We are back! We got back to the US on October 1st. We had an amazing time in Germany. If you want to check out our touring stories, you can look at our Facebook page, where I did daily updates. We even came home with a lovely new odd bird from one of our listeners.
We also played our first show back in the US on Sunday. Here's a recap for you in case you missed it:
October 10, 2021--Show recap
We're playing today at Gallagher's, which is a new-to-us venue (it's definitely not a new venue; I'm pretty sure it's a Huntington Beach staple). I've never even been there, not even to see a band. When we walk in, I immediately feel trepidation. We are way not cool enough and way too folky for this bar. This bar is dive-y. This is not a snobbery thing. I like going to dive bars to see bands or have a drink, I'm just reticent about actually playing dive bars. We have played dive bars before and we have never gone over that well. There was one in particular--the only bar I've ever been into that was so gross I didn't want to touch anything--where I was pretty sure people were going to start doing that thing where they yell at you to get off the stage. The energy coming from the crowd was that hostile. We had no business playing there (I'm still not sure what the person setting up that show was thinking, to be honest). Not every artist is a fit for every venue.
But we are here and it's supposed to be an acoustic singer/songwriter thing, so I'm being optimistic. It's a pretty standard format--bands each get a half-hour set, with ten minutes to change over. The first band is scheduled at three and then we are supposed to go on at 3:40. We get there at about a quarter to three and the first band, The Brother Jonathan, is doing their sound check. It's four guys-a lead singer/guitar player, a bassist with a gorgeous stand-up electric bass, an electric guitarist, and a percussionist. They end up starting a little late; there's a lot of them and so I think it took the sound guy a bit to dial them in. And they sound fantastic. Really tight, gorgeous harmonies, and really cool songs. They play a Hoyt Axton song that I haven't heard in ages, and that's right up our alley. This makes me relax a little bit, because even though we don't sound the same as bands, we make sense being on the same bill. And people are into them, so at least on Sunday afternoons, this is a venue where we fit. We talk a bit after their set and they are also very nice people, which is awesome.
We play next and it feels pretty good. I think touring helped us get a real jump in the quality of our performance. There's things you can only fix in front of an audience--performance things, not musical things. And when you're playing with only a day or two between shows, you're able to focus on and fix those things a lot easier than if you're next show is in two weeks. Anyway, I get thrown a few times during our set by people just kind of being there, which always mucks up my playing, but I'm getting better at not getting distracted and at recovering when things do go a little bit to hell. (Audiences can really distract me--it's a failing of mine. I play a lot better when there's no one to see me--which is a claim that I can make but frustratingly never prove.) I do feel a little bit all over the place tempo and meter-wise and I'm pretty sure drummer sitting at the bar is judging me a little bit (it's okay Mr. Drummer--I'm judging me too!). Overall it's a good set for us. People seem to enjoy it and Ron's leads sound great and we feel really together vocally.
Bobbo plays the next set. Neither of us was aware that the other was playing this gig until a couple days after we booked it. We've just done a bunch of shows together and now our first show in the US is together. We are shockingly not tired of each other's faces or music. Bobbo of course kills it. He lets me come up and sing harmony on a few songs with him, which is always fun. At one point when I'm up there (I think it was for "Jealous Kind" but I don't actually remember what song), a woman comes up to tip him. She is dancing in a way that is definitely meant to be seductive and she licks the money before tossing it into Bobbo's pile of tips. (This reminds of a story that my dad used to tell me about when he worked in a bank and guy came in to make a deposit and pulled the money out of his underwear. The moral here, as much as there is one, is that cash is filthy, you never know what someone has done to it before it gets into your hands, and hand sanitizer is your friend.) Funnily enough, for all that I say audiences distract me, this dancing woman does not faze me. I can be singing a song I don't even really 100% know and have never really practiced and pretty much nothing will throw me. Put a guitar in my hands and the whole damn song would have been toast, even if I knew it cold.
We are able to stay for a few songs from the next band, Angelkiss, before we have to go. Their singer has a killer voice and I dig the songs and I want to be able to stick around and hear the rest of their set (and everyone else playing after them), but it's a work night and I worked six days last week and I've started having a bit of a nausea spell, so I need some air. Some days my body just doesn't want to play nice and it really puts a damper on my partying lifestyle (like I said above, I am a decidedly uncool rock star.)