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#14- Flannel High at Rusty's Surf Ranch, 6-12-09

Day two of the LA gig doubleheader was last Friday night on the Santa Monica Pier.  Put on my best $10 flannel shirt, big black boots, goofy woodsman's hat and rocked some grunge music with the boys in Flannel High.  For previous thoughts on the band, you can go here or here.  

The Power of The Warmup Gig
Our show last weekend at Griffith Park was really great for us, got a chance to go through the tunes outside the rehearsal room and get a good feel for the set.  We did manage to add a song since that show, but otherwise we had a good live run-through.  With a rehearsal in-between we really got to work out the kinks and go into this show at Rusty's feeling confidant.  

Brought the Big Ass Bass Rig this time, Ashdown head, 8x10 SVT cab, pedalboard, and P-bass.  I'm still jonesing big time for my dream amp, the new reissue SVT.  Have been trying to sell stuff on Craig's List but can't get anyone other than the "I'll send you a certified check for more than you're asking" scam runners to respond.  That even fooled me for a day until Kirsten set me straight.  One of these days it's gonna happen dammit, I WILL own one of these!    
Here's a shot of my Big Room setup, Ashdown head and SVT 8x10 cab.  

Funny, I got several kudos about my tone last night from some good, trusted ears, but I wasn't all that pleased with my sound from the stage.  I think I was standing too close to the SVT and it probably sounded  better from out in the room.  Also, we tune down a whole step to DGCF, so the strings are a bit floppy and tough to get to ring out properly.  But it can be done, and I was conscious of trying hit the strings in a way that would keep the flopping to a minimum.  I was at least aware of this, not necessarily accomplishing it.  
As I'll mention in more detail below, I did my share of flailing about with my right hand throughout the set.  

Alive, Plush, Cherub Rock, My Hero, Low, Sober, Medley, Creep, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Even Flow.  

Very similar to last week's gig, but we added in the Tool song "Sober".  Felt like a tight list with some nice segues.  I think the medley is really cool too, it's got snippets from Rage Against the Machine, Lenny Kravitz, Days of the New, Weezer, Green Day, Beck, and some other fun stuff that's not all that "grungy" but still very 90's.  Went over really well too, lots of singing along with all the catchy radio hooks, worked like a charm.   We got an encore with some "One More Song" chants from our peeps.  We hadn't played "Even Flow" for a few months but actually pulled it off smoothly.  Better than when we'd been rehearsing it I think.  Weird how that works sometimes, not overthinking it and trusting your memory to get you through a tune you used to know.  

Yacking WithThe Audience
We have an open policy in Flannel High about talking to the audience, so I end up intro-ing songs and chiming in between tunes much more than I usually do in other bands.  I really don't like my nasally voice in an MC role, but I'll make the effort with these guys.  We end up goofing around and being off the cuff, keep it nice and light.  We should probably amp up our Schtick Factor if we want to compete with the best of the tribute bands out there with all the goofy gimmicks and rehearsed speeches and whatnot.  Maybe we'll dive into some of that in the future.  Usually feels too phony for me to stomach though.  In the meanwhile, it's kinda fun to have some Jabber Power, but I'm glad I don't have to do this with other groups.  

It's kinda divey, kinda beachy, Just how I like a fun bar gig to be.  Stage is on the small side but it still works.  Sound is actually pretty reasonable in there considering it's a big box.  Bar is stage right, there is a pool table area in back where you load in the gear.  I like this kinda joint, not at all a typical pretentious LA club, just a down-to-earth beach bar.  Plus it's on the pier, so you just walk out the door and you've got miles of coastline in either direction, ferris wheels, carney games, the whole nine yards.  Total fun.  

The Band
We played pretty damn well from an energy and vibe perspective, not necessarily our best performance from a strictly notes angle.  In fairness, it was a Friday night show with lots of our party friends (including my brother Eric down from Seattle) in the house.  Let's just fess up and say we did some drinking :).  This is the kind of band where it's supposed to be a party, that's the mojo we're putting out to the world and it works well that way.  We didn't resist the cut-loose spirit at all.  And seriously, we really did play the set tightly, hit all our changes and segues, nailed the medley, rocked an unrehearsed Pearl Jam encore.  It was ensemble tightness despite a lack of individual spectacularness, at least on my part.  Dan did lay it down heavy on the drums, he stuck the dismount on the cool snare fill at the end of "Cherub Rock."  I couldn't hear Tony that well from my side of the stage, but it seemed like his solos were happening.  I do remember him nailing these guitar bits in "Creep" that had been sketchy in rehearsal, so that was cool.   Doug sang his ass off and played rock solid, his amp is on my side of the stage and I was able to lock in with him well, all booze considered.  

Slip Slopping Away...
I was a little on the sloppy side at times last night.  Was feeling pretty animated and got into the physical performance of the set, did some hopping and spinning and headbanging and rocking out.  Nothing too crazy, but I wasn't necessarily killing myself to be as precise as possible with my playing.  Right hand was pumping a little too hard on the picked stuff, especially "Teen Spirit" and "Cherub Rock".  The fingerstyle tunes went better, a little less flailing about, more well anchored.  I did nail "Sober" I must say, that song has a bass-heavy chordal groove that is super badass and crazy fun to play.  Got several compliments after the show on that one, and I knew in the moment it was going well.   

Vocally, it was very similar.  I do a lot of gang vocal, unison singing.  Some harmonizing but it's all kinda raucous bar-band stuff, not supposed to be perfecto.  I was a little late to the microphone in a few spots, probably didn't hit all the notes just right either.  Still, I do think it was "right" for the moment.  A fun performance I'd be willing to bet I would have enjoyed if I was in the audience.  

The Grade
Let's see.   Definitely was animated and energetic.  The technical playing was a little sloppy.  But there were some moments were it came together and was really great on both fronts.   Not my best night vocally either.  But, but, but, it still felt great.  All the intangibles were on target even if the actual execution was shaky.The audience seemed to love it  Tough one to grade.  Could be anywhere from a low C (if I wanted to rely on the technical aspects of the evening) all the way up to a solid A (if I wanted to lean on the showmanship aspects of it all).  Oh no, here it comes again, the compromise grade.  Ladies and gentlemen, it's a B.  

Next Up
My Own Machine this coming Tuesday night, 9pm at Molly Malone's!  We got rave reviews from a small but appreciative crowd at our last show, would LOVE to see some more bodies out for this one and keep building up the momentum.  I'm really proud of this band and think y'all some come check it out!  

Thanks as always for reading, love the comments and compliments that come my way, keeps me motivated.  If you're reading this from the Myspace or Facebook links and would like to be added to the regular mailing list, hit me up at sinjingiles@yahoo.com.

Seeya in a few days,