Gig Archives: 2008

(Disclaimer: this may be incomplete or inaccurate)

Saturday, March 1st, 2008
Played up in lovely Penngrove, CA with Fuzzy Cousins at the lovely Black Cat Bar & Cafe. We opened up for our pals The Lemon Limelights and it was a pretty good local crowd. Jenya whipped up some banana bread and hazelnut chocolate cupcakes and we sold it all. It's been a (pleasantly long) while since my last gig, and during the hiatus my "nervous callous" disappeared, but it still was fun and went well, even though I gashed my right thumb pretty bad the previous day and it hurt to hold a guitar pick.
Thursday, March 13th, 2008
Between the last gig (see above) and our gig on Thursday, March 13th at 12 Galaxies in SF we were both sick as dogs with this nasty ass cold. It was a miracle we were able to sing at all, but we stepped up and did the job, though Jenya had a long coughing fit perfectly situated between two of the songs early in the set. We realized ten minutes before starting that we forgot our fuzzy costumes back at the house. Oh well. Other than that, a good show. The bake sale was a success as usual. We opened for both Gabby La La and Mark Growden - Jenya sat in with him on a couple tunes along with Seth on bass - like a sudden band reunion right there on stage!
Saturday, March 29th, 2008
Sort of a repeat of two weeks ago, we played on Saturday, March 29th once again at 12 Galaxies in SF, and still recovering from a battery of secondary and tertiary infections from this lingering cold. This time though, we were one of many acts doing short sets as part of a benefit for Mark Growden (still recovering from bike accident injuries and coping to pay medical/life bills), who of course performed as well. And we remembered the costumes. And we only played our four favorite songs. And we managed to sneak away and get some yummy Taqueria Cancun vittles And there was a very large crowd, too. Jenya sat in at the end with the true Pinata reunion with Mark, Seth, and Myles. First time this group performed in this format in many years, and without rehearsal even. Just got up on stage and did it.
Saturday, April 5th, 2008
with The Fuxedos:
I was back at the Starry Plough (with a brand new sound system thank the lord) headlining with The Fuxedos. Opening the night was the always fabulous miRthkon with some new material, then the Murfreesboro, TN geniuses Juan Prophet Organization really kept the art rock momentum going until we got on stage and kinda went nuts. It was one of our better gigs, musically, and Danny was his usual unusual form. I was actually at the Plough all night the previous evening watching Jenya perform with Long Thaw and they killed. So it was a fun weekend pretty much living at the good ol' Plough.
Sunday, April 6th, 2008
with Hank Hooper:
Dren, a.k.a. Hank Hooper, puts on wonderful shows for kids and their parents. He had an event on Sunday afternoon, April 6th, at Rhythmix in Alameda and he asked me and Jenya to help out - I ultimately mostly did sound and lights but since I sang a couple songs on stage I'll call this a "gig." Dawn and Nils were also chipping in their performance talents - Nils even put on a costume and played the "pizza monster." Funny stuff.
Friday, May 2nd, 2008
It's getting too hard to book shows like these in formal rock clubs where the bottom line is all too important. Why do we have day jobs? So we can put on our own damn show! Nat actually rented out the Ashby Stage in Berkeley where we held this event, which featured a more relaxed setting conducive for listening, as well as utter control so we could have a full light/video multimedia spectacle. We rocked out with the new lineup and new material, and it felt great. Headlining was miRthkon, which kicked ass and really made use of the video stuff - adding a whole new major level to the whole show experience. Quite pleasing.
Friday, May 9th, 2008
Turns out a week later another such rental venue in SF was available - CounterPULSE. So we pulled out the stops again on another DIY venture on Friday, May 9th, right there in SoMa where parking/unloading was total utter hell. This time we headlined, which the wonderful (and even larger) R&B Free Jazz Gospel Supreme 80 kicked off the show. Hammond organs are so worth the haul. Man there was so much gear between all the musicians from both bands the place looked like a music store.
Friday, May 16th, 2008
with Solid State:
Had another one of those 24-hour stints down in Southern California. Orange County to be exact. Where? At a MetLife corporate party at the St. Regis Monarch Beast Resort & Spa - five stars! With which band? Well, it was a chunk of Casino Royale (me, Wes, Jamison, Scrote) and fellow cover band journeyman and guitarist extraordinaire Jon Axtell, all organized by singer Paul Jensen from Seattle's Dudley Manlove (Paul actually sat in on a Casino Royale gig up in Seattle several years ago). Anyway, we played the whole gig and never mentioned the name of the band as we didn't settle on one. Fair enough. Ultimately Paul/Scrote decided on "Solid State" which seemed perfectly fitting. It was a mix of AM radio hits from the 60's, 70's, and 80's, so I had to expand my repetoire a bit - finally played "I Will Survive" and "Dancing Queen" and stuff like that in front of people for once in my life. It was a swanky venue, and we got to stay there, and even got limo service to/from the airport. People kept referring to me as "sir."
Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
Our pal Annmarie is making a film about musical creativity and the Immersion Composition Society which needs funds - so we performed at the first of potentially several benefit shows. It was at the Uptown in Oakland, and had a pretty good lineup: the always delightful Freddi Price did his solo thang, then we did a quick, rockin' set (the fuzzy costumes made a hot evening even hotter), followed by the also rockin' Freak Accident (haven't seen them in a while) and wrapped up with the incredible Kehoe Nation (so energetic for late on a school night). Larry, the new owner/operator of the Uptown was super cool and showed us all the improvements he made on the club since he took over. Plus word on the street is the Fox Theatre across the way is opening in a couple months. That'll really change Downtown for the better. Fun random thing: one guy in the audience talked to me after our set - turns out he's from Seattle and caught us playing up there with Faun Fables two years ago. Even more random: Marshall from Minneapolis (of "Run at the Dog" fame - a band the deserves much attention) happened to be in town and showed up at the gig as well. He crashed on our futon later that evening after staying up till 4am eating pizza and talking music.
Saturday, July 12th, 2008
On that afternoon we headed up to Santa Rosa to play a benefit show to help offset medical bills of a poor sick doggie. I forget that when you play "out of the city" you get to play in clubs that are big, have great soundsystems and soundpeople, easy load-ins, free parking nearby, and clean bathrooms. Unfortunately it's still a club and not as many people want to spend a sunny Santa Rosa Saturday indoors. Great music all around, though, starting with our pal Lisa doing her solo act (Conception Vessel One), then Soulshine, then us doing a quick but sweaty set (that fuzzy costumes are hot!). Sweat poured off my head getting hair product in my eyes which burned. Following us was good ol' Mark Growden and the fabulous Earstu who organized the event. We left quickly as we had a whole recently-butchered lamb to pick up in Penngrove on the way home. Then we had a major tire blowout on 101. The shredded tire whipped around knocking the bumper halfway off and scraping the entire side of the vehicle. Luckily we were able to change the spare quickly with the aid of a nice cop who pulled over to help.
Thursday, July 17th, 2008
We had our CD Release Party (YAY!) at (where else) the Starry Plough in Berkeley. Opening the night was Brian Kenney Fresno who also sat in with us to do the guitar solo in "Overtime." We debuted our new epic "Orpheus" which was a hit. Wally and Nat sat in with us on "Chatterbox" (first time having that song fully fleshed out live instead of me/Jenya having to juggle all the parts ourselves). Twenty seconds before the end of that powerful epic the fuse blew on stage. Total giggus interruptus! Popped the fuse back in and played the coda anyway. Good crowd, well received, sold some CDs and cupcakes thanks to my visiting sister Lisa manning the concessions table. Then miRthkon hit the stage - they are sounding as great as ever. A fun night, a major milestone, and we hurried home to get to sleep at 2:30am as we were going to Yosemite the next morning...
Thursday, July 31st, 2008
with Solid State:
Back on the plane for another 24 hour adventure gig! This time me and the boys met up in Seattle to perform at the closing night bash of the latest Microsoft Techready conference - with thousands of attendees from around the world. We were the last act on the main stage that night. A stage, which I only found out upon arrival, was outside at the Bell Harbor, right there on a pier off the sound. And unlike all my other trips to Seattle to this point, rain was in the forecast. So be it. Other fun bands went on before us, like Tennis Pro and Dengue Fever. By the time we got on night fell and the rain/wind was in full force. The tent above the stage was wholly inadequate. Luckily we were mostly using rental gear. My keyboard (and my clothes) were completely waterlogged by set's end. It was a miracle none of us weren't electrocuted. The stifled panic and horror within me and my bandmates ended up creating a fun energy on stage, and we rocked it hard. We stayed at the Edgewater that night (our rooms actually overlooking the stage where we just performed) - the very locale of that fabled nasty Led Zeppelin/mudshark/groupie incident.
Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
with Secret Agent A-Go Go:
I played up in Tiburon with these cats. Another outdoor gig, this time on a sunny pier at the SF Yacht Club, overlooking the city just over the bay waters. Luckily we were all in shade by downbeat. Basically, this was yet another Casino Royale spinoff. House (debuting on bass with this core group - and nailing all the material) gave me a ride, making this a super easy gig in all aspects. Sliders and tacos for dinner.
Friday, August 8th, 2008
with The Fuxedos:
We performed as part of another ICS benefit at the Uptown in Oakland. along with many local luminaries like Val Esway, Ultralash, Stolen Freakhead (half Stolen Babies and half Darling Freakhead), miRthkon, and Goat Deceiver (a one-off band containing Michael, Dan, Wes, and Dawn, and I actually sat in on guitar for one of Dan's tunes). I gotta say it was a night of crazy awesome music, with a pretty good crowd to boot. This was the first SF Fuxedos show since the appearance on the Gong Show. We're gonna be world famous someday, I'll tell ya!
Sunday, August 31st, 2008
We played a very fun and sweet 40th wedding anniversary party down in San Martin. You can never tell with these gigs - you try to size up the situation (will they dance? will they hate us? will we be too loud?) and think it's going to be a difficult gig, but it ends up being a hoot - we played 3 long sets and people danced the whole time and were genuinely thankful at the end of the night. Plus they fed us good food, which is a nice bonus. Also had the full 10-piece band for the first time in a while, with Paul and Karina subbing up front and House on bass - a testament to all their extra effort that the band sounded as good as it did.
Sunday, September 14th, 2008
On Sunday afternoon, September 14th, we played the last slot on the big stage at the south end of the Alameda Street festival. It was rad, and we had a good crowd, kids danced, the sun shined and the music felt/sounded great. Several new band members and new songs debuted at this show. And it was only a 10-piece instead of the 11 piece behometh we've become (Jake couldn't make it). Kinda weird starting with my mellow/dark "Rotorua" piece considering it was an outdoor public event but it actually was a good warmup and I took an inspired solo. Also good: I got to park my van right behind the stage making for less anxious load in.
Friday, October 3rd, 2008
Sat in again as bass player for the "house band" at this annual benefit for breast cancer research put together every year by my Casino Royale cohort Susan Z - this actually being the 10th anniversary show. Like last year the event took place at the Larkspur Cafe (actually now the Sweetwater Station) up in Marin. The band was mostly the regulars I played with at previous such gigs (Wes, Jamison, Jude, Paul, Christian) played all kinds of styles of rock/country/show tunes - 33 tunes in all - backing up a dozen singers. Lots of talent and spirit up on that stage. Good, receptive audience, as you can expect. The only bummer was that it was raining sheets which, though we have been is desparate need of h20 in the Bay Area for month, is a pet peeve of mine - having to load sensitive amplification gear in the rainEh.. I shouldn't be so whiny.
Saturday, October 25th, 2008
Had another one of those crazy 24-hour out-of-town gig adventures. We flew down to San Diego to play a private event on a Hornblower party boat. After flying in, checking into our hotel, etc. we got lunch in the restaurant in the hotel lobby. There a roving magician practiced a few tricks on us. We soundchecked on the boat, which then left to start the event while sailing around in the water for a few hours. We were commanded to meet the boat back on the dock at 9:45pm. We sat on the pier waiting until the boat *actually* arrived at 10:45pm. Then they let everybody off before letting us on, so we performed to the stragglers, who seemed to enjoy it. The band was another random amalgamation of people: me, Wes and Chris were the old-school regulars (winging the backing vocals as none of the usual backing singer were on the gig)), with House, Steve, Paul up front, and Jeff the sub on sax. Everybody rocked it, especially Paul who was sick but manned up and put on a show. Flew back home the next morning.
Friday, October 31st, 2008
On Halloween we played the 7th annual Murder Ballads show at the Starry Plough with a zillion other bands. We had 15 minutes so we played four songs that fit the "murder ballad" theme. Two originals ("Code One" and "Orpheus") and two covers ("Oar" by Optiganally Yours and "John Wayne Gacy" by Sufjan Stevens). We really rocked it. We also brought lots of extra candy to give away for free as we didn't get as many trick or treaters as last year...
