jwgh: (Default)
In the morning (at around 9:30 am) I'm getting on a plane to North Carolina, where I will be spending a few days with [livejournal.com profile] cgoldfish and [livejournal.com profile] wazroth. Man! I'll be back on Monday (supposed to be getting in at 1:50 pm).

[livejournal.com profile] katrinkles taught me how to crochet today -- which is to say that I managed to do a few rows of a bathmat pattern that I've been looking at since, oh, last May. Then I realized that I kind of messed up the first row or two and tore it all out. But I think the next attempt will go better, and hopefully won't have to do too much more ripping out.

Last week I started a baby blanket which is a sort of cable stitch sampler; it was something to work on while I was waiting to be taught how to crochet. It went faster than I expected, so the main bits are all done; all that remains is to sew the pieces together, then knit a border (unless I want to make it bigger, but I think it's actually an OK size, especially if I give it a big border). I'll work on sewing it together this weekend if the DHS confiscates my crochet hook.

After SNB I went to Nick-a-Nees to see a band called the Wippets. They were disappointed that I didn't bring my accordion. (They've never heard me play it; they're just aware that I own one.) I told them I would bring it to open mike on Friday.

While I was at Nick-a-Nees it is possible that a woman hit on me, although it was hard for me to tell because I'm not used to it and also she was kind of drunk. She also said that her friend, who was also at the bar and whose name I forget but who does a cappella renditions of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and 'Space Oddity' at open mikes around town, told her that I was standoffish, which might be true. (That is, it might be true that he told her that, and it also might be true that I'm standoffish.) Anyway, I talked to her for a little while until the meatball sandwich I ordered arrived, at which point she went back to her group of friends.

I'm not sure if I'll be checking livejournal or email before Monday, so if not, I hope you all have good weekends!
jwgh: (killdevils)
I asked my upstairs neighbor Kasey Henneman to make some posters for the New Year's Eve show, so she made these multi-colored silk-screened and stenciled posters that are pretty much amazing. She made about 30 of them, so tomorrow, before I head up to Massachusetts to visit family, I'll be going around putting some up ...

... and I also made my own version (a pale imitation) for use outside or in places where the full-sized, full-colored posters won't work.

Pictures of both beneath the cut. )

When I dropped one of Kasey's posters off at Nick-a-Nees, the bartender proclaimed it 'awesome' and said he would steal it if he could.


Nov. 10th, 2006 09:34 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
[livejournal.com profile] crazyanimallady, [livejournal.com profile] palmitas268, [livejournal.com profile] alexandrahawk, and [livejournal.com profile] peachcrush came to the Killdevils show last night. Thanks!

The show was fun. The last few times we've played at Nick-a-Nees Chris has been experimenting with new PA setups, and last night was the first time that it really all came together. We did a few fairly new songs, and a few old songs that we haven't done in a while. I had a really nice time.

A couple of musicians that Chris met recently sat in for a couple of songs at the beginning of the third set. They signed up for our mailing list, and when they left later, one of them, Josie Crosby, asked me if I had a mailing list. "Not really," I said. "Well, you should make one, and you should put me on it," she said. So that was a nice little ego boost.
jwgh: (killdevils)
Tonight was an interesting night. It was my first night playing the new keyboard, which worked out OK, although I think we need to fine tune its EQing so it sounds its best.

While we were setting up, a guy named Greg asked if he could sit in for a song (he wanted to sing). We were agreeable, so after we did Hickory Wind in the first set Greg came up and sang a B.B. King tune (unfortunately I don't remember which one, or his last name, or much else about him except that he lives in Connecticut). He was an excellent singer and he signaled changes to us nicely; it was really fun.

CMonti had mentioned earlier that he had talked to Paul Geremia and suggested that he stop by and maybe play harmonica on a few tunes. (Chris saw Paul do this once with the Last Minute Blues Band at Trinity Brewhouse and it stuck in his mind.)

