Thursday, January 7, 2010

Robi's rehearsal notes from 1/6/2010

Funny how introspective we get after a gig. The Jovita's sweat had hardly dried before the e-mails started flying with commentary, notes, suggested fixes and all manner of Maoist Cultural Revolutionary zeal to Improve Ourselves.

Don't get me wrong. None of us thinks we're the finished product, but to read some of the notes you might come to think we'd had a stinker. Far from it. As ever, the thing that hangs me up is e-mail tone. There isn't any. I have to keep reminding myself that nothing anyone writes by way of post-performance commentary is intended negatively. No finger pointing here. Sort of like the American homeland security system of post-Christmas 2009 ("25/09" anyone? "25 or 6 to four?" Anyone? Anyone?). No finger pointing there, either; just the collective guilt of a job badly done as pointed out by some president or other and his henchmen. Spokesmen. I meant "spokesmen." Except we didn't miss all the little signs of Impending Nigerian-Borne Scrotal-Bomb Doom. No. Not us. Not The Late Joys. We rock. And we rocked on the night, too. And in this new front on the war on terror, no one's gonna lose his job over such trivial matters as a missed chord change or missing all the hints that some freak kid is gonna try to blow up an airliner with a bomb strapped to his whotsits.

But I digress. The best part of a week or three-days' worth of e-mail song commentary is getting back to the rehearsal room to play all those ticklish little numbers that, pardon the running theme, we might have ballsed up if ever so slightly. A shift in tempos here, a minor adjustment to a drum riff there, a couple of measures of "E" thrown in for good, uh, measure. Plus some promising work on new tunes. It all makes for a satisfying night's work.

And what were those minor irritants, song-wise? I point fingers at you, Ghost Town (a little slow). Fixed! A Tilt of the Cap, a Handshake and a Beer: What happened in the transition to your bridge? Who cares, now that it forking rocks. Honestly, were you a little flat? No longer, what with that improved bridge-to-break shift and improved dynamic. Who else wants some? You Won't Talk To Her? You're so good maybe you will talk to her. Haymarket Rain a little wet behind the ears? One snap of the towel and it's back on track!

Of the newer material we jumped back into a new RP tune, PopMusicSuperRockStar, and reviewed Secret Agent Man to get Shane's horn in. As it were. And Scottie's got a new one, Summertime, and the living is easy. Our diabolical plan is to add a few songs each session, get ourselves up to three good sets worth of material in the coming six weeks, then unleash it all at a gig near you. Maybe we'll reveal ourselves at that March 6 Jovita's gig. We'll see.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rockin' in the New Year at Jovita's, Jan. 2, 2010

Still getting used to writing "2010," but there it is. Or here it is, more like. And there we were, back at Jovita's on day two of the new decade. What a great way to give it a rousing kick-start.



Big crowd on hand for a sort of homecoming with Brad Martin adding his trumpet to our lot (he's the grainy fellow in the white shirt in the photo; working your way to the right it's grainy Scottie then grainy Robi). Besides the massive collection of Brad and Shane friends, special hellos to Margaret Hoard, who says she has a request for us for a future gig, Lori Randall, who just happened to be there, and Irene White, who's back in Austin after years of lallygagging in Los Angeles! And big thanks to everyone who turned out, ate and drank, listened and danced, and shared in our early-evening knees-up.

For those of you who missed it, we played a 90-minute set (see song list below) and, if we learned anything, it's that we need to take a break at some point in the middle of a set that long! I suppose I could regale you with some details, and devils certainly took up residence in many of the details on Saturday night. But, honestly, the band gave its all and then some. And we were, as Andy put it, "knackered" by the end of it.

I think we're caught between wanting to please our audience by keeping things moving-moving-moving, go-go-go all the time and finding a way to build dramatic sets that fulfill the audience's -- and our -- expectations for a good, fun performance without losing our edge (or, in my case, my mind). The last thing any of us wants is to see our fans' attentions drift (Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!). On the other hand, who wants to look at a bunch of sweaty, fatigued Late Joys battling to maintain 90-minutes of high-octane rock-n-roll? (Don't answer that!) I'd love to ascend to Springsteen levels of fitness and play three-hour gigs and leave it all on the stage, and I plan to. But that's something to work toward -- what are New Year's resolutions for, anyway? In the near-term, next time we have 90 minutes under the PAR cans, look for a brief "half time" respite by the boys in the band. We'll come chat with you!

Set List

Weight Of The World
Windsor Road
The Long, The Short And The Tall
Waterloo Sunset (The Kinks)
Wigan Pier
Like Big Girls Do
Town Called Malice (The Jam)
Twisty System
Fascinated
Everybody's Going Away
That's Entertainment (The Jam)
Place: Away
A Pretty Little Dress
Honestly
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (Mr. Lowe, of course!)
You Won't Talk To Her
All-Night Pillow Fight
A Tilt of the Cap, A Handshake And A Beer
She's Got a New Spell (Mr. Bragg)
Dresden
Haymarket Rain (Express)
Ghost Town
Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (The Buzzcocks)