on tape and luckily, Physical Illusion was on shortly after me and before we left - so I taped most of his set (I wasn't coordinated enough to have the camera ready when he started playing). I did get a complete "Dave Is Boring" though. Aww yeah. I've got mp3s for ya, Nick. I barely remember anyone else who played... ah, but now I do recall the comedian who isn't funny (who apparently is a regular now) and this new girl I hadn't seen before named Jessica Saddington. She was awesome, and Steph even really, really liked her stuff. Hell yeah. See ya next time, peeps.
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 2-song set
Setlist : Temperature, Don't Kick Gorillas In The Nads
In Attendance : Steph & 5 other people, maybe
Proof : digital video/audio
Notes : This was a strange trip. Steph & I left around the same time we always leave (*maybe* 5-10 minutes later), and we're always early and usually the first people to sit down in front of the stage; but when we got there and strolled into the performance room, there were already TEN people signed up on the list, in slots one through ten! This is bananas. This has never happened. There are almost always 4 or 5 people signed up (who are hanging out in the bar) and hardly ever are they even signed up as the first five to go on. I could not believe it. Steph was already a bit tired (and had to be AT work at 7!!), as was I, and I knew she was kinda along for the ride because I really wanted to go, anyway. Plus, she hadn't been feeling well lately but was doing better that day. But then I have softball games scheduled for the following 3 Mondays so if we didn't stay, there was no way I was getting back before August. And I'm trying to play out at least every 5 weeks or so. Major, major dillema. I didn't want to kill Steph, or make her want to kill me, but I desperately wanted to play the songs I had been working on. And come back in mid-August. We just kinda sat down and thought about it for a minute or ten. I really didn't want to stay past midnight. I really wanted to play. I know Steph didn't want to stay, but she would never ask me to leave. I thought we'd try to stick it out. There were lots of folks around - good crowd. She had a couple beers and was doing pretty good up until about act #6. That's because 3 of the first 5 people on were stand-up comics. Black guys, too, which has nothing to do with anything except that this is a very white establishment. Scruffy, hippy, dirty white, too. Nothing wrong with comedy, either and hell it's an open mic - but these cats were NOT funny. At least not for this audience. And kinda vulgar and downright WRONG sometimes. One guy went on and on and on about midgets, and not even telling jokes, just how much he couldn't believe how funny they looked. And one dude musta went on for 20 minutes - it's a 3-song (15 minutes, which usually winds up as 12 or less for most folks) gig! So that just made it seem longer and longer... we did finally see some awesome performances. This one dude I hadn't seen before did a righteously horrible song about Smarty Jones, the horse. Nick from Physical Illusion came through with some classics, though. He did Throw Your Neighbors Down The Stairs and even name-checked this very blog before he played his song ADD (sorry Nick, I greatly overestimated the length of that tune! I said 80 seconds, what is it, more like 45?). By the time it was my turn, the crowd was down to about 4 or 5, including Nate and Nick and whomever was yet to play. Steph was exhausted and barely kept her eyes open. I mainly just wanted to get a solid, complete version of Temperature on the camera so I could put it online. That was pretty much the only reason I stuck around. And I'd just written a really, really, really stupid little song that I thought some of the regular folks at The Fire's open mic would get a kick out of. I call it Don't Kick Gorillas In The Nads, and I did perform it, but I never will again. It got absolutely no response and honestly I felt like a jack-ass singing it. Nick, if you want it, it's all yours. But you don't want it. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. I finally got onstage and was good to go. I thought I had the perfect opening joke/comment - "so I totally had prepared a 35 minute monologue about midgets... but someone stole my idea". Crickets, man. I made another joke that nobody heard and then just started playing. DEJA VU like a mofo when after my very first lyric, my vocals dropped out of the monitor again. (see last gig's notes). I stopped the song. Nate said he was having trouble with the guitar mic volume, again. Re-started the song, and just as I start the first line, I get bombed by a feedback BOOM that just about makes everyone's ear drums implode. I laugh hysterically, Nate says "I was just testing you!" and then I said "you really don't want me to play this song, do you?!" and he says "no, I do, I really do, I really do!" Good times. He ended up messing with the reverb, which I didn't really notice exactly until after I heard the recording. I knew he put some kind of effect on it while I was playing, because I heard it, but I didn't know if I was hearing it on the monitor only, I didn't know how it was coming out of the house speakers, and I had no idea it was as as it was. So I just kept playing, and besides one minor chord/progression goof, the vocals were somewhat solid and the song was nicely and fully completed in one take. Success! Sort of. I had rehearsed and planned on doing Lightning Strikes Twice as the 2nd tune, but I was ready to go, so I simply eliminated that from the set and finished with the Gorilla tune. (I said "in the name of brevity and mercy, I have decided to forego my second selection and skip right to the 3rd song..."). I explained that the new song was inspired by Physical Illusion's "Polar Bear Rock", which it was, by getting me to try and write something funny, since I'm a zookeeper in real life and I hang out with monkeys, yadda yadda yadda. I also said it was a true story. I think I'm one funny-ass dude, but I just couldn't pull it off. I did finish the song, though - it's 1:18 long, not hard to do. I get off and Nate is dumbfounded - "that's it? [that's it, man] you sure? [gotta work at 7] wanna do another one? [nah] you sure? [yeah]". hehe. I say to Steph "my gorilla song didn't really go over" - and she says matter-of-factly, "no. you said the word 'cunt' ". Hehe. Yes, it's in the song. Twice. Don't ask. The lyrics will never be printed here, or anywhere. You're welcome and you don't even know it. At any rate, we're showing up super early next time!! Gonna be home by 11. :-) I went ahead and put up the mp3 of Temperature, but it sounds so strange with all the reverb on the guitar - at least the vocals aren't completely crap. The end is decent. Be good. Later.
