The Berries were #3 on a five-band bill in Real City last night. We met at our campus rehearsal space yesterday at six for load-in. As is my custom, I managed to make a wrong turn, which got me there a little later than I had planned, but still with enough time to get my gear into the bar and look for dinner. That was also when I discovered that I had left my stick bag in Mondoville. Fortunately, I’m sufficiently slovenly to have left a couple of sticks in the car, so I was covered as long as I didn’t have any drops. Advantage: Mondo.
Justin (the bassist) and I were accompanied by a couple of Mondoville alumnae to a noodle house near the venue. I had the spicy ramen, which lives up to its billing without being crippling — I’d recommend it. Justin seemed pleased with his as well, so we made our way back.
We got back in time for the last few numbers in the first band’s set. Lost Wages is working the Uncle Tupelo side of the street. They also brought a small but passionate crowd, especially for a band going on at 8. It set a nice upbeat tone for the night.
Next up were Pluto Wilson, who delivered an energetic set of jam-rock, with some very skilled individual players and interesting interplay between the three musicians. Their cover of Tears for Fears’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was a nice choice as well.
After they wrapped up, we got our gear on stage. It’s not a huge stage, and we’re a five-piece these days, so I gave myself a bit less space than I needed. That’s my own fault — I should have been more attentive, but we were hurrying and I left myself in a kind of cramped, awkward position. Made it through the set anyway, though.
Actually, it went pretty well — we had a good time, and the audience seemed to as well. Part of this was due to a very nice mix from the house sound guy — thanks, Lee! — but we’ve been practicing a lot of late, and I think it showed. Once again, we were running out of time before we ran out of set list (we had 14 songs ready for a 40-minute set), so we cut a tune on the fly and finished strong with a cover of “Pictures of Matchstick Men” and out own “Garden Girl.” Better to have too much material than not enough, say I.
After clearing the stage we chatted with some of our beloved members of Berries Nation, and then the other guys had to head home because of job and family responsibilities. I stuck around for the rest of the night, in order to pick up our pay at the end of the night. This meant that I was able to enjoy the bluesy hard Americana of the Mississippi Kites, who were ferociously tight, and then our friends from Hill Vegas, who played a fine set of jazz-funk which culminated with an unexpected and joyous cover of “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Hill Vegas wrapped up at 1:45, so as two a.m. daylight savingsed to three, representatives of the bands met with the staff manager. That was when we got the bad news that we wouldn’t be getting paid until everything was closed out. Had I stuck around for that, I probably wouldn’t be getting home until dawn, so we’ll be receiving a check later this week.
I got turned around as usual heading home, so I didn’t get home until a bit after four, waking about half-past noon. I’m still a little sleepy-eyed, but I’ve got all of Spring Break to recover. That’s the middle-aged rock and roll life.