Friday January 2, 2009
Well, we did it. We're back. And we're not too much worse for the wear.
We hadn't even
seen each other (except once) since October 11 when we last performed together.
Yet somehow, we went in and pulled out a show that was not only good
"considering" but a solid show to be proud of by anyone's standards.
The performance area of Wonderroot is basically the basement of a non-profit creative arts organization in Atlanta. I'd be lying if I wasn't a little concerned when we walked through the door. As it turns out, the environment couldn't have been more ideal for a band reboot. In fact, when I asked Christy (our hostess) if we could "make some noise" after we set up, she said "Do whatever you want". That's my favorite answer.
and I started jamming. Joe joined in at some point with some cool, bluesy, jazzy
stuff. At some point, I stumbled across a riff that instantly caught Frank's
attention and before long, we had all joined in on it. I think I'm going to try
to call the song "Wonderroot". We'll see if I can pull off lyrics that might
work with that title. Right now, I love it and it's another to add to the
handful of new tunes of my own that I'm thrilled about finishing.
freezing down there. The door was open beside us with the January wind blowing.
Josh and I both kept warming our hands. We were supposed to be the fourth band
of five to play but we were ready to go so we went ahead and started. Within a
song or two, the place was so packed you could hardly move. It was amazing how
fast it got full.
We had no set list or anything so we just "wung" it.
The ol' default starting of "The Only Way"
and "Sometimes I'm Sam" felt a little shaky. Joe's tone was a bit dry and thin
sounding right at the start. By the time it improved, the humidity and
temperature change from the sudden influx of bodies had knocked Frank way out of
tune. Our friend Mary made it in just at the beginning of "Sam". I was happy to
We hadn't done "Into My View" in a while so that was fun to bring back. The "Something Unseen" ending that we've added is (almost) always fun, too. Maybe we'll have to do it again at the TV recording next week. Who knows?
"Sadder Day" was pretty intense. Joe went
wandering a bit during the solo so I did a harmony to a part that wasn't
actually being played but I doubt anyone else noticed. I know it was my best
performance of the evening, although I think the band as a whole did better on a
few of the later ones.
Joe suggested "Tonight Never Happened" so we did it. See how simple it all can be? It might've been the best live performance of that one ever. I'm not sure but it felt really, really good to me.
I chose "Waiting For The Siren" next. We probably should've done this after "Phony" but it was played almost perfectly and felt good so I'm not complaining. "I Won't Stand Still" and "Phony" were almost perfect as well. "Phony" rocked. What can I say? Say I'm bragging if you want, but it did. The crowd roar at the end seemed to justify my opinion even if Frank and I collided near the end, effectively knocking me out of tune for a few measures.
Joe brought out "Happy
Here And Now" next. This was one of the best performances the quartet has done
of it. For some reason, Joe cut out one "Happy Here And Now" during each of the
first two choruses. Luckily, Josh, Frank and I caught it and covered it. I don't
think anyone else noticed. I was thrilled that a few people (some of which had
never even seen us) were singing along. That
Photographer Ken Lackner, who's become a friend of ours, didn't make it until just before "Happy Here And Now" so we added in "Rebel Rebel" to make sure that he got what he needed. I really thought that we might be retiring that song but you know what? Last night was easily the best we've ever done it. So maybe it stays a bit longer.
Overall, I was impressed that all of us managed to get through the show without smashing any of our heads on that super-low ceiling.
(Mary's note: See Chris's awesome chin-up below)
It was good to be
back. It was even better to know that despite the major, life-altering changes
I've personally been through lately there is something consistent, powerful, fun
and life affirming that I can cut loose and enjoy.
Set List For January 2, 2009
(with Chris' entirely biased "star ratings")
1. The Only Way ***
2. Sometimes I'm Sam ***
3. Into My View / Unseen ****
4. Sadder Day ****
5. Tonight Never Happened ****
6. Waiting For The Siren ****
7. I Won't Stand Still ****
8. Phony ****
9. Happy Here And Now ****
10. Rebel Rebel *****
Thanks to the
Futureshock crew for inviting us out. Thanks to everyone that had never seen us
who stood there rocking, smiling, getting into it and encouraging the ham in all
four of us. Thanks to Jonathan and Christi from Wonderroot. I hope we get to
come out and see you again soon.
All pictures by Amanda McKay. Copyright 2009.