Friday, August 11, 2006

Gratitude all wet, twice, Summer camp, Deep Blue, Gratitude in Style

Hello,

I can't believe I haven't told you about this yet. I had a gig with Gratitude on Gross Ile or in Gross Ile, or whatever, it is an island..I think, just south of Detroit. Anyway, we were playing outside under a beautiful big white tent for their country club's carribean night. Everyone was excited and the atmosphere was fine. We played about 3/4ths of our show and the manager said they were going to stop the show because of the lighning overhead. Within 10 minutes of his announcement the sky got dark and opened up into a torrential downpour. Then the wind picked up and the rain was blowing in from the side so hard it was like being in a carwash with no car. I packed up my drums very fast and tried to help the family keep their instruments somewhat out of the storm until they backed up the trailer that housed all the cases. I always keep my cases close to my set on outdoor gigs. This was not the first time I was stuck in the rain, but it was definitely the worst, and even though I did a record pack up, (about 10 minutes from the last beat to in my truck), I still had to empty everything the next day, dump water out of the cases, and towel off all the hardware. I could only imagine what the steel drums looked like.
Two days later I had a gig in Troy, MI at the Troy historical museum. Another outdoor gig, and another day with clouds on the horizon. This time we were in a gazebo about 10 feet above the crowd and I was in back and couldn't see anyone or anything but the newly formed rust on Dayjumbe's steel pan. The gig was fun and the crowd was into it. I felt like I was in some sort of studio and we were playing on the radio. I couln't see the audience, but I could hear them, it was a little strange feeling. We played a 90 minute to try to get in a full show before the rain came. We did. It was 90 minutes exactly from when we started to when the rain came. So, once again, we were packing up in the rain. It was not nearly as bad as two nights before, but it felt like someone was just 'rubbing it in' a little.
*side note* That night my sister Evelyn came down from Marquette, MI to spend the night and catch a ride to the airport for an early flight on her way back to Namibia, Africa to meet and marry her fiance Adnan, whom she met while doing work for the Peace Corps this past year. GOOD LUCK EVIE!! She arrived safely two days later.

Once I was dry from the wettest week of gigging I can remember I found myself back at Go Like The Wind Montessori school each morning for a week. I had signed up to teach a hand drum workshop. Little did I know it would be for ages 3-9. I was a little worried at first, but once we got the drums, shakers, and gongs going, the week flew by and I had a great time. Thanks to my wife, Jody, who helped out a lot and made my job that much more fufilling.

On that Friday I played with Deep Blue at Cafe Felix in Ann Arbor. There was no manager around to remind us about the new kinds of music he wanted to hear us play, but we have started adjusting our sets to include a bit more smooth and swingin' jazz to please and itch they have been having. It was fun, although I was tired from the full week.

Saturday I got to rest up a little before heading out to a lake in West Bloomfield to play a house party. Well, actually it was a house-boat party. I was playing with Lamar Woodall on lead pan, and Kelly on the bass guitar, a small Gratitude crew. The house was on a lake and we had to set up on a house boat that was tied to about 5 other houseboats. The boats loaded up with party goers and set sail for a nice little cruise around the lake. We docked at another house and had burgers and brats. We stayed on the boat and played while everyone ate. Then it was off to the final stop, the Tikki Bar. By the time we got their it was dark and we headed home. The whole party was being photographed and reported on by Style Magazine. They took a ton of pictures and everyone seemed to be on their best party behavior. I thought it was a bit funny how everyone would dance while they took the pictures and then sit. It was fun though, I have never seen such party focus. No one talked about anything to serious, and everyone smiled all the time. It was addictive. Look for the article in the coming months of Style Magazine.

Thanks for reading, and I will write again soon.

John

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