Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Down time, recovering from a busy weekend, and a shooting.

Recovering from ETB's Monday residency last night at Friends, wow that was amazing. But will get to that.

Today resting my body but been very busy on music related matters.

Charting out songs from 'Leap of Faith' album for use with Ocean of Stars. Putting that together has been very slow going, but at least when I'm bringing players in I will actually know how my own songs go. That will be a big help.

Also looking into album reviews.

Sending some my CDs to Rank And Revue Magazine, whom I used to be affiliated with as a photographer/writer from 2004-2006. That felt really good to be a part of back in the day, and I only stopped working for them because it was eating into time I wanted to spend working on my music career. Checking the website looks like a lot of the same faces. Awesome!

Anyway. Last night ETB @ Friends was pretty goddamned epic. Friends has been leaving the side window open for a certain amount of the night the past few Mondays and it's been helping our crowd immensely. If people can hear us from across the street, they will come across the street and check us out. You can't really hear us from across the street (or from the next block) if the window is not open.

Win/win. Hopefully they've made a peaceful compromise with APD about the noise. Tired of us getting the club slapped with a warning, or worse.

So yeah.

Friends filled up fast, and stayed packed. We played hard and loud for more than 3 hours straight before finally taking a break, the crowd was that good and we didn't want to lose them. We even got a request for "Armadillo Strut" which is usually a second-set tune, and even a face-melting 30 minute jam with "Green Diamond pt 2" thrown into the middle for some Pink Floyd-esque mellow psychedelia didn't scare the people away. Wow.

Got back up there and threw down even harder. Scott Kelly was in attendance for a few tunes. Do yourself a favor and look him up. It was almost 2am when we finally ended the night. We usually stop around 1:30. Then a guy from "an oil company" asked us how much for one more song. Eric asked me, I threw out $100 as a nice round number, and oil guy gets onto the mic and takes a collection from the audience for $100 into the tip jar for one more song. Wallets appeared like startled bats. Amazing!

We were totally spent, but still got back up to play "Little Wing" again. Knocked em dead. Great night!

Photo courtesy Felicia Molandes:

And I'm still scratching my head as to how the fuck we get away with playing as LOUD and as HARD as we do on 6th Street of all places. We play with the same volume and intensity as any band on Red River. But we do it on 6th Street, and pull in weekend crowds on a Monday night of all nights. We're probably the loudest band on 6th Street. And Eric has comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan, yet we play no SRV songs. Crazy! I don't know how we do it, but it's amazing that we can.

In other news the weekend was busy as fuck all. Which is good. Really good. Two gigs a night, two nights back to back. Good to be working that much, this has been a great month financially.

Last week Friday Arcana Mundi did an early set at the Elk's Lodge off of Barton Springs. Tim and Brett (backup vox) are members. We played well, tho I was feeling rushed as hell (had to run home before ETB @ BD Riley's later on).

In our constantly shifting line-up we had Brannan Lane on Percussion, but Mark Epstein was unavailable for bass that night. It's fuller sounding with Mark's bass and occasional guitar, but not having him there makes MJ Torrence (keys/vox) and I rely more on each other as well as Brannan's percussion, as well as alter our playing to fill out the low end a bit. Sometimes we don't even have Brannan either, and MJ and myself are on our own. Those gigs are a really fun challenge.

Hit it and quit it, I had to pack up and run before the set was over (we started late, but the people there were digging it).

Was able to park on 6th before the barricades, across street in front of Chuggin Monkey rather than on same side of street anywhere near BD Riley's. I'll still take it.

Setting up we realized Eric had forgotten our tip bucket (a big metal washtub with band stickers and TIPS in sharpie) so we had to convert one of Rob's drum cases into a make-shift tip jar. Worked like a charm.

Played a great set, really fun show. Made some good money as well, which is always good. Loading gear into my van at the end of the night -- I left it parked where it was, as manuevering through the still blocked-off street is like driving through a herd of cows -- I heard it.


Gunshots. 4 of them, and close. And due to the acorns that have been dropping on our metal patio roof for the past month, I had no reaction whatsoever. Look around and see lots of people ducking for cover.

Behind me at the corner of 6th and San Jacinto, cops with guns drawn arresting a girl as she got out of her car and immediately on the ground. Didn't know what exactly happened or who fired. But decided it was time to go. Ambulance on the scene and crime tape going up as I left for home.

Read the story online next day. Girl pulled out from parking on 6th Street, hit 2 people, and was speeding towards an officer. Who fired into her windshield. Wow.

Here's the latest: http://austin.ynn.com/content/top_stories/288939/apd--no-charges-expected-for-sixth-street-driver-shot-at-by-officer

Saturday double header was an early ETB set at Friends, then rush over to Hole in the Wall for a set at the Amplified Heat tour kickoff party. Again Friends was good now that they've been leaving the window open. Wondered if the fact that the UT game had just started would negatively affect our crowd (people watching the game are going to stay put rather than walk around checking out bars). It didn't. Was decent most of the night and then very good by the end of our 3 hour set.

Then the pack-up-as-fast-as-we-can shuffle. Hoping the UT football game by now ending wouldn't negatively affect parking for Hole in the Wall (situated right across from the UT campus). It didn't.

Good to see the Ortiz Brothers and wish them safe travels. Amplified Heat is hitting the West Coast for 3 weeks. Check them out, you will not regret it.

It's so weird to do a 40 minute set with ETB. We do so many marathon 3 hour high intensity sets, we're just getting warmed up after 40 minutes! But to cram 3 hours worth of energy into a 40 minute set really takes a lot out of me. Those short sets are more tiring to me than a 3 hour set.

Crazy. But I guess it's like being a distance runner trying to sprint. That, and already having played a 3 hour marathon previous to our 40 minute sprint was a recipe for fatigue. I was beat. Add onto that 2 shows the previous night. Sunday I was dead. But felt good still, if that makes sense.

Photo courtesy of Moses Blues:

Eric, Rob and I really have something special. We can feel it. The audience can feel it. It's a really cool thing to be a part of. And being a variable in the equation that converts a humble blues-rock band into a force of nature is really special too.

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