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 3-song set
Setlist : Never Better, Temperature, Stephanie Lynn
In Attendance : Steph, about 20 other crazies
Proof : digital photos, digital video/audio (listen to Never Better here!)
Notes : It started off as a normal enough night - walked in to a slightly half-full bar, set the guitar down in the performance room, went to the bathroom, got a glass of water, let's rock. All the usual suspects are there - Nate, our beloved host; the guy with the polar bear songs; his buddy with the song about his mom (respectively Physical Illusion aka Nick, and Spacey Raygun aka Jason - details I would only find out days after the gig. Apparently The Fire is like a magnet for one-man-band singer/songwriters). Anyhoo, I got the second slot on the sign-up sheet, so we don't have to stay until midnight, and all is well. First up was a duo, who did a three-song suite about a girl named Maggie, and it was kinda weird but good. I went on prepared to destroy. I was feeling good. Didn't say much before the first song, Never Better, which starts with a cold lyric and no guitar until after the first bar. So I just bust right into it. I get to the 3rd line in the song, about 10 seconds in (literally) and something dropped - I mean, I lost sound in either the monitor or the mic dropped out of the house mix or I don't know, I just know something happened and it really put me off and I stopped the song. I said to Nate "did you lose me?" and he goes "sorry, that's my fault" and I said "I lost myself!" and it was kinda funny but I was a bit out of sorts for a minute. Made sure all was well (again) and said "do over" and started again, but then I said the WRONG first lyric bar and immediately started it for the 3rd time. (It's "I look like hell, but I feel divine" and on the second try I said "I feel like hell"). Grrr. So I'm kinda slightly giggling when I start it the 3rd time. I got through it relatively ok, so I put that live MP3 up for grabs right here. Without the first two tries. I like that tune. The chorus is a little overdone, but the verses are sweet and the bridge is rockin'. Alrighty, so song is over and I get a couple of "woo!"s and solid applause and I scream "rock & roll!" as best I sarcastically can. Roll right into the "My name is Chris and I'm in a fake band called Huge Down Here - I am Huge Down Here" and then I say something I never wanted to say and that I had no reason to say and that I shouldn't have said. I go "and my fiance is right there, and she can prove that". Why? Tell me why I said that. Please. So Steph speaks up and says "that's uncalled for!" and Nate goes "yes!" and others giggle and woo. It was kinda funny (I actually said "just kidding. not really") - but still very dumb. Next up was the song Temperature, so I prefaced it by saying "this is a song about, sort of, the frustration of living with a woman for a year and a half who'd never had an orgasm in her life". Plenty of laughs on that one, but it's true! "I'm not kidding", I say, as Steph is laughing and saying "and that's not me!" so I said "it's not her - swear to god." And I can't shut up and keep on yapping... "'cause you really think... you're like, yeah, I'm gonna... yeah, I'll, I... I can take care of you. And then you can't, and then you're pissed, and then it sucks." Which really cracked a few people up. So song #2 is on. Going fine. No drops. I sing the lyrics with some added emphasis with eyebrow raises or winks or whatever and there are some giggles during the song... and then I get to the first bridge AND I FORGET THE WORDS TO MY OWN SONG. I have to stop and I literally say "I just forgot the fucking words to my own goddamn song". I say "hang on". I repeat the last guitar lick that leads up to the bridge... I got nothing. Play the bridge guitar part and hope it comes to me, it doesn't. I say "hang on, it'll come to me". I look dumbfounded. I am. So I just keep playing and skip the 2 bars of lyrics that I can't remember to save my life. Come back in with the last half of the bridge lyrics and keep going with the song and I feel like a total idiot. I literally wasted about 50 seconds trying to find that lyric in my head. The 2nd half of the song is fine, until we get to the bridge part again and I still have no idea what the words are to my own song. The pause is a lot shorter this time, though. Continue song. End song fine - a couple guys loved the end where I build it up and then get real quiet and sing about "breathing" and the "need to relax" and I think people are actually getting the song. A couple screams at the end of that one, too. And I STILL cannot SHUT UP and I start talking about how "yeah, that's also about every male's problem in the back of his head, did she or didn't she fake it... it's a problem. man. (pause) ...not for me *now* - I'm just saying!" - lots of laughs. Just watching Steph's back. Mentioned the website, and Nick says "very clever site!" and I thank him, and I have no idea if he's actually been there or just saying that to make me feel good. Or dumb. At that point I still didn't know his name. Stephanie Lynn was the last song, and it was ok... still reeling from my previous goof, I didn't have a good handle on the guitar and screwed up a few parts, but I felt pretty good about the lyrics (which I was worried I would do in the wrong order). Didn't get a full version of that on the tape as all my talking and fucking up took up too much space. We only stuck around for one guy after me, apparently part of a duo but by himself - and he thanked Huge Down Here for "inspring this next tune, with their primitivist sexual predation soundtrack, so here's my primitivist 8-bar blues" and then he played a song about "Mexican tranny whores", no joke. OK, I am definitely a primitive guitar player, but sexual predation!? Come on. Anyway, a few days later, I'm on MySpace and looking up Spacey Raygun because I remembered that name from the sign-up sheet and wasn't entirely sure who it was, and found him - and then found Physical Illusion from his friends list. And then found Nate's band's site from THAT friends list. Awesome. I've been meaning to ask Nate if he had any songs online, hell I didn't even know he was in a band, he never mentions it. They're good. And, now I can hear Polar Bear Rock any time I want to. Sweet. It didn't even occur to me until much, much later that I said "hang on, it'll come to me" (and it didn't!) when I couldn't remember the lyrics to a song I wrote about a woman who has never had an orgasm. OH, THE IRONY! It did not come to me. I hope you get that. I think that is fantastic. You can't make this shit up. See you in July. I'm gonna play Temperature again and I will remember all the words and I will never play it again after that. The words were "the heat of your moment" (I finally remembered them about 15 minutes into the drive home). Write them down and yell them out to me at my next gig when I look like I'm severely confused in the middle of the song. Thanks.
