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Mad Noise, Gigging, Butterfly

Posted on March 18, 2012

I played three gigs in three nights this weekend.

On Thursday I finally got to do two things I’ve been wanting to do as a musician for a long time, and that is play in Berkeley near campus where many of my friends still go to school, and, split a bill with Mad Noise – good friends of mine who run what I think is one of the fastest rising local bands (and for good reason – they have a really tight and unique sound).

The show was at Space Lounge, which is a part of Saturn Cafe, that opened on Allston and Oxford Street sometime last year. For the first time, I was in charge of presenting the whole show, including setting up a bill with three acts, and managing every aspect (show start and set times?, sound guy?, doorman?, cover charge?). Fortunately I had Mad Noise on board before I even picked a date, which helped immensely. Firstly, I knew we could pack the house on any night because of Mad Noise’s pull. In the back of my mind, I also figured that if I had trouble dealing with the venue, Khalil and Chris (of Mad Noise) could help me out.

All of this turned out to be true. Chris recommended our opener Alex Simon, and helped me put together all the details of the show. Mogli, Mad Noise’s drummer would do sound, and we decided to nix the cover charge in favor of drawing a bigger crowd, which meant no doorman to deal with either. And we did pack the house. At one point of Mad Noise’s set I would estimate there were 70-100 people in the room, which was probably little more than 10×50 feet.

One thing that could have been better was compensation for the bands. We didn’t charge a cover, and I could not negotiate a cut of the bar, so we had to rely on merch sales. We sold one CD each so basically that meant no money. We couldn’t even get comped food or drink for the band. I think for next time we could get a better deal, since we’ve proven that we can bring a lot of business to the bar.

From our set Thursday at Space Lounge, Featuring Brendan Liu, and Cairo McCockran

Friday I did a solo gig playing background music at this art opening put on by USF’s law school. I expected it to be a lame, and was cursing myself for agreeing to do yet another free gig. It turned out to be pretty cool. The show was benefiting a food bank, and all of the art was hunger themed, and in the middle there was a break for performances of poetry and music. And there was as much beer and wine as I pleased to drink.

Saturday I played with Mari Mac and the Monitors at a bar in Alameda. The gig was fun, and it was nice to play for a big St Patty’s day crowd. The promoter who got us this gig is already trying to put us on some other bills, including a burlesque show at the end of April. I have a good feeling about this group.

Finally, in terms of my performances I definitely feel like things are getting better. I am getting more compliments when I play, and I am no longer embarrassed to take them. I am not sure if this because I am more confident, am noticing less “mistakes” in my playing, or I am just plain getting cocky. Or I could be drinking too much at each gig. I like to think, though, that I am getting better, and I could be going someplace with my music soon. Just like Mad Noise.

March News

Posted on March 6, 2012

The big announcement this month, is that I am finally putting together a show in Berkeley (March 15th at Space Lounge (Saturn Cafe)), and it is going to be huge, so I expect everyone to be there.

Here are the details:

8:30pm (doors at 8pm) at Saturn Cafe

no cover (sliding scale donation)

Mad Noise (Headlining)

First Day (Brendan Liu, Jacob Richards, and me)

Alex Simon

In other news, I just started my term of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA, working at Music National Service. Check out our recent feature on PBS (below), and feel free to ask me if you want to know more. The gist of our organization is to help musicians serve and impact high need communities, which includes bringing music education to underperforming schools, and bringing music and music therapy to children’s and VA hospitals and nursing homes.

Watch The Healing Power of Music on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.