strep throat, a week of normalcy, and 3 gigs in 2 days

Whew! Exactly one week ago my family returned home to Minneapolis after a great vacation, and these past seven days have been a rather jarring transition back to my life of stay-home-Dadding: 10-hour days of solo parenting, brain-boiling heat forcing me and the kiddos to huddle in the air-conditioning, the daily management of groceries, laundry, etc. All this, plus my never-ending bout with strep throat (which I've been fighting since July 12th)...I'm out of penicillin, and I think I'll need to get more. Hack hack hack. In September these tonsils will get ripped out once and for all, and I'll be a happy non-toxic man (albeit with a completely new voice...that could be good or bad, depending...). This weekend was a welcome return to my musician lifestyle: three gigs in two days.

GIG ONE: On Saturday afternoon I played in South Minneapolis at the Hosmer Public Library World Music Concert Series. It was a solo acoustic performance, and probably one of the toughest, least-magical gigs I've played in recent months (and of course, it was the rare gig that folks were taping and videoing). It's the nature of being a human being and a performer...for some gigs, you're just not gonna catch the wave. I don't say this to whine or complain, or for you to feel bad for me...I'd just like to communicate the reality of playing shows. Here were some of my struggles:

+ I forgot the chords to my opening song "Falling Down"
+ I forgot the words to "Armyman" and had to switch around the verses to get everything in (for some reason, the audience loved this song, despite the botching)
+ my strep throat caused great hacking in the middle of "Librarian" (I had to turn away from the mic and cough my brains out as I kept on strumming through the song)...and I ended up skipping a chorus
+ I started "the Sound of the Cicadas" only to disintegrate in a huge fit of coughing after the first few lyrics....I stopped and started the song over at the top
+ I sang the lyrics of "Bright Funeral" in the wrong order
+ my key of A harmonica blew out a reed, preventing my from playing big hits in the key of A like "Tape"
+ general lame-i-tude on songs like "747s," "Nothing Old Nothing New," and "Snare"
Despite my numerous troubles, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves, and I soldiered on. There were some nice moments, such as:
+ the re-started version of "The Sound of the Cicadas"
+ "Every Town's The Same," which I could play at every show and never get sick of it
+ "Ashes"
+ "Minneapolis"
+ my closing song, a cover of Peter Case's brilliant tune "I shook his hand"
(speaking of Peter Case, check out his new blog entry remembering a hitchhiking experience he had in 1974 when he got picked up on the highway in California by the founder of the Church of Satan!)

GIG TWO: This morning I was the guest musician at Spirit Garage in Minneapolis. The folks at SG have always been huge supporters of my music, and it was nice to be back with them's been a couple years since I'd been there. My friend Joel Setterholm joined me on keyboards, and I enjoyed hearing his harmony vocals and great piano playing on songs from the Heartland Liturgy, as well as a furious version of "Meeting Nixon" as the sermon illustration!

GIG THREE: this evening I played a full band show at the Patio Concert Series hosted by a suburban Salvation Army Corps. It was a stunningly beautiful evening, there were about 60 people in attendance (pictured to the left), and they were very friendly and responsive. 'Twas a blast having the entire band along for this show...we were loud and rocking, we made up the set list as we went, and everybody was nailing it. It felt really good to have a locked-in and confident musical experience after my rather scattered library gig yesterday.
Highlights of the show included:
+ "Narthex" as always!
+ a blazing version of "Workin' my Committee" with a perfect band ending!
+ our closer "No More Walls" with triple harmony vocals!
+ a Calexico-worthy version of "I Want Jesus to walk with Me"
+ our Buddy Miller inspired opener of "Gospel Verses"
+ a perfectly nuanced "The Serious Kind"
The band was (l-r) Joel Setterholm :keyboard and vocals; John Kerns: bass and vocals; Troy Alexander: drums; and me. Check out the suburban expanse unfolding behind us! I love playing with these fine musicians, and it felt good to be loud, grooving, and precise!

Time for bed...tomorrow I plunge yet again into a full week of serious parenting. No more gigs until two weeks from now out in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I'll let you know if I conquer the strep throat by then!

Some records I've been spinning lately:
RAY PRICE: The Essential Ray Price
THE RAINMAKERS: The Good News and The Bad News
ROONEY: Calling the World
THE CARS: Complete Greatest Hits


Bridget Delaney said…
I'm so glad a nice LiveJournal user with a paid account syndicated your blog for me over there. Though, it only posts the first little bit of your blog. . .

I don't know if there's an option in blogspot for what show in syndications or not. . .

It'd be nice to read it there with the rest of my LJ friends' posts, but either way, at least I don't have to REMEMBER to check blogspot at times. . .
Bridget said…
Just in case you once again needed to prove that you're an infp -

As I do not know if this HTML will work in comments:"

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