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 3-song set
Setlist : My Sister And Her God, Either Way, Never Better
In Attendance : Steph, about 20 other peeps
Proof : digital photos, digital video/audio (listen to Either Way here!)
Notes : Another rockin' night at The ol' Fire. Pretty good crowd in the bar when we strolled in; there were 4 people signed in (but in slots 5 through 8), so HdH went down as 4th (with the likelihood of 1st). That didn't hold true as another dude came in and signed up ahead of us, though. There was a woman practicing on the drumkit when we first got in the performance room, with an older guy who kept smoking those cheap drug store cigars all night. Unfortunately we didn't stick around long enough to hear the drum jam. Nate got going with a few songs and folks filled up the room pretty good. Nice to see. The first guy had kind of a weak voice but he played keys and had some hilarious songs. Then a guy joined him on bass and they did a great song about a gay-summer camp hookup or something. Good stuff. I didn't know while he was on whether or not I was following him, but I secretly hoped I wasn't. I was. There was a bit of a lull for the set change (dismantling keyboard/bass/etc) so I think by the time I got on, the happy vibes weren't quite as high, which was good because the first song I planned on doing was the one about my dead sister. I can play it reasonbly well, I think it's a nice song, and I like it doing it. It's the one I've done the most so far; three times. So the first thing I said was that the last guy was fuckin' awesome and I hope I wasn't going to bring everyone down but this song is about my dead sister. Everyone laughed. I said "I'm not kidding". And then I totally fucked up the song I know best - halfway into it I got my chord progression all backed up and lost my place. It was so bad I had to stop mid-verse and pause for a good solid second and then continue. Steph said as I was doing it, I was shaking my head. Really bummed me out. Not a great way to get started. But otherwise, the rest of the tune felt good. I didn't really rehearse it too much (because I was really worried about the other 2 tunes) so I guess that's why. Or maybe it was the helicopter that was flying by as I was playing the first couple of bars (it was easily audible and I looked up at the ceiling playfully - you can hear it clearly on the tape). The people there seemed to be really respectful and quiet and paid as much attention as I could tell they were paying from the stage (at least for that first song). So that was nice. Either Way was next, one I never really thought about doing live until I started working on it for the next record and realized I might be able to pull it off. I introduced it as an ex-girlfriend song and asked the crowd that if they ever lived with someone and then you broke up and still lived with them for a month before you moved out, you might know what it's about. Because that's when all the shit that they wanted to say while you were still together but didn't out of "respect" or whatever, then it just flies right out when you're not together anymore, but you're still in the damn house (some dude was like "hell yeah, I did that!). It actually ended up ok. Minor chord goofs and an ever-so-slight stutter in the first verse, but not bad. The recording is sorta solid so it's available for download, including the spoken intro. Then I got into the next song, Never Better, which no one had ever heard before - except me. I hadn't played it for Steph (it's about her) and it was only a couple months old. So I said it was a new song, nobody's heard it but you and I know you're all very excited. Steph liked that line. That tune is simple and dare I say jaunty, and I love playing it. I feel confident singing that one and it sounded great on the tape, but... I ran out of space on the camera and it stopped recording literally about 20-30 seconds from the end of the tune, and I can't put an incomplete song on the website. I'll get a whole one next time and you can rock out with it. Promise. Steph was all smiles when I got back to the table, got a big phat smooch and a thank you and then who the hell should be playing next but the Polar Bear Rock guy!! Fuck yeah. He borrowed my pick to play that very song, by request by yours truly. Awesome. He also has a short song called A.D.D. that is about 6 different genres of music in about 80 seconds of song. Needs to be heard to be believed. If he's at the next one, I might sacrifice my own recording to tape HIM. Or Nate. Hell, I might just go to listen and not play sometime. We stuck around for one more guy before we bolted. By that time there were probably 10-15 people on the list and the place was jumping (for a Monday). Good times. I felt decent overall, especially considering I did two songs I'd never played live before. And there were mic issues with the guitar mic (I didn't plug in) as I was setting up and Nate was getting loads of feedback and had to turn it down, so it's not overly loud on the PA or on the tape, and I moved it closer to my guitar, as much as I could, but of course I did bump into it a couple times. It distracted me a little - but I don't blame the eqiupment. Never! hehe. Anyway, I'm coming back in late May. Right on.
