Tuesday, August 30, 2011

RLG Tour pt 2

The band shares a laugh as we set up @ The Garage, Charlottesville

Blog # 86: RLG TOUR PT 2

Friday morning we woke up and found out that our gig in DC at Gin and Tonic had been cancelled. Apparently they had to do some 'emergency renovations'. This meant we had saturday off. We had a quick breakfast and drove to Charlottesville, VA; hometown of our singer Katie Vogel. This drive took a while cause we hit some serious traffic around Baltimore and DC. I did all the driving for the tour, with Deric sitting shotgun and Katie, Noah and Ross sitting nice and close in the back seat. It was amazing that we fit 5 people, plus gear in my Jeep Liberty. I still think there was some magic involved in squeezing all that stuff in. We ended up arriving at 'The Garage'(Charlottesville VA) just 30 min before we were set to play. A quick set up, 15 min trumpet warmup and a CVS 'Redbull' energy drink run and I was ready to play the gig.

This was the one I was most worried about for the tour. 'The garage' is that; a one car garage turned into a performance stage, with a hill across the street where people passing by can sit and check out some music. I thought that it would be a glorified street performance, but that wasn't the case. A lot of people turned up and seemed to really like our music. I even sold 7 CD's there. One funny moment happened when someone wanted to buy a CD between songs during the performance. I sold one this way, and when more people approached I had to tell them to wait til we finished playing. I felt the music was received well and that 'The Garage' was an awesome venue. We even did pretty well with the 'tip jar' that was passed around. I hope to play there again next time I come through Charlottesville. Afterwards the band and Katie's sister Brittany hung out and had some beer and pizza. Then we headed back to Katie's mom's apt to crash.

Saturday we had the day off since our DC gig had been cancelled. We got a big breakfast from Katie's favorite Charlottesville spot(ate some serious biscuits and gravy). Then we went to the vinyard where Brittany works and had a wine tasting. I wish I could have had more, but I was still doing all the driving. Next we headed further out of charlottesville to 'the swimming-hole', to hang out and swim. It was nice to do a little hiking on a trail before arriving at the actual swimming-hole, which was a pool of water surrounded by rocks. I really like being out in nature and feel like it clears my mind and relaxes me. Everyone was having a good time swinging on a rope swing into the water while I snuck off into the woods to practice a little bit. As I snuck away I took a bad step barefoot and broke my third toe, it later turned completely black and hurt pretty bad. When we finished at the Swimming hole, we hiked back to the car and drove back to Charlottesville to get dinner and a beer, by this point I was starting to really have trouble walking: my toe was throbbing. After dinner we went back to Katie's mom's apt, had some more drinks and hung out. Brittany was nice enough to put ice on my mangled foot and take care of me.

Sunday we got up, got a quick breakfast to-go and drove to Baltimore. We arrived at 'Birkfest'; a house-show of many musicians each playing hour sets of music. Heard some great avant-garde stuff, snuck away to get some food and then played 10 minutes in my car before it was time for our band to play. I was finding the toughest thing about touring was practicing. Trumpet definitely requires some daily maintenance, and I was hard to sneak off and get a few hours in when everyone in the band wanted to hang and do stuff.

'Birkfest' was in Ross' friend's house and it was H-O-T. Probably the hottest place I've ever played. I was SO close to just taking my shirt off and playing shirtless for our set because it was so hot. I liked the space though and thought the whole things was a cool idea. After we played, we had to jet, because I promised Katie I'd get her back to NYC at a decent hour because she had work Monday morning. Thanks impart to my 'motivated' driving, we got back to NYC not too late. I couldn't find parking near my new neighborhood so I parked far away and took a subway to my apt, arriving home around 2:00am. Sleeping wasn't a problem that night.

I had a really great time on tour. I am really good friends with everyone in the band, but in spending 24 hours a day with them I got to know them even more and in different ways. For example I found out Ross is even goofier than I thought and loves to sing constantly. Noah really loves traveling and checking out everything in each town we visit. It was a lot of fun grossing out Katie in the car with our inappropriate talks and Deric makes sure we're organized and together, plus he's also super funny. Anyway, it was a blast, and I hope to take 'Red Light Growler' on the road again soon. Thanks to everyone that came out and saw us play.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

RLG Tour pt 1

From our Gig @ Milkboy, Ardmore PA
Sleeping arrangements in Malvern, PA

Blog # 85: Red Light Growler Tour pt 1

Got back late last night from our first tour with Red Light Growler. It was a lot of fun playin', hangin' and meetin' new people. I'll give a quick recap:

First off, before we even left, the band finished a rehearsal tuesday night and I headed home. Being slightly paranoid by nature, I made sure I walked by my car before I went in my apartment. Unfortunately my car wasn't there and I came to the quick realization that it had been towed because I'd parked in a 'no standing' area. (I had naively thought "no standing" meant "no loitering" because I'd never seen a sign like that, I had just moved to this new neighborhood). I headed to the brooklyn navel yard to get it back. I was there for 3 hours and almost didn't get my car back because the insurance card in my glove compartment was out of state(PA) and expired. I spent a few hours on the phone with my the insurance co. and my parents and was eventually able to get them to fax an updated insurance card to the Brooklyn Police. Getting my car back just hours before we headed out for the tour. (and spending $340 in the process). I Didn't sleep so great that night because I was pretty wound up from the ordeal.

Wednesday I woke up, practiced and then met up with Katie(voice) and Ross(keyboard) and drove down to my parents house in the suburbs of philly. We met Deric(drums) and Noah(bass) there, ditched some of our stuff and headed to Milkboy Coffeehouse in Ardmore PA. Upon arriving I was pretty nervous. The place looked totally empty and I was thinking we were going to have an lame first gig playing to an empty room. But 5 minutes before the first band started playing a ton of super young looking college kids(or at least they said they were in college) showed up. We later found out they were there to see the band that opened for us. I wasn't really into the band that opened for us, but there were young and hopefully if they keep at it and get better. They were a jam band and played 30 minute songs: not really my thing. Even though we were on the schedule as playing at 8 pm, they put us on at 10:00(pretty late to start on a Wednesday night). This is standard Bullshit you put up with when going on tour. I thought my band, Red Light Growler, played pretty well and musically I was happy with the gig. I also talked to some people after the gig that seemed to like the music and I sold a few CD's. We headed back to my parents house, had a few beers and talked until 3am.

Thurs the band chilled at my parents house. I practiced up in my room. We swam in the pool and got cheese-steakes for everyone(they wanted some real philly cuisine). Afterwards we headed to Philly to play at Chris' Jazz Cafe. I play at Chris' every 3-4 months, so I was looking forward to doing this gig, however upon arriving found out that Chris' Air conditioner had broken several months before and they just had a series of portable AC units and fans. I think this hurt our turn-out a bit. Usual there is some sort of build in audience at Chris', which is great to win over new fans, but our audience was a bit small this time(probably only 20 or so people). I was really happy to see my boss/friend there as well as grandparents who came out too. This gig felt a little random, because we played a few jazz standards with Katie singing lyrics along side Red Light Growler tunes(which are more rock songs). We didn't have enough 'Red Light Growler' music for a 3 hour gig so we threw in a few other songs. Genre switching felt a little weird, but I think it worked.

NEXT PT 2....