This was a tough gig in several ways. We were booked to play for a summer camp in North Philly for about 140 kids and counselors and we were asked to play outside near a pavilion at a school’s playground. We drove onto the site, found electricity and started to set up. My brand new PA head didn’t turn on. 140 urban kids waiting to hear a band and we’ve got no vocals or my instruments. We tried everything so I had to drag out my two channel guitar/vocal cabinet and I plugged my guitar and my vocal into it and it seemed to get enough volume to start us off. During the show, Nick and myself were switching Wayne’s vocal with mine and my guitar and my mandolin back and forth. How professional. It, of course took our attention away from the show.
The show itself doesn’t work as well in a camp situation as it does in an assembly. The kids are not as focused, the counselors don’t have the same clout as teachers, and it is the summer. I did think the group did quite well for the situation, counselors got up and danced (and that encouraged the kids) and there were pockets of girls and boys who found ways to interact with each other, so we did our best to keep the music moving. I’m just not sure that the presentational/historical aspect had much affect, and these kids have no idea who Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, etc. are (nor the fact that they are radically important black artists).
The kids and staff were very polite and everyone enjoyed the afternoon’s show. Still, it was work. Thank goodness for working with my professional friends in the band.
Driving up from Philly was a bitch, though, and I was beat when I got back after 4 pm.
Off to Riegelsville for a spotlight set at Andy’s Jam. I’m dragging for this one.