But the evening wore on and he didn't show up, so it seemed like it wasn't going to happen. In the last set, Chris looked at the set list, turned to me, and said, "All right, I was about to say I think we're good for about two more songs, and there are two songs left on the set list, so that's good." I nodded. We played 'Johnny B. Goode' and 'Hybrid Car' and ended just about exactly at midnight.

But about two-thirds of the way through the last song, Paul walked in, and after the song he wandered over to say 'Hi'. Chris asked him if he wanted to sing a song or two; Paul said sure, if we thought nobody would mind (at which point Chris and I looked around the near-empty bar and said we didn't think that would be a problem) and Chris handed him his guitar.

At this point I wasn't totally clear on what was supposed to happen -- was Chris going to play harmonica (but he didn't have a microphone), were we going to trade songs, or what? Paul wondered aloud what song we should do. I thought about what might be appropriate and suggested 'In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down', which is a mellow Leroy Carr song that I should record sometime. Paul said he wasn't sure if he knew that one, so I started playing and singing it, and he accompanied me on guitar. In hindsight, this seems like an act of great chutzpah, but at the time, I was just confused as to what was going on. Anyway, it went well. After a minute or two Chris wandered off to play pool with his girlfriend.

Paul then played a few songs. It didn't feel right to me to get up from behind the piano and become part of the audience -- it was our show, after all, and Paul presumably had come to play with us, not to entertain us. On the other hand, Paul normally plays by himself, and the songs he plays tend to be full of the changes in tempo, odd phrasings, and idiosyncratic chord changes that characterize a lot of solo acoustic guitar blues. Still, I felt like I at least had to give it a shot.

I think the first song he did was a Blind Blake song, "Too Tight". After a little while around I determined that I should mostly play as little left hand rhythmic stuff as I could get away with (Paul provided the rhythm on the guitar, so my playing there would be at best redundant and at worst incorrect). Instead, I concentrated on playing supporting stuff in the right hand. It worked OK.

While this was going on, I looked over and saw Chris playing pool and I thought to myself, "You know, while this is arguably an amazingly great thing that is happening right now, and one which I will remember for some time, I think I will still need to kill Chris as a matter of principle."

Next he did 'Hesitating Blues', which I had actually played for the first time at the wedding I went to last weekend; the groom, Larry, had played it for me and told me the chords, which are strange and beautiful, starting in a minor key and switching in midstream to a major key.

Next, an extremely drunk guy at the bar (one of about three people in Nick-a-Nees at this point, as people had largely cleared out by 11 or so) shouted, "Hey, do you guys take requests?" Paul said, "What do you want to hear?" The guy shouted, "Do you know any Kinks songs?" Paul then embarked on this complicated, freeflowing blues song which apparently was in fact a Kinks song, though not one I recognized. (The guy at the bar seemed to know it, though, and cheered appreciatively.) At then end of the song, Paul said to him, "That's the only Kinks song I know!"

Finally, Paul turned to me and said, "Hey, do you know 'Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out'?"

That's a great old song that has been played by a bunch of people; looking in iTunes I see that, without really trying, I've accumulated versions by Nina Simone, Dave Van Ronk, Bessie Smith, Louis Jordan, and Pine Top Smith. Back in the early 90s, when my parents were part-owners of a bar named Gilrein's in Worcester, that was one of the songs that I used to fool around with on the beat-up piano there. But that was a while ago, so it was fortunate that on practice Wednesday Chris told me that he was working on it himself (inspired by the Van Ronk recording) and asked me if I knew how it went, so I ran through the chords and refamiliarized myself with them.

Which is to say that I was prepared, which was a good thing, because that song has six chords in it, and it's not something I would have been able to figure out quickly by ear.

So we did that song and called it a night. It was 12:30 pm. Paul said kind things about my piano playing and recounted how he had just gone to a blues festival in Poland, where he had mostly been stuck in his hotel room because the airline had lost a bunch of his luggage and the TSA had broken the neck off of his six-string guitar (they took everything out of the case, put it back in so that the neck had no support, wadded up the towel that had cushioned it and stuffed it into a corner of the case, and put a 'This bag has been inspected by the TSA' notice in it).

