Friday, December 18, 2009

The Carousel Lounge: December 17, 2009

The Carousel Lounge stunned us as we loaded in. Pleasantly. The stage area was clutter-free, neat and all the power outlets worked the way you think power outlets are supposed to work, without having to hunt along yards and yards of cable to discover: no outlet. Yes, it's still dark and murky at the back of the club (in deference to the plastic elephant, I suppose), but the ceiling-height Christmas tree worked fine as a source of illumination.

Usually there's a happy hour act, or at least there's been one in the past, but not last night. So in went Andy's drums, and the rest of the stuff, and we set up at our leisure. The regulars at the bar (big, old pick-up truck = barfly mode-of-transportation of choice) are the nicest in town, nodding hellos and politely holding doors open as we lugged in the gear.

The set went well, too. Nothing like playing a tight, 45 minutes worth of music to a rather large and appreciative crowd (special hellos to Andrew S., my parents, Katie L. and Shawn P. (go, Street Team!), Shane's friends and Scottie's entourage). Patrick did the set list (see below) and it worked really well, not least when I broke a string on the Rickenbacker and, thankfully, only had two songs left, both of which are acoustic guitar-friendly. (Thank you, String Gods.) The snappage occurred at the end of Everybody's Going Away, but I'd planned on swapping to the Gibson for the following Jam tune, anyway, lucky me. Sorta.

Oh, that tune: That's Entertainment. I think this is the second time in three gigs where I've completely lost touch with the words of the song. It's like having an out of body experience during an out of body experience. I praised "the smartest band in Austin" afterward, as the other four managed to keep going through what turned out to be an extra, lyric-less verse and several verses of word/synapse misfires and some sung gobbledegook as cover for my blanking on what I was supposed to be singing! I know why I went up, too. Mea culpa...Hank Schwemmer, a long-time fan of the band wandered in during the song, and I am always happy to see him in the audience. Not so brilliantly, I thought about looking for a way to incorporate his name into the song and, of course, as soon as I thought that, I forgot where I was (the first time) and gargled my way through a line or two before I recovered. The song's not hard, it just has a lot of words and it's imperative that I think about the first line of each subsequent verse in order to stay on track. Sure enough, as we entered the final verses, I reminded myself to pay attention and not lose focus as I'd done when Hank walked in and, bam! I went up again. This time it lasted for that extra verse...good thing the song only has verses and choruses. Its lack of complexity (easy for me to say) means we can survive an empty round (uh, or two!). At least I got the outro right and we finished nice and tight.

I dug Place:Away, too. We've set it up now to cut Scottie loose on lead guitar and, seeing as he had friends in the crowd, he really cut it up even better than usual. Makes for a grand finale, that song. Andy put in a stop in the final verse that we'd rehearsed and rejected, but Patrick kept playing bass through it. Shane, Andy and I were talking about it afterward. Total silence hadn't worked in rehearsal the night before because it killed the song's momentum. But with Patrick carrying on as the only accompaniment to my singing, the song's climax felt really punchy. We'll have to recreate that in the rehearsal room to see if it's worth keeping or if our satisfaction last night was just "performance-enhanced."

Kudos, too, to Shane on Windsor Road and Big Girls, where he's adding riffs and runs and more and more color. Now we'll take a couple weeks off and then back at it. New songs to learn and some more to clean up. Feels good.

Oh, and my mom snapped some shots from her front seat cabaret table. You can review the evidence here.


Set List
Weight of the World
Windsor Road
The Long, The Short And The Tall
Waterloo Sunset (Kinks)
Wigan Pier
Like Big Girls Do
Town Called Malice (The Jam)
Twisty System
Everybody's Going Away
That's Entertainment (The Jam)

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