Sunday, August 15, 2010

Birthday Concert

Last night my band performed at a birthday party.  We didn't have to hunt too far to find this gig- it was the birthday party of our lead singer, Jarod.  It took place at a house out in the country up in Jackson county.  Our band is nameless at this point.  We had been calling ourselves Avondale, but after Jarod joined us a few months ago we felt we had become a different band and decided to change it, but we just haven't found the right name yet.  The members are me on guitar, Jarod is lead singer, Josh is on drums and backup vocals, and Jordan plays bass and sings lead vocals on some songs and backup on others.  We play a blend of half original songs and half covers, in styles varying from fast punk songs to reggae to arrangements of alternative and classic rock songs.  When I listen to music I will listen to about anything under the sun, but when I play with a band I mostly prefer music that is either fast and loud, or atmospheric and technically challenging. 

All of our musical gear is set up full time in my basement, where we practice every week. I spent the evening before the concert tearing all the gear down and preparing to transport it to the party location.  By the way, please click on all the following pictures and you'll get a larger version that you can see better.

Friday night, getting the gear ready to load into the trucks.

On Saturday, in the early afternoon, we stuffed my car and two SUV's full of musical equipment and took the 30 minute drive north to set everything up and do a sound check.  It was incredibly hot as we went about unloading all the gear and assembling it into a concert stage on the driveway.  Evan helped unload the trucks, then he went swimming in the pool in the yard not far from where we were setting up the gear.  Tom, who is Josh and Jordan's uncle and is one of our inner circle in the band, met us out there and helped with the roadie work.

We have a lot of heavy speaker cabinets and amplifiers.  It takes miles of cables for it all.  The drum kit, even when disassembled, takes up quite a bit of space.  We also had to set up lighting because it would get dark on us during the show.  We started by laying out a carpet and setting up the drums, then assembled the sound system, then moved on to setting up the guitars and all the microphones.  After it was all set up we did a sound check, testing all the instruments and adjusting the amplifiers so that all the sounds blended together properly.  After that we left everything sitting ready to go and everyone went home for a few hours. 

Unloading the drums.

Setting up the drums.

Tom helps Jordan set up his bass rig.

Returning in the evening, I went about setting up the lighting and as well as the video cameras and the audio recording equipment I used to record the show.  This time the temperature was much more pleasant.  The low angle of the sun created a nice shady area for the band and the audience, which numbered around 20.  Those of us in the band did some final checks on the gear, and then relaxed and talked with the party guests for a while.

In the evening an hour before showtime.

My guitar arsenal, ready to go.

We started playing shortly after 8:00 and over the next 45 minutes it turned from evening, to sunset, to darkness.  We had prepared a setlist of 20 songs that we rehearsed over the few weeks prior to the show, and played all twenty of them.  I felt like I played pretty well.  There was only one song that I made what I would consider a mistake, and I was pretty satisfied with how I played most of the rest of them.  We played for about an hour and a half.

This was when we first started, in the daylight.

Later, after darkness set in.

Playing the guitar allowed me a certain amount of freedom to kind of wander about and take in the atmosphere of the show.  I was looking around at the country scenery, the gorgeous sunset, and the moon, which hovered over us the entire show.  I watched the other band members.  I observed the audience, some of whom were our closest supporters and watched us intently the entire evening, cheering at the conclusion of every song.  I only knew a few of the people in attendance at the party.  Some of the guests kind of milled about in groups in the back, talking amongst themselves and listening to us more than watching us.  When it got dark we were in kind of an island of light in a vast darkness.  A number of tiki torches around the perimeter of the yard added to the ambiance.  All in all it was a great experience and makes all the time spent practicing and writing songs and dreaming about new gear well worth it.

Rock and Roll under a darkening sky and the moon.

Josh, Sunset, Jordan, Darren, and Jarod, partially hidden.

Me and my 1989 Fender Stratocaster.

A little blurry due to low light, but I like this picture of us talking about something between songs.

Thanks go to Lyndy who took most of these photos.  She sacraficed just enjoying watching the show to take pictures and shoot video of us all evening.

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