After that we packed up and went home. I got in around 1:30 or so, and went to bed at 2 am. And now I am writing this!

Tonight I'll be playing at Cafe Zog on Wickenden around 9 pm or so if anyone wants to stop in. (CMonti and Josh Lerner will be playing before me starting at 8 pm.)

Show notes

Mar. 31st, 2006 01:11 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
This show was very random, but I 'm not sure if I can describe its randomness very well. We'll see.

After we set up, and before we went on, a woman yelled a request to us. Her friend came over and said, "My obnoxious friend wants you to play Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues." Chris said, "Sure, we'll do that first." "Oh, that's a real song?" she replied, surprised.

But Chris realized that he had left his harmonica rack in the car, so did the first song solo -- I ended up picking 'Leaving Home', which is a sort of a take on the 'Frankie and Albert'/''Frankie and Johnny' story. Then we did 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues'. Then we actually did a couple of songs from the set list, 'That'll Never Happen No More' and 'Folsom Prison'; after that, the drunk woman asked us if we could do 'From a Buick 6' (another Dylan song, but one we don't know), then asked us if we knew any James Taylor songs (*cough*), then wanted us to do some more Johnny Cash. So I sang 'Sam Hall', which is a song from Johnny Cash's last album which involves telling the audience to go to hell a lot, which is kind of fun. Then we did '"Pumpkin, Mrs. Farnsworth"', which was a request from Kári. While I was singing that song, I glanced over at Chris's girlfriend and noticed that she looked completely mortified. Feeling a little guilty about this, I suggested that we next do 'Tear My Stillhouse Down', which I happen to know she likes a lot, so we did. Then ... I don't even know, except we did an abbreviated version of 'Cabbagehead', which is a song I don't think we've played in over a year, and ended with 'I Believe To My Soul', which drunk woman tried to sing along with.

The thing that struck me about that set is that someone who listened to it would probably not have described our band as a blues band. That's not really what would have come to mind.

The second set was relatively normal and we pretty much stuck to the set list, except that Chris had us do this thing that he sometimes like to do where you start with one song ('Liberty' by the Grateful Dead in this case), get partway through it, then segue to another song (Chris's own 'The Local Expatriate'), then segue back. It's a jam band kind of thing to do. (It's not something we typically try in the Killdevils, because two players doesn't really constitute a jam band.)

[livejournal.com profile] saucypunk and Kári came to the show (which is greatly appreciated -- thanks!) and [livejournal.com profile] saucypunk asked me if I could play 'Avocados and Beer', since I wrote it for her and yet she had never heard it played live. At the beginning of the third set I was supposed to do three songs solo, so I played that song on piano for the first time ever (making possibly more mistakes even than when I played it live on accordion for the first time), then did 'Milk Cow Blues', and then I couldn't think of anything else to play so I did 'Watching Killer Robots Eat Your Head'. Then Chris came out and we did a bunch of rock & roll songs -- Naked Man, Down By The River, Johnny B. Goode -- and some uptempo blues songs -- Big Road Blues, Caldonia, and Bourgeois Blues. We did the fast songs really fast and it was all really energetic and fun. After Bourgeois Blues (or arguably during it) I was pretty wiped out, so we ended with a couple of slow songs, 'Sin City' and 'Waterbugs', which I felt like I was just the right level of exhausted to do really well -- that might have been the best performance of 'Waterbugs' I've ever done. (What makes a good performance of Waterbugs, you might ask? I think the main thing is to sing it with complete sincerity and resist the urge to speed up.)

It was a good show, although kind of a bewildering one. It is nice to have things shaken up from time to time. I think I will sleep well tonight.
jwgh: (killdevils)
Fun show last night (am I getting repetitive?), despite a couple of technical glitch (the most serious being that the battery in my guitar's pickup died towards the end of the second set). A few knitters showed up and brought friends, which was very nice, and some of them stuck it out until the bitter end, which is impressive for a weeknight. One of [livejournal.com profile] crazyanimallady's friends, Jess, asked us for our autographs at the end of the evening.

