Interesting gig on Sunday evening, starting a potential regular family restaurant series. A steady gig is a steady gig.
El Toro Loco is along RT 309 above Quakertown, a mere 10 miles from home. The folks are attempting a family ‘event’ to go along with the step dancing, bull riding, country music, Tex-Mex food, oh, did I mention beer?
This is the first bar gig I’ve had in a long, long time. Brings back some memories, especially at the end of the evening. I got there at 4 pm for a 4:30 start. One woman who was vacuuming let me in. Two people – me and m’lady. Scouted out my sound and space with rap on the bar speakers. Some staff drifted in and at 4:30 they opened the doors to an awaiting group of families. They were surprised, and had to hit the ground running.
I played a set of ‘listening’ music as folks settled in, ordered and fraternized. It’s not show time for me, and that’s cool. Nice way to be in the background, play well and start to connect.
Did I mention the mechanical bull? Oh, yes. A mere cowpie toss away from me is a ‘corral’ with an inflatable mat and Robo, the Bull. A gent in a cowboy hat runs the cow, and instructs (through a microphone) the kids on how to ride and encourages them. That’s cool. So he started up, with dads, kids riding. I got to play Pinto Pony during one of the ride. (Gonna have to work up my cowboy stuff).
Haven’t had to deal with this stuff since Allentown’s Castle Garden with Steppin’ Out!. Those were amazing gigs.
Kids loosened up as they finished dinner and came over and joined in. That’s the prime time for me, with lots of one on one with toddlers and older kids. One 6th grade girl came with her dad, and requested (and joined in on) some of my ‘hits’ like Bear Hunt, etc. I was surprised that a girl of her age wanted the kids stuff, but I’m actually honored that she holds those tunes close as she matures. Powerful stuff.
The line dancing kicked in over in the cow palace area, so things thinned out at the end, but gave me a chance to play some more adult stuff. One dad said, “Do you know any Little Feat kids’ songs?” I replied, “At this point, who cares?” So Dixie Chicken became a egg-shaker song. Good, too.
I packed up after a good time. The bar folks fed me, and I had a beer, then I asked for my pay.
Surprise, surprise (as Gomer Pyle would say), the manager said I had agreed to two free Sundays to balance out the increased advertising. Boingggg…. This one snuck under the radar. I settled for some cash, less than I had planned on, trying to honor my former self agreed to. And I left with that ole bar gig feeling.
This can be a good gig for me, and I’m now aware of the flow of the gig, what’s expected of me, and how I can expand on my playing in this laboratory. And, I need the money, and the chance to play for kids.
I made it back to Godfrey’s for the open mike, reconnected with friends and then packed it in.
I look forward to next week’s El Toro gig, knowing the manager knows that I’m worth getting paid each week, and the staff knows to be ready. ……cowboy tunes this week….