Friday, November 7th, 2008
Just like two years ago we played an annual red-tie gala fundraising event at the Neiman Marcus in downtown SF. This gig coincided with a Proposition 8 protest in downtown SF. Miraculously I was able to find street parking after a predictably hectic, confusing, and exhausting load-in. However I had to parallel park my van, in major traffic, on the left side of the street, in a tight space, on a downward hill. That sucked. We only had one horn - Jamison on sax. Steffanos and Susan were the singers tonight - for a second we thought Susan wasn't going to be able to make it but showed up at the end of the first set. Phew. We played almost non-stop between 7pm and 11pm which was terribly exhausting, with scant breaks to sample the amazing food provided by dozens of vendors all around the store. Load out was disastrous - me, Wes, and House decided the loading dock was way too crowded as everybody was loading out at this point (including 7 other bands who performed on different floors, and all the food vendors/servers, etc.). So we shlepped our stuff down the escalator to the main entrance. We got all our heavy gear to there only to find it was automatically locked by security by the time we were ready to load stuff onto the sidewalk. So we had to carry it all to the side entrance and load out from there. Lame.
Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Another double duty prog rock show for me (and Jon, for that matter). And at the good ol' Fishtank warehouse in Oakland. we dusted off the old 3PC tunes and put on a show - first one in a year. And the first show with my new guitar amp - which was mostly good but I was a bit distracted with the new tones. Then R & D went on and we pretty much did the same set as the last show, except for me playing bass on "Red Shift" (so Nat could play cowbell and dance). All kinds of odd time signatures were put forth, and the crowd of friends and old fans seemed to have a good ol' time. Plus there were peanut butter cookies cooked by our kind hosts.
Saturday, November 22nd, 2008
with The Fuxedos:
We played the Starry Plough, yet again, but this time with two bands we never met before. Opened the evening was the debut show of Party of Ten, who kindly set up this show for us, and closing the night was the circusy spectacle of Gooferman. We were sandwiched in the middle. During soundcheck everything worked fine, but somehow between then and us playing my guitar amp blew its fuse. Alex suggested something similar to what he once saw on MacGyver, which was to use the inner foil lining of a pack of cigarettes wedged in the fuse compartment to connect the circuit. Holy fucking shit it worked. However, two songs in my D string broke. Fuck everything! I managed to make it through the set but was on high alert the whole time waiting for my amp to melt or figuring out new guitar arrangements on the fly. It was a great crowd and they loved it and Danny was in rare form so it was ultimately a pretty good gig. We also debuted a couple new tunes (for the Bay Area version of the band), "Clams n' Flan" and "Froggy Mama."
Thursday, December 18th, 2008
with Treasure Mouth:
A large ensemble led by John Shiurba created live, improvised karaoke-style music to lyrics written on the spot by Beth Lisick and sung by Loretta Lynch. Improvised "pop" music is made so much better when key changes are enforced by a conductor, as it was in this case. Great "all star" group of people including all the above. The only bummer was the gig was at the Luggage Store Gallery in SF which is an awesome place but still parking/unloading is kind of nightmare around there. Eh, I shouldn't complain about such things. It was a fun night. Also performing was some awesome music loosely set to film by Citta di Vitti. Ah, the bay area new music scene still rocks.
Thursday, December 25th, 2008
with The Fuxedos:
It's becoming a regular thang: Karla LaVey invited us to play at the Annual Black Xmas party. And we got to play a rather long set which was seemingly entertaining for the larger late night crowd. Danny had a lot more new props. Hot tip to the band after us: I don't care who you are, how many people are in your band, and how small the dressing room is - make room for the other band to load off the stage, and don't spill beer on their gear in pre-gig excitement. Despite the above sentence it was a fun gig, though we played late enough in the evening to not make it to Tacqueria Cancun in time for a chorizo taco. So be it. I had a lot of random Xmas meals during the day anyway.
Wednesday, December 31st, 2008
with Solid State:
Hey! Another New Year's Eve gig! Now I'm really feeling like I had a professional music career over the long haul. It was with the Solid State version of the general cover band scene (me, Scrote, Wes, Jamison, House, and Paul flyin' down from snowy Seattle). And it was for a high-price ticket public party on the Napa Valley Wine Train. I actually had to shlep up there early to play "walk in" music for a couple hours as people filed in the main hall before boarding the trainI didn't have much time to prepare much outside of Zappa and Motorpsycho tunes converted into ample atmospheric lounge piano, and otherwise improvised on various fake book and original tunes. So I was super warmed up when the train returned for the main party, which was three hours of solid rock. Still fleshing out more and more material from the 70's and 80's. Played "Auld Lang Syne" in G major at the appropriate time one-handed, as the other hand was busy texting Jenya who couldn't be there as she was preparing for the trip out of town we were taking early the following morning. So once we played the last note I packed up and sped home. Enter 2009.

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