Another mad dash to CT and back for $70.31 (and worth every dime). The Space, the Outer Space and the Space Ballroom are three pieces of an incredible music scene in an industrial park in Hamden. Steve Rodgers has put together a place for a vast spectrum of young and old folks to gather and socialize and, perhaps, catch a variety of music.
I was the feature set at the regular Wednesday Open Mic, a small ‘listening’ room next to a small bar. It turns out to be a fairly noisy scene, leaning on the folks trying to play on stage, including some of my good CT musicians who came out to support me. (I found out that a contingent of my friends opted for the Rosanne Cash concert in Fairfield. Who can blame them?).
Frank was handed the job of doing sound and emceeing, but was presented with an overused sound board that gave us problems that affected the evening. A mysterious boooom, mike stands that seem glued or slippery, etc. Noisy neighbors.
Rick Johnson led off with his fine picking and good songs and, later, Ron Anthony and Denny Collin did a very fine 4 song set before I came on. My buds.
It was a very small and scattered crowd to begin with, so I played to my friends with “Don’t Call Me Early”, “Santa Assassin” and “Zat You, Santa Claus”, with minor attention from the crowd in the next room. Then, for some reason, folks filtered into the room and sat at tables, and the focus shifted to new (and inebriated) crowd I now had to deal with. I did Giant, Rosie (two strong songs, but now in a barroom situation) and then went for the Irish a cappella – Tom Lehrer “The Irish Ballad”. The crowd reactive positively, and, though I screwed up a couple of verses, I managed to keep it short and nailed it in the end.
I followed with Kent’s “Giants”, complete with Thunder Tubes with two loose dudes at the table to my right. What followed was some pretty good theater, with humorous jibes tossed in. It worked really well. I had to call up my bar skills for this one.
I did “Smoking Babies”, “Lessons from Pete” to a diminishing audience, and broke a G string on the last tune (nature’s way of telling you to get off stage), and I wound it up. It was a strong set and I received some nice compliments from people I care for.
I played pissed, and that made a difference. The noise from the bar area and the quasi-sound system made for a really challenging performance situation. I was not amused. So, I aimed at my friends who were listening and then went into bar mode and used a different set of skills. (One earlier performer, a comedian, came up afterwards and shook my hand. He said he appreciated my humor chops. I responded that you just have to talk with them, something Gamble Rogers also shared with me.)
The evening was an amalgam of the good, the bad and the ugly. I enjoy the diversity and the challenge.
I headed out after the gig, thanking my friends for coming out to hear me play, and counted on the adrenalin boost to sent me home. Thanks to a really nice mix CD I made in April, a little Little Feat music and a gorgeous half moon low in the western sky, the drive home was spectacular and fast.