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Rocktoberfest Post-Mortem...


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The Rocktoberfest—at least, our part of it—is over. Yes, it was a good show. Played a lot of people’s favorites, and still managed to concentrate mostly on rock music (with some blues and ragtime thrown in, of course). Larry (sax) was great—a saxophone is ideal for rock ‘n’ roll, and I think Larry would like to play more with us. And while Larry said he liked the rock ‘n’ roll songs best—heck, they all do—I thought some of his best leads were on the more “countrified” songs.

“The Dog’s Song” and “Angel in Chains” are still the hardest songs for me to sing; I’m hitting the very bottom of my voice register on both. (Of course, that doesn’t matter much with “Angel,” because that’s country death metal; it’s okay for the lyrics to be delivered in a flat monotone. It’d be nice, though, to have a lot of reverb on the voice mike when I do that—for ambience.) And some folks told me afterwards “The Dog’s Song” was their favorite of the ones we did, so I do need to be able to sing it better. Perhaps doing it in a different key would help.

For the rest, I could tell people liked Odd Vindstad’s “Simple Questions” (I could see their toes tapping) and “Pole Dancing for Jesus” (that one has been popular absolutely everywhere it’s been played)—and of course the Southern Pigfish anthem, “For Their Own Ends,” which is a consistent hit. Stan Good’s “Un-Easy Street” makes ‘em think even while their toes are tapping, which is neat. Sold a CD at the concert, too.

Did I mention it rained? (In fact, as this is written, on Day Two of the Rocktoberfest, it is still raining.) It rained pretty good (though the weather was nice and dry while we were setting up). I think this year, every outdoor gig we’ve had has had rain (we’ve been under cover, though, so it didn’t matter that much); when the weather’s been nice, we’ve been playing indoors. Go figure. The plus side of the rain—which started back up midway through our performance—is it drove the folks who’d been walking around outside into the performance tent, where it was dry, and increased our audience substantially. (Some people did brave the rain to come see us, which was real nice. And some folks said they’d even gotten up early to come, which I think may be the height of dedication.)

I had hoped we would be a hard act to follow, and we might have been. The band on after us—a quintet of older blues musicians—were tight, and quite good on their instruments, but I think we were more entertaining. Yes, those guys could play really, really loud, and had really long (and interesting) lead breaks, but we had lyrics. People act surprised that all our stuff is original; I know we’re a little odd in that regard, but I see no reason to want to play covers. And as the writer of original music, I’d like to see more performers doing my stuff, and stuff by other unknowns, rather than already-famous stuff by already-famous people. I’m just not sure how to arrange that. Deathgrass is proof, I think, that one can do original material and still have an audience and fans.

Next, the Train Set. There’s quite a bit to do for that one (October 1), and it’s occurred to me (finally) that two weeks is not a lot of time. I think we’d better be prepared for bad weather, too. I have been predicting an early fall all year, and I think it’s here. So much for that global warming. At least, I’ll have excuses to play “The Termite Song” and “Love Trails of the Zombie Snails,” both of which talk about the causes of global warming, as audiences huddle and shiver in their winter clothing.

Music at the “Rapture Room” tonight; shares of our Rocktoberfest pay to distribute to the band—and the Writers’ Guild is amenable to meeting on a different night (freeing me up Thursday nights to go play music at the Tsunami Grill in Wheeler).

Joe

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