Here We Go A-Berrying

As predicted, I’m a bit bleary and hoarse this morning, having played a show last night. However, I think it was worth it.

Guitarist Larry Ellis and I arrived at the venue at 6:30 for load-in; the show was scheduled to begin at 8, and we’d go on at ten. The venue was extremely comfortable, and the staff were very helpful and welcoming. Musicians will get it when I note that this is the first venue I can remember playing that actually has reserved parking spaces for the bands. That’s beyond cool — I’d want to play there again just for that.

After hanging out a bit and leafing through a recent issue of Shindig that I had found in my van, I wandered down the street and had a flatbread pizza. I tucked in a bit quickly, so I now have a slightly seared lower lip — patience is a virtue.

I got back just in time to learn that the opening act didn’t show, so things were moved up a bit, with Columbia’s Hill Vegas taking the leadoff slot. The trio incorporated elements of jazz and “jam band” sections without ever devolving into the sort of mindnumbing wankery that too often afflicts those genres. The rhythm section’s interplay was tight and ferocious, and I’m looking forward to splitting another bill with them in a few weeks.

After shifting some gear, it was our turn. Our buddies from Albatross were gracious enough to let me use their kit to save set-up and teardown time between sets. It’s a nice set, with really warm tom sounds. The only issue I had was that because of my height, and particularly because all my height is in my torso, I towered over the drums and felt like I was reaching down a lot.

Artist's Conception. Also, I'm not that good.

Artist’s Conception. Also, I’m not that good.

Our set went well, I think. The mix in my monitors was almost good enough to distract me — as I’d play, I’d hear a guitar lick or keyboard run and think “I never realized he was doing that.” It was odd but cool. As it turned out, we ran out of time before we ran out of set list, and had to cut a couple of tunes, but that just gives us some stuff to break out next time.

The audience response was warm and kind, and I got a chance to talk briefly with some of our friends from Thee Knee Jerks, Craig & the Bodietones, and Release the Dog before Albatross began to whip the crowd into the usual frenzy. At that point, discretion became the better part of valor, and I left some of the other Berries behind and headed back to Mondoville so that I could at least be semi-conscious for this morning’s classes. It’s a shame — Albatross is a ton of 1971-style rock fun. I hit the bed about midnight, and “slept in” til about 5:30 this morning. Still, I think I’ll crash early tonight.

As I said — a good night, even with an early morning.

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About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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