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 3-song set
Setlist : Still With You, What About Now, Karate (Tenacious D cover)
In Attendance : Steph, Jim & Amy, about 15 other folks
Proof : digital photos, digital video/audio (listen to What About Now & Karate here!)
Notes : Right on. It just keeps on improving. I think. I invited Jim & Amy this time around and although the confirmation came a little late, they were both down for whatever, making them the first people to see me perform (since Desiree) that weren't Steph or otherwise related to me. That felt pretty cool and they seemed to have a really good time, and that felt pretty great. Anyway, The Fire continues to not disappoint. Steph & I arrived with the performance room empty and got a front row seat and only had to wait about 10 minutes before things got rolling. Four folks had already signed up, so HdH got the Five Spot. Steph was getting some grub when Nate stepped up onto the stage - I stopped him mid-climb when I asked him if I could make a request. Beer in hand, he either almost fell on his ass or pretended to, as he paused, turned, & said "yeah, sure." I asked for the V-8 Ford song and he smiled and said "I'll do it!" Then he came back down a step and said "hey, you're huge down there"... yes, I am. "I'm sorry, what's your name again?" Chris. "Oh yeah, right on..." and he shook my hand. What's up, Nate. Thanks for playing my request. Alright... he actually did 5 tunes before the open mic got rolling. Somewhere in song #2, Steph came back and said Jim & Amy were at the bar getting drinks. They came separately, partly because they needed to be able to jet if the smoke got too bad. We all got there at a great time and they got the table right behind us. Sweet. I did some explaining to Jim & Amy about why I like The Fire and the very first guy on the list explained it better than I could ever have... he did some crazy tunes about completely random BS that were totally cracking everybody up. I can only really remember the song "Polar Bears Want To Rock" with a line like "they want to rock the nation, but they can't go on winter tours because of hibernation". Or something like that. I wish I remembered his name. That early on, there weren't a lot of people - somewhere in between my first and second trips there. More than a few but not a lot. The other 3 dudes before me weren't all that bad but none of them were super. The second guy was a really good fingerstyle player, though. The 4th guy looked like he could have cared less that he was on stage. I told him at one point to "calm down" and he glared at me, hard. A couple people in the crowd thought it was really funny. It was my turn and Nate said twice, from his soundbooth mic over the PA, "Huge down here" kinda loudly. Rock. I did a really quick HdH fake band intro - and some guy said something like "what does THAT mean?", half-mockingly. I managed a half-response of "whatever you want it to" or something. Nate said into his mic, goofily and jokingly, "is that about your penis!?" and I smiled and said "no, it's about your penis, Nate". Unfortunately, Steph was taking pictures and that little part didn't make it into the video/audio. I talked a little about Still With You, how it was about a girl I had a really big crush on but didn't know her well, wrote a couple of whiny, unrequited love songs about her and then she introduced me to her boyfriend - so I wrote a song about him... a whiny, unrequited love song. It went fairly well. I screwed up the first chorus' lyrics (sang one from the second chorus, instead) and didn't hit a few chords cleanly, but nothing overtly obvious. I sounded a little flat, too but that's fairly normal. By that time, there were probably as many people as had been there all night and they were pretty chatty during that first song. You can hear lots of folks talking in the audio. They settled down a bit after that. I came right out of the 1st song and said "huge down here dot com" twice, not very loudly - a couple guys heard me and the first guy said "I've been there" - right on? "huge down here dot com" - fuck yeah. And then a second guy - "isn't that a gay porn site?" - no it's not. Lots of free downloads though... "nice!!" but they're songs... "awwww" - no porn, sorry. (giggles all around during that little convo). "This is a song about sex!" ("alright!") ...and then I talked about What About Now and got some good laughs on that, too. That whole interlude is at the beginning of the live MP3 of What About Now over in downloads. I think I got their attention because for the entirety of that song, everyone was pretty quiet. Or maybe half of them went back into the bar. Either way, that song went fairly well... a very minor chord goof in the first bridge, but the lyrics were solid. I think perhaps my best overall song performance to date. Listen and let me know. Some guy in the crowd was even slapping his knees, drumming along, to the jam! Right on. Immeidately after that one, I said "ok, so this is a quick little cover... this goes out to Jim" and I did Tenacious D's Karate. It's 4 chords, less than a minute long and super simple; good thing, since I just learned it 2 days earlier. When Jim told me he was most likely coming, I had an idea to cover a TD song and tried to do Rock Your Socks Off but that was nearly impossible, and basically the only other song from their entire catalog that I could learn to play and sing at the same time was that one. Word. The knee-slapping dude came back, too. Jim got a kick out of it (you can hear him laughing a couple times right after I start the song on the MP3) and I tried a little sorta singalong at the end with the "muthafuckas" and