Wednesday, February 28, 2007

5 Shows with Nick Strange

Hello Friends,

About a month ago I got a call from Dan Orcot. He is the leader of a band called the Nick Strange Group. He was in need of a drummer for the next month or so while his drummer recovered from knee surgery. So I went to one of their shows at a place called Goodnight Gracie in downtown Ann Arbor. I watched them all night and then picked up a few of their C.D.'s and went home to study. A week later I sat with Dan at his home studio and went though almost every song we would play. It was a 2 and a half hour power rehearsal, without a bass player. I would equate it to cramming for a big test. My mind felt worked afterwords.
A week later I was playing with Dan and a bass player named Rob Crozier in Rochester, MI. at a place called Hamlin Pub. It was a good warm up gig for me. The place was a full on sports bar, complete with about 20 television sets that all seemed to face the small corner that the band was in. Thankfully, they turned the T.V. that was right over my head off. With so much visual stimulation, it was hard for the crowd to focus on the band in the room, so their response was very "light". It took some pressure off the performance and let me ease my way into these songs. It doesn't matter how prepaired you make yourself, when the gig comes, the experience of playing live always changes how the songs feel and sound, so having a low pressure gig is perfect for feeling things out a bit.
The next day I was sick. Very sick. I had to find a replacement for a kirtan chant. Luckily, Dan Piccolo was in town. He is one of the few percussionist/tabla players that I can call to fill in for me on tabla. From what I hear he did a great job and everything went well....Thanks Dan!
The next day I dragged myself out of bed just in time to play with Nick Strange again at the Hamlin Pub again, but this time it was in Lake Orion and the bass player was now Mr. John Sperendi. Dan playes out a lot, so he needs a lot of musicians to cover when there are schedule conflicts. The show was about the same as the one two days earlier. There were a few more people in the crowd that were listening to the music, but for the most part it was very mellow and laid back. It was a good rehearsal-type gig for the week to come.
The following Thursday we played at Good Night Gracie. It was a fun show. Some people I knew came out and the band was sounding alright. I felt more comfortable with the songs and the place was set up nice for live music.
The next day was a road trip to Traverse City, again with Nick Strange. This time we were doing 2 nights at a place called the Union Street Station. It is a great venue for live music. Big nice stage, good sound system complete with a nice sound guy named Ben, and a built in crowd that appreciates and likes live music. It was a nice weekend in Traverse City and I found a great place for a western omlett called the Omlett Shoppe. It is right downtown and I reccomend it highly.

Thanks for reading, and I will talk to you soon,

John

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