Between the first and second sets, Chris informed me that the Providence Journal music critic had just walked in. I wasn't entirely sure that I was glad Chris told me this, but I did decide to change the three songs that I was going to do by myself at the beginning of the set; whereas previously I had been thinking 'Now here's a song I haven't done for a while' I instead decided to do the songs that I think I actually do pretty well: 'Leavin' Home' (which is Charlie Poole's take on 'Frankie and Johnny', although I've never heard Charlie Poole's version -- this is another song I learned from my father), 'That'll Never Happen No More', and 'Hybrid Car'.

The ProJo guy was probably just there for a beer, but he was there for the whole of the second set, so he got an earful of us anyway.

Sometime today I have to remember to get the piano out of my car.


Feb. 3rd, 2006 03:02 pm
jwgh: (arrrr)
Last night Chris and I performed a few songs which we had never played in public before. One of those songs was 'Walk the Line'.

We got through it OK (I sang), but it wasn't particularly exciting, so I thought afterwards that we should probably give it a rest for a while. But no big deal, we moved on to the next song, etc.

At the end of the set break the jukebox volume get turned back up and the songs that had been ordered up before we started playing became audible. What was playing? Johnny Cash singing 'Walk the Line'.

(and before the end of the set break we got to hear it again, too.)

Last night

Jan. 20th, 2006 10:19 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
I had a great time last night.

One particularly cool thing was that Pam Murray of the Superchief Trio sat in for a song (Blue Monday) in the third set.

I tried to thank everyone in person, but if I missed anyone: Thank you very much for coming to the show. It's very exciting to play for a crowd filled with friendly faces.

I'll keep you apprised of any more shows coming up.

set lists

Jan. 19th, 2006 04:25 pm
jwgh: (killdevils)
This is probably pretty unorthodox, but I thought I'd post my planned set lists for tonight's show at Nick-A-Nees (keeping in mind that Chris may want to alter them, and that often in the heat of the moment we end up abandoning them altogether).

Here they are: )
jwgh: (killdevils)
Chris Monti confirmed this morning that we'll be playing at Nick-A-Nees again. Yay!

The information:

Where: Nick-A-Nees, 75 South Street, Providence, RI
When: Thursday, January 19 (the week after next), 9 pm to midnight

As before, it will be a free show.

The owner is psyched to have us back and told Chris that she was happy about the crowd we pulled in and how we promoted the show. Thanks again to everyone who came last time!

(For now it doesn't look like we'll have a regularly scheduled gig there, at least until Nick-a-Nees's schedule clears up a bit. However, it does look good for them booking us shows once or twice a month, so that's really good!)


Dec. 23rd, 2005 01:32 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
Everyone who came out to the show tonight, many thanks! The bar got to be pretty full, and it seemed like half or more of the crowd was people that either Chris or I knew, which was very exciting. Chris and I both agreed that it was a really fun show and we felt really energized. Woo!

No word on yet if we'll be booked again, but I think that the odds are good, thanks in no small part to you.

Sad things: [livejournal.com profile] christychristy left about two minutes before we played Hybrid Car, and [livejournal.com profile] cgoldfish had to leave before the third set, which was when I planned to play Watching Killer Robots Eat Your Head. If we get booked again these things will be rectified!


Dec. 10th, 2005 08:17 pm
jwgh: (killdevils)
A little while I got home from Nick-A-Nees. I was there with Chris Monti trying to book a show for our group The Killdevils. And we succeeded!


Thursday, December 22, from 9 pm to midnight, Chris and I will be playing at Nick-a-Nees at 75 South Street in Providence. I believe it will be a free show.

If we draw a lot of people then the owner may book us to play there regularly (every other Wednesday or every other Thursday), which would be great, so if people who live around here can make it that could be a very good thing for us.

Also, Nick-a-Nees has the best jukebox in town, cheap beer, and free peanuts.

If you've never heard us play, here are some recordings we made at a show at Billy Goode's in January: http://killdevils.com/demo/


jwgh: (Default)
Jacob Haller

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