a few people even obliged! It was hard to tell if anyone was following directions from the stage. Cool to hear it on the tape, though. Also cool to hear Steph giggle her ass off. And my first ever cover performance! If it wasn't Karate, it would have either been Boiling Points or Stephanie Lynn. As soon as I was done, I said thanks and got off stage and Nate even said "wow, you jumped off the stage so quick!" - I said "I'm also Fast Down Here" but he didn't really hear me as another guy said semi-simultaneously "because he was kicking your ass with karate!" Right before that, as I was exiting, you can hear Amy saying "encore, encore! bravo!" At the end, I say to Jim - "you didn't see that one coming, did ya?" and he replied, I did not! You can hear all that on the MP3, too. We were talking afterwards, and Jim started to ask me about the songs - I knew what he going to ask before he even said it and I said "yes" - he had never heard either song but knew the first one was about Susan. He asked about the second one, too (I think he thought maybe it was Sheri) but I told him that no one knows who that one's about. Steph got some good pics (including one with Nate, adjusting the mic and talking to me) and I took some vidcaps (from nightshot mode) as well, with some crazy stagefaces. Right on. Can't wait for the next one. Sometime in late March.
[click for larger versions - photos by Wendy Oberlin; vidcaps by Chris Oberlin]
Venue : Steel City Coffeehouse - Phoenixville, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 2-song set
Setlist : Boiling Points, Stephanie Lynn
In Attendance : Steph, Mom & Dad, Steph's Mom & Zack, about 60 other way chatty people
Proof : digital photos, digital video/audio (listen to Stephanie Lynn here!)
Notes : Since my parents were coming to town for a post-Xmas visit and Tristan was at his dad's all week (thus allowing Steph to go out on a Thursday) and Steph's mom was available, I invited 'em all to Steel City's open mic Thursday nighter to hear me rock the house. We invited Steph's aunt who lives in Phoenixville, too, but unfortunately she couldn't make it. I thought everybody would get a kick out of it, especially my folks. We got there nice and early but the only space available for all 6 of us was the back corner (poor sightlines and away from the speakers) so we set up camp. It was supposed to actually start at 8 but the host got going around 7:30 (which made me worry a bit because Cece & Zack weren't there yet). HdH signed up 6th. I spent a decent amount of time tuning up and re-tuning as people went on due to the guitar being a bit cold and the strings not having been used a lot lately. Not too long after people started playing did the crowd get pretty big... and very loud. My first time there, the crowd wasn't small but it wasn't huge, and they were at least rather respectful. Not this time. Apparently it's turned into a big hang out, and you can see in the pictures that no one (except the host, who's doing sound) is even looking in my direction. When it was my turn, I got up and walked towards the stage and heard a big CRACK! as my tuner was being dragged from my table and crashing to the ground, thus removing the battery cover and battery from the housing, because I forgot to actually unplug from the tuner. Nicely done. (one guy sitting nearby said upon my return, 'it looks like your tuner committed suicide'. - thankfully, it's fine). Did the HdH fake band/only member/website intro again. Boiling Points - "a song about going to college". For some reason I think the host mixed the guitar a little low, and my voice isn't loud anyway - so I could barely hear myself while I was playing with the super chatty crowd; and being away from the speakers, it was a little hard for 'my audience' to hear me as well. I didn't really hit the first song very well lyrically, but played it solid - the other was fairly decent all the way except for one minor chord goof towards the end. I got complete audio, but again - from that vantage point with the crowd noise, it isn't all that hot. Still, I've put up a complete live track of Stephanie Lynn, with an intro that got some good laughs. (transcript: "thanks... wow, you guys are loud. very excited to be here, aren't we all? so my mom is here, and my future mother-in-law as well. so I thought this was be the perfect time to break out very sexually graphic material. so I wrote a song called Fornicatin' In The Woods. not really. um, then I re-thought that, and thought it better to play a nice little love song. so this is... that.") And besides me being WAY out of tune vocally for the first mini-verse, it sounded ok. If you can tell underneath the crowd. At the 1:39 mark, you can distinctly hear my mother realize that the song was about Steph and go "awwwww". Sweet. At the tail end of the clip, after I exit the stage, I say "remember to unplug from the tuner before you go on stage". Words to live by. My mom recognized Boiling Points from my CD, so that was cool, and everybody in general seemed to enjoy seeing me play. I knew my mom would dig it. When I do the open mic gigs, I record the audio portion with my digital camera's "video mode" - and most of the time the video part is non-crucial. It's usually hard to get a good angle or good light (like at The Fire), and it's secondary to sound, anyway. But this time, being that it was filmed from the side, the video portion looks GREAT! My face isn't half-hidden by the microphone and there's nothing between the camera and the stage to block the view. Too bad the audio sucked so much. It'll be re-mastered for the DVD. Until then, we have some screen captures of the video for you to drool over.
