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Acoustic gigs


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I know a few of us here have (like Surfpup) have commented how enjoyable playing an acoustic gig can be. I, for one have been getting more and more acoustic jobs, to the point where it's almost too much and starting to conflict with the full band. But I'm going to keeping taking them whenever I can. The band jobs are definitely fun and more lively, but it's so much more work. With acoustic shows there is less set-up, the sets are looser (hence we can get away with almost no rehearsals), the songs are pretty basic and it's more intimate with the crowd. Many times we'll ad lib and change lyrics to a song we're doing to reflect what's happening in the venue. People love that kind of sh!t. [biggrin] The other night we were playing and some girl requested "Landslide". I played that song years ago and knew it's pretty simple but couldn't quite remember it at the moment. So we told he we'd work on it during the break. Steve pulled it up on his Ipod and I quickly worked out the changes. When we came back we announced we would play it only if she came up to sing! Of course she was thrilled. We pulled it off with a few minor goofs, but she and her friends had a ball with it.


But, none of these gigs would even be happening if it weren't for some funky little coincidences and twists of life that got the ball rolling for us. I guess that can be said of anything in life.


Back when I was about 12, in the early 80s, there was a local seafood place called Crabtowne. They were one of the first places to get Space Invaders and then Asteroids arcade games when they came out. My friends and I would walk about 20 minutes with a pocket full of quarters to play. As the craze grew, with Pac Man, Donkey Kong etc., Crabtowne ended up adding another room for arcade and pinball games. Over the years the fad came and went, but as most other places got rid of the games, Crabtowne never did. Through the 90s and 2000's I sometimes took my kids there to eat and let them play the old vintage games I loved.


A few years ago, my friend Steve and I decided we wanted to do some acoustic gigs. We always talked about it, but nothing ever materialized. He would occasionally be in the area where I worked and call me to go out for lunch. We used to go to this local place called Rick's on the water and the girls there wore skimpy little outfits. We liked Rick's! [thumbup] Well last year ricks sold out to another local chain called Rams Head. They have locations around Baltimore and Annapolis and are known for getting some big musical acts. We gave the new Ram's Head a try, but agreed it didn't have the same local feel as our old Rick's. On a whim, I suggested we go to this old place I heard was recently renovated, just down the street from where I work called Crabtowne. We went in and I immediately noticed the decor was updated and it seemed to be a lot more "hoppin" than it had been in the last few years. Still has all the old machines though. We got to talking to the owner and it came up that she was looking for some acoustic music. We talked our way into a gig right there, with no promo material or anything. We didn't even have a set planned yet or anything but we just figured we'd work that out sometime before the gig.


Well this Thursday will be our 4th time playing there and it has led to more jobs at other places. Every time I'm doing an acoustic show now, I laugh to myself. Back in about 1981, as I was walking with my friends to Crabtown to play Asteroids, I had no idea that place would some day launch my acoustic music career. :rolleyes:


Anyway, I hope I didn't bore anyone to death.

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I hear ya, man. The other thing I really like about them is that you can hear each other sing much better. In fact we have started using one mic - old school, like a bluegrass band. Man, you can really blend on the harmonies that way.


For the record I rarely actually play acoustic at our trio gigs. The other guy does, so I generally bring a small tube combo with a pedalboard that has what I need on it.. tuner, compressor, booster, overdrive, and an "organ" pedal that I use to fake bass on a few songs.


In the pics or it didn't happen dept...



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Acoustic gigs were fun. The singer of our band and I used to and play at coffee shops and colleges and it was a lot of fun. I'd switch between electric guitar and acoustic and he would play acoustic and sing. Our drummer would play tambourine or some other percussion type instrument when he was able to make it. Our singer also played bass in the band, so we weren't leaving anyone out. It was a really fun three piece band.

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