Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Saturday at the Skylark

A few weeks ago my friend Emilio asked me to play bass with him. Initially I said no. I've done it twice before and, well, it's just not my cup of tea. He writes catchy songs, but they need some polishing. I did, however, bum rush my way onto the bill. I checked the Skylark's website and saw Jessie (who books the place) only had Emilio's band and no one else. I asked if my other band, the Scheme, could hit it, and she said yes. I then hit up Scott's (from Doll Test) band, Paul Lynde Fan Club, and they said yes.

Presto! Instant show!

But Emilio kept asking. I figured I'd help out a bro and said I'd do the show. We had a rehearsal with his drummer Chris, and that was that.

I got to the Skylark and PLFC was just sound checking. They're a little three piece band, guitar, bass and drums, and all have varied histories. Scott on guitar, Lisa on bass and Jim on drums have all played with each other not only in PLFC, but also in other bands. Somehow, someway, they're all connected with Rusty Willoughby and Flop, but if you're interested, that's what Wikipedia's for (I think!).

Lund Bros. first played with PLFC two years ago tomorrow (!) according to our Myspace page. At that show, Rusty took a liking to us and we all started to hit it off. Back at that show, I remember that they were spacey and weird. Jim, the drummer, did the lead vocals and it was kind of trippy. We played with them again down the road and their music had evolved quite a bit and was getting much cooler.

This time around, I unfortunately didn't get to see all of PLFC's set as an old friend came to see me and he and I ended up chatting the whole time. What I did notice about the set was that they were SUPER loud! And they had a song called Cookie Monster. But, as always, they were engaging and entertaining, what little I heard/saw.

After PLFC came Emilio's band, Static Radio. I set up my gear and went to chat with my friends Rich and Aaron. Strangely enough, my friend Rich is married to an Erin. And both Rich and Erin and Aaron have daughters named Eliana (or Ellie for short), and I work with two guys named Rich and Aaron. But they don't have any daughters named Eliana (or Ellie, for that matter). It's kind of weird.

I saw Emilio take the stage. I finished up my chat, then took the stage too. I plugged in and figured we'd be ready to go.

I was wrong.

E tuned his guitar. He adjusted his volume, first clean, then distorted. Then clean. Then tuned. Then distorted volume. He tuned some more. I swear to God he must have fiddled with his knobs for about 3 to 4 minutes. Thankfully Charlie, the sound guy, had some sense about the situation and kept the house music on. Leaving us hanging with silence while E primadonnaed about would've been quite uncomfortable.

The whole time, I tried to maintain a professional attitude about it. After all, I took the gig with E to kind of showcase myself, to let others know that, yeah, I can do two bands in one night, why not? The Unsmashable crew was there and, though they know I rock with the Lunds, I wanted them to see I was more than a one trick pony.

So yeah, it was a ego trip. Guilty as charged.

Anyway, pretty soon, my pro attitude turned into a bad attitude. After E was finally done noodling around, what did he do? He said he had to piss, so off he went!

I couldn't believe it. At this point in the night, we should've been on his second song, but we hadn't even started note one yet. It was quite lame.

Finally, after draining the main vein, E was ready and we did some faux rock/pop and tried to manufacture some feel. Or, at least I did. I'm pretty sure I mailed it in on the performance. I could feel my rep draining away as we played. E puts on a decent show. People eat up what he does, for the most part, but as a member of his band, I just wasn't feeling it. His music is far too simple for me (does that sound arrogant?). It's catchy, sure, but he would benefit SO MUCH from a co-writer or some songwriting classes (this from the guy who doesn't write music!).

I did some backing vocals and tried to rock. Chris is a different drummer live than in rehearsal. It's weird. He's a total pansy in practice, but on stage, before I put in my earplugs, he was banging the heck out of those drums. He did pretty well. E was a sweaty wreck. I did ok. I could've gone home afterward and not even needed a shower. I got sweatier today getting my blood pressure checked at the doctor's office (his office was HOT!).

After the SR set, I felt a little bad. All the Unsmashable crew was off for jello shots at a Halloween party and weren't even going to see the Scheme go. And I felt bad for mailing in a performance. Not very pro of me, I suppose, but if there's anything I can't stand, it's faking enthusiasm and passion for something I feel nothing for.

Onto the Scheme!

I first wrote about this band in July of 2007. We fired up rehearsals on a regular basis in March and now we're finally playing out. Leading up to this show, me, David and Gregg met 3 times in 7 days to iron things out. The rehearsals were pretty good and we were feeling fairly confident.

The first thing that was not right, I suppose, was Gregg left his bass drum pedal at the rehearsal space. He had just told us he'd had that pedal since he was 13 or so and it was his baby. Luckily he got a replacement and we were able to play.

So we started and things went pretty well for the first two songs, You Let Me Go and Holly Wouldn't. Those are pretty easy crowd pleasers and we played them well. Lots of singing for me and it was fun. Though, I had a bit of a cold and after singing a little for Static Radio, I was starting to feel it.

The third song we did, Nothing Left in Common, is a barn burner and is hard even in practice. It's a song that has me considering playing with a pick, and if I'm considering playing with a pick (which I suck at and simply cannot do), you know it's fast. David started it a click below supersonic and off we went. I could barely keep up, but I made it through.

After that came 2:18, one of the newer songs Gregg and I had learned. I had a couple flubs on that, both in timing and vocals. For whatever reason, there's a part in that song that I can sing just fine by myself, but with the band going and David singing, all bets are off. I think I butchered it pretty well, but the show must go on, right?

Overall, we played decent. Wasn't our best performance, but people seemed to like it. Poor Gregg had some equipment failures (bass pedal blew up and something happened to his high hat too) which sucks. I hate it when something out of my control goes wrong at a show. But, overall, I was pretty pleased with how we did.

I didn't get paid for either gig, but didn't expect to. Emilio did mention if I played with him, he'd give me the $$, but I didn't ask for it, though a few sheckles might have been cool. And David has paid for the rehearsal space since day 1 and has never asked for cash, so I figured what we earned, he'd keep.

All in all, a good night. I had a few friends there. I got to play two sets in two bands, which, though fun, isn't necessarily something I'd want to do again. I started getting ear fatigue through my plugs in the Scheme's set and had a hard time hearing my vocal notes and cues.

Up next? Nothing on the horizon except...

LUND BROS CD RELEASE! Keep your eyes/ears peeled!