[click for larger versions - photos by Stephanie Oberlin]
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 3-song set
Setlist : Going To, Tow The Bar, Temperature
In Attendance : Steph & about 20 other peoples
Proof : digital photos, digital audio (listen to Tow The Bar here!)
Notes : I really like The Fire. I didn't want to wait too long to get back, and we made it within 6 weeks! It's so laid back and Nate the host is crazy/weird and strange and cool. And you never know who's gonna show up on stage. Steph and I weren't way early, but we also didn't realize there were already people in the performance room (Nate was still hanging out in the bar). We also didn't realize the first time that there's a monitor in the bar that shows the stage and plays the music in the bar, too. There were already something like 9 people signed up but by some stroke of luck the 3rd slot was open (I didn't want to have to sit there until midnight). Put the HdH tag on it and grabbed a seat. Right away, it was obvious this time things were a little livelier. There were more people in general and just more energetic people, too. Nate was either high on something or goofy on the booze, because he was just being odd. First two guys came and went and they were both decent. I pulled my guitar out and even in the darkness of the room, the first guy who played was standing there and could tell within 2 seconds of me grabbing it that was a Taylor and started gushing about it. "Oooh, that's NICE, what is that, the 810?" Well, no it's the 610, but thanks! Steph took a couple of quick pics before I started actually playing (flash on, the guitar looks great!) and then set the camera to record audio when I got going (still didn't have enough space for the whole set, but got the first two songs and most of Temperature). There was some fantastic crowd interaction between songs, which you can listen to here. Got some laughs when I was talking about the inspiration to Tow The Bar, we discussed my guitar, and some folks got a little goofy when I was talking about what Temperature is about. Good stuff - you gotta hear it to really get the full gist. Right on. I was my usual nervous self before I went on (nervous knees, sweaty palms, fast breathing) but I always calm down once I get playing - and I was even more comfortable this time around. I even had my eyes open for most of the gig! Crazy. I plugged my guitar in this time and it still sounds weird to me, it's just not good with muted strumming and I do that all the freakin' time. Gonna keep it unplugged next time. Anyway, the first song was ok, some minor lyrical goofs and a couple of chord goofs but alright; Tow The Bar was pretty solid except for the very beginning when I messed up the chords as I was singing the first line; Temperature was decent as well - I think. I'm still getting better and I believe sounding better, though I still haven't played one song without at least one minor chord or lyric flub. Getting there. We stuck around for the guy after me - he came up with a big box full of something. Very curious. He put up a big tarp over the chairs and eventually went behind it - to change. It was very mysterious. He came out (finally!) with a cape and a mask on, grabbed the mic (with crazy vocal effects masking his voice), called himself Captain Rex and did a song called Who Do You Call? to a backing CD track, and it was off the charts hilarious. He was totally vamping it for comedic effect. He's from a comedy group called Howard's Dilemma, and it's really 8 different alter-egos of the same one guy. Awesome. I would've hated following him.
[click for larger versions - photos by Stephanie Oberlin]
Venue : The Fire - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 3-song set
Setlist : Into, My Sister & Her God, Stephanie Lynn
In Attendance : Steph & about 15 other peoples
Proof : digital photos, digital audio (partial of both Into & MS&HG)
Notes : Since my video camera crapped out after the last open mic, I've been avoiding doing another because I wouldn't be able to get pictures and audio at the same time... I know I'm anal, but that's the way it is. I finally got another video camera (used, on eBay!) and immediately planned on getting to the one at The Fire. It's another Monday nighter, so Steph can go, but I'd never been to it. Preparing to go (replacing guitar batteries, packing up cords and tuners and picks, getting dressed) I got around to checking out my cameras... I had fully charged both batteries a couple weeks prior and didn't use them, so I had figured there would still be some juice left. Wrong. Well, the camcorder battery was fine but the digital camera battery was shot... I immediately began to charge it, and it charges quickly so it was gonna be ok. But then I checked out the camcorder - the 'new' one. I was just going to get the correct tape in and cue it up (both the previous open mic performances are on the same tape). But then it started acting goofy. It would play, briefly, and then stop and say it needed to be ejected. And then the viewfinder wouldn't show anything