Rocked through tonight's 45-minute set for the Carousel, and it went rather smoothly. Uh, too smoothly? This, of course, disturbs if only because you want there to be some kinks in the works so you go into the gig feeling as if you still have work to do. No coasting! As they say in the theatre, "Bad dress rehearsal, good opening." On the other hand, it feels good to crank out a dozen or more tunes as fluidly as we did.
Of course two things diminish my concerns. 1. Patrick suggested that we probably didn't sound as good as thought we did. Oh, thanks, man! 2. He's right. Or rather, I think everyone knows he can do better (I speak grammatically; I'm not pointing out any flaws in Patrick's playing!). We all can always do better. That's what I love about making the music. Especially in the (dim) crucible of a live show. Speaking for myself, I know I'm not going into tonight's gig hugely overconfident. Uh, or overconfident at all. There are always way too many variables for that! Makes it exciting. Keeps ya young. But given the sounds last night, I'm looking forward to a good night of music. Let's say I'm confident and leave it at that.
After tweaks to a couple of songs in the set, we picked up Haymarket Rain and started some reworking. I swapped to rhythm guitar (acoustic) and Scottie picked up the lead. We slowed it down a little. I don't know. It's not done, so it's too soon to tell if it's any better than the "express" version of old (it's not the "local" version we've done when sans drums, that's for sure). Patrick suggested it was somewhere in between. Which is where I get uncomfortable. The last thing I want to do is smooth it out so much it's just all soft underbelly and no spiky dangerous bits. It needs teeth. Spines. It is, as my wife Michelle pointed out, a song about teen angst, after all.
Plus I realized in my insomnia last night that one of the things I like about the higher-energy version is that it recalls the sound and energy of a train clackety-clacking down the tracks; the fast train to heartache. Or it should! Maybe that's a clue to the rhythm shift we're searching for: Something driving, energetic (I like to say, "crisp") but not as out of control as before. It's early days on this one: That train's only just leaving the station!
*A note about these rehearsal notes. In an effort to expand my writing for this blog, I'm going to post about rehearsals, recording sessions, gigs and anything else in the quotidian life of the band. Those interested in the deep dive, dive on in!