Sunday, May 13, 2007

Last night at the 4th Ave

Olympia. 66 miles from my front door. About 60 minutes to get there from here. So many things I'd rather be doing than driving to Olympia.

But it's not about me. It's about the music. Or something like that.

So I hopped in the family truckster and made way for Olympia (why do I always want to ghetto it up and call it Holympia???). It was an uneventful drive other than I always turn a block before the backdoor parking lot and have to circle around a bunch of one-ways to find it again.

Last night it was all about us and our pals Llama and unknowns (to me anyway) the Crying Shame. Llama was already there when I showed up. Rusty, Jim and Scott were all set up and it was just a matter of time before the show started.

If you haven't seen Llama yet, you should check them out. Rusty's this wiry guy with stringy hair who is left-handed. He plays guitar and sings and when you see him play guitar, you'll be intrigued. It takes a few moments to notice, but he doesn't play a left-handed guitar; he plays it strung standard, just flipped over. In other words, the low E is away from him and the high E is closest to him. That causes his right hand, his chording hand, to play chords upside down. It's very weird. He's very diminuitive on stage, but he performs very well.

Scott on bass is very solid with his pickstyle playing and excellent backing vocals. Evidently he is in 3 other bands (fronts Doll Test, plays guitar and sings in Paul Lynde Fan Club, and plays rhythm guitar for the Riffbrokers) so he's quite the busy dude. He's the first guy from the crew to have approached me last fall when we played the Sunset together. He's very humble and down to earth.

Jim plays drums and he looks nothing like you'd expect. I joked with Sean last night that Jim looked to be the guy that would do your taxes in April. But he's quite good behind the kit. Very peppy player and always plays appropriate to the song.

Together, the three of them have a great group of pop tunes. Rusty's jangly guitar and Scott's backing vocals are probably the most notable parts of the songs, along with the actual songs themselves.

Once again, Llama played great, they brought people and we all had fun.

We got on stage next and had some fun. I played my Sterling for the first time in several months (at least with the Lunds). I've been saving it for Sunday mornings when I Rock For Jesus. But, after playing with Conservative Dad and hearing/seeing their bassist's Sterling with AWESOME TONE, I was inspired. Unfortunately, I didn't dial things up and had a few technical difficulties with sound cutouts and whatnot. Eventually, I narrowed it down to my compressor and I killed that for the rest of the night.

Overall, we played pretty well. I felt pretty lively up there, though, as usual, I had some screwups here and there. And, note to self, no more scissor kicks. I keep crunching my nuts when I do that...

As we played, people actually came in from the cavernous bar/gameroom next to the stage. We had the Llama crew standing up front and singing along. That's always cool. We hope to set something up with them in the next few months or so.

I also got my best compliment ever. It was sweet and very humbling. Heather from the Riffbrokers was there (as was Nick) and after our show, she came up and said that I was one of her bass heroes. Me??! Quite flattering and ego-boosting, if I must say.

With all my video posts, I brought my camera for the first time in a long time. I set it up in front of the sound man and got some video, but a few tunes were blocked by the freezer door I was next to. I'll weed out those moments and get some new Lund Bros. up soon.

Last up was the Crying Shame. They were a 6 piece with bass, drums, guitar (electric), guitar (acoustic), violin and cello. You'd think it might be a train wreck, but they were very good and quite listenable, though I don't think they fit the bill very well. Their music was a bit dramatic, but also done with a sense of humor.

I didn't stay for the whole set of the Crying Shame, but did spend some time talking with the boys in Llama. It's so great getting to know them. They're all so down to earth and just nice, humble guys. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they're all in with better known bands than us.

Next up, rehearsing for us. Sean has 10+ songs he's going to do drum tracks on and I'll be adding bass in the next few months. No shows lined up for now, which, after 5 shows in 5 weeks, will be nice for a change. But, before long, I'll be itching to get out again, I'm sure.