when in 'record' mode. My original camcorder's viewfinder works but it won't play. And apparently now, neither will record. I spent a large amount of time messing with both. I was severely, severely bummed out. I had already used the new camcorder and it worked fine! Eventually, after Steph arrived I decided we were still going to go, and to ask her to just take a few quick photos and then hit the "movie" mode on the digital and record the rest of the gig. I thought one full song recorded would be better than not going. We showed up at sign-up time (as posted in ads and on their website) but of course the actual sign-up wasn't for another 45 min, thus making the start time more like 9:45 instead of 9. Ehh. Anyway, the guy running it was hanging out in the bar when I showed up (along with two other guys who were also there at the posted time to sign up). He seemed super laid-back, said he had to prep the room and put out tables & chairs (bonus!) and also said it was 3 songs. I had only rehearsed two! We hung out in the bar until the room was ready and then went in and sat down. Now, that room is already ridiculously small, but putting tables in makes it even more intimate and chilled-out, which for me is fantastic. There were maybe 10-15 people there and Nate (the host) eventually went up, played a few songs himself, and then we were good to go. I signed up 2nd - I could've went first but wanted to let someone else set the bar. (Incidentally, when I was there asking about the sign-up, Nate said "well, I can just sign you guys up 1st and 2nd, what're your names?" - and I just said Chris and I told the other guy Jack that he could go first and he agreed). Nate wasn't the best guitarist or singer, so that made me feel less incompetent, but his songs were cool. I was glad to see him sitting down and using a stand-alone mic for his guitar. Jack was real confident but he set the bar somewhere smack in the middle because he wasn't all that great. I went up and sat down and even though there was a guitar line, decided to use the guitar mic because the plugged-in sound of my guitar still bugs me a bit. Sitting down makes me feel so much more comfortable and I'm able to play easier and it just sounds better. There weren't a lot of people there, and it was really dark and hard to really see anyone in the crowd. The pictures Steph took are in "nightshot" mode, which uses infared, because I didn't want her to use flash and it was too dark for regular photos. They turned out cool - the shirt I'm wearing is actually very dark blue. The crowd was relatively attentive, I made it through all 3 songs ok, with minor goofs in each (both lyrical and musical). It turned out the digital camera had plenty of power to record all of my set, but I neglected to remove the 60-some pictures I still had stored on it, so when Steph put it into movie mode, it only had space enough to record the last half of Into and the first half of MS&HG. Damn. And it sounded pretty good, too! I introduced Into as "an ex-girlfriend song, sort of". I mentioned Huge Down Here in between songs 1 & 2 and promoted the website. One guy said "that's a great name" and I thanked him and said "take it how you wish". Lots of laughs. I did the dumb "but not up in Boston" joke yet again. He said something else (I think "so the girls up there just don't do it for you?") and I joked back with him ("exactly") and then told him "whatever you said - I didn't really hear you" with a big grin - more laughs and giggles all around. Good times. Especially getting to hear Steph laugh on the recording. :-) You can now hear a clip of that conversation in the downloads section! I introduced MS&HG as "a song about my sister, it's not a happy song. sorry" and then Stephanie Lynn as "this is a happy song, about my future wife - who's sitting right there". I think I heard some "awww"'s. Nice applause throughout. At least one "woo". MS&HG was the one I wasn't planning on doing, but thought I could pull off ok. Jack, the guy who went first, was handing out free CD singles of one of his songs and came up to Steph after I was done and said "Stephanie Lynn, I presume? This is for you and you future husband" and gave us a CD. Hehe. We stuck around for a few more acts. The guy after me and the 2 guys from a band that played after him were pretty good, but not horribly better than me. The super-crazy guy after them was completely nuts. He sang two songs a capella and ranted about all kinds of shit as well. It was highly entertaining. I unfortunately recorded only the tail end of his rant on the camera (after I erased some of those old pictures). In future I think I'll just ask Steph to take quick pictures before I actually start playing and then get all of the songs on the digital camera - and just make sure there's plenty of room on the memory card. My performance felt really good. One of the guys told me on our way out that he "liked my set" - sweet. It was by far my best gig thus far. The place was really relaxed, I liked the sound and it was quiet and small and I want to go back. A lot. I will.
[click for larger versions - photos by Stephanie Oberlin]
Venue : Grape Street Philadelphia - Philly, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 2-song set
Setlist : Lightning Strikes Twice, My Sister And Her God
In Attendance : Steph & about 40 other peoples
Proof : digital photos, 8mm video (both songs)
Notes : I've been meaning to get back to another open mic, but World Cafe stopped doing their Monday nighter for a little while (and it was 3 songs!) and The Fire doesn't always list their open mic on their website so it's hard to tell when it's happening - although both are now back in effect, of course. Mondays are easiest for Steph and I both to go, so Grape Street was the best one available, and it's really close. I'd never been to see their open mic (or case it out) so I called and got some info and decided to just go in cold. I didn't spend nearly as much time prepping or rehearsing for this one, either. It started off easy enough... I signed up in the 3rd slot and came back a little before it was scheduled to start (2 hour window between sign-up and start time). We got there and finally saw the room and it was cozy with big chairs and a nice little stage and only 2 people there. After a fair amount of waiting around, more people showed up but it still seemed pretty laid back. But there is a bar next to the room and there's no cover, so there were quite a few people at the bar. The host, Tom Gillam, did an intro and shortly thereafter started the show. The first guy did an a capella hip hop number that was pretty awesome. After he was done I went and talked to Tom to let him know who I was (per his request to introduce yourself to him as a new performer) and he was super nice and cool. He liked the HdH name and when he introduced me ("let's give it up for Huge Down Here!") he commented something like "and I think I know what that means" (and when I was done he said "another hand for huge down here... below the belt buckle"). As I was plugging in, a few folks laughed at the joke and some guy in the audience said "take it off!" I did the "but not up in Boston" thing again and deadpanned "...it's a joke". There was some delay as my guitar wasn't coming through the house PA; Scooter on sound (the drummer from Stargazer Lily!) asked me to step on the tuning pedal, so I did... nothing... he said "did you step on it once?" and I said yep... waited a second and did it again... and then it came on. I looked over at him confused and Scooter said "my bad" and I was good to go. The guitar was really loud to me, but Steph said it didn't sound loud to her. I guess the monitors were a bit loud, because I thought it was up way too high but Scooter kept it up there. I played LST again because it's one that's relatively ok for me to play and it has some real chords in there. heh. It went alright, I got through it more solidly than Steel City but still had a couple minor goofs. I got all the words right, I think. The guitar was sounding weird to me, real metallic and tinny if you can get my gist. The muted parts in the song didn't sound right, either. Kinda bums me out. And I was really hitting the strings with my knuckles, too. I did the "founding and only current member of a fake band..." thing again in between songs. The guitar was a bit out of tune and I tried to fix the low E. I said "the guitar's out of tune... oh well". Then I said "the first song was an original, this one I'm gonna try but I haven't played it live... it's about my sister." That song went better than I thought it might (I regularly goof it up when practicing it standing up) and I was kinda proud of that one. I had asked Steph what I should play second, and that was her request (she really likes the tune) and I was happy to play it. There were some minor glitches but it came off relatively clean. Rock and roll. I said thanks and unplugged. Peace. I felt like I definitely did a little better than the first time. The pics are pretty dark because it's not well lit and I wouldn't let Steph use the flash. We stayed for the next couple of performers and by that time, the place had gotten a bit packed and was crazy with chatter. For the first few folks, people were pretty respectful and quiet but it got a little loud. There was a band after me called System Failure (3 guitars, djembe, vocals) and they were pretty damn good. I told the singer "great job, man" as he came off but I didn't think he heard me... as we were leaving, somebody called out to me (we were already outside!) and it was that singer. He said "hey, thanks for coming out and playing" or something like that. It was kinda weird, but I appreciated him seeking me out and I told him they were great and good luck at their gig on Friday which they were promoting. I had a good time. It starts pretty late for a Monday, though. I was only the 3rd act but not long after I got done, it was already 10:30. I really liked the host and the room was nice and it's super close to my house, so I hope to go back semi-regularly. And always go on early. PS - My video camera broke while trying to watch the tape and I didn't get another one until August 29th, when I finally was able to view my performance. LST, not great. MSAHG, not bad. Guitar sound, shit.
[click for larger versions - photos by Desiree Haneman]
Venue : Steel City Coffeehouse - Phoenixville, PA
Gig : Open Mic, 2-song set
Setlist : Lightning Strikes Twice, Temperature
In Attendance : Steph, Desiree, about 30 other folks
Proof : digital video (LST only), digital photos, film photos, 8mm video (both songs)
Notes : It was raining like hell all night. I went on 7th, right after 5 mediocre solo acoustic folks and one awesome trio (bass, drums, electric guitar) of 17 year-olds who freakin' rocked. Extra Crispy was their name. How do you follow that? I signed in as HdH and the host said "up next we either have a band or somebody with a really great name..." and made some remark about the meaning of it, which he interpreted as being a little dirty. I chimed in and said "...as in, but not up in Boston". I had to repeat it because I don't think he got it. Then I let him know it was just me. He confirmed by saying "if your first name is Huge, then come on up" - he was trying to get things moving, but Extra Crispy was still breaking down their gear on stage. There were a couple little screw-ups in LST, minor chord change goofs and a small lyric drop. I totally blanked in the middle of the second verse of Temperature (between the 2nd and 3rd lines) and I just kept playing the verse riff until it came back to me. Otherwise, the music in Temperature was fairly solid. I didn't say anything before I started the first song. In between, I said "I am the founding and only current member of a fake band called Huge Down Here. That was called Lightning Strikes Twice. Obviously. This is a song about sex." Some guy sitting right in front of the stage to my left said "alright!" and a few people laughed, and then I went right into Temperature. A lady to my right thought it was over after the lull right before the second verse and started clapping. I laughed and said "thank you" as I kept going on with the song (I forgot the lyrics right after that!) Steph took video on my camcorder and Desiree recorded LST on video with my digital camera while she took her own pictures on her own camera, and then she took more pictures using my digital camera. I kept my eyes closed most of the time. I blew a hole in my pick-holding finger when I had to have hit the strings; I didn't even realize it until I came off stage and sat down. I think it must have been at the break in the "wiping your footprints off me" line in LST. I was surprisingly un-nervous, but still a little shaky. It was a whole lotta fun. Not bad for a first try. We're gonna have to do that again.
Check out these old HdH "gigs" & "setlists" that weren't really either.