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Rick's Rap   - July 2010


      Played Applebee's Neighborhood Grill in Westminster, 8:30 PM to 11:00 PM.

      Bob was in a particularly pissy mood all night, but the gig was really good. We used the compact p.a. and set up in the bar, using a couple of bar stools to sit on. The only down side to the evening was they gave us free drinks, but the stools were too high to reach my beer if I sat it on the floor, so I only drank between sets. I have since purchased a drink holder that attaches to my mic stand.

      Cowboy was late, so we did about half the show without him, and half with him, and it sounded good both ways. With him there was more fullness and drive, and without him we were tighter and cleaner. Members of the staff, and folks in the audience, both made a point of telling us how much they enjoyed the show. Barb said some people were actually singing along to some of the Dead tunes. I think if we can survive the shock of transitioning from a basement band to a performing band, this whole thing might actually work out in the long run.


      We did another open mic at Hershey's in Washintion Grove.

      We're hoping to get some regular gigs here, so our plan is to play the 3 open mic's before our Saturday gig on the 24th, and also get some flyers up, to try and pull enough people so that we can be asked back. I brought along the compact Bose p.a. to see if that would hack it there, or if we would have to count on bringing the big one. When we were sitting it up, the feedback processor was dead out of the bag (so now I have two that I have to ship to Florida to get fixed) and we had to set the stove pipe in front of the mics. This sucessfully avoided feedback, but it interferred with the house bass players setup which seemed to piss him off quite a bit. Not a great start for trying to create a good impression. On the bright side the p.a. sounded great.

      When we got on they kept us up there for almost a complete set. I figure either we sounded good, or they were waiting for more musicians to show up.

      The guy running the open mic (Joe, from the Bobby Lewis Blues Band) liked the p.a. so much he wondered if everybody could use it. I said sure, which is how I found out they're open until 1:00 - good to know 'cos it means we'll need all 4 sets for the regular gig.

      I asked Joe where I could post the flyers, and he said to leave them with him, and he'd get the owner to put them up. So I did, and I'll look for them next week.

      Cowboy stuck around with me and sat in with a couple of impromptu blues groups and broke another string!.   Damn!   That boy must really have some strong fingers!


      Last Thursday we did another open mic at Hershey's.

      I didn't want to stick around until 1:00 AM again so we didn't bring our p.a. The house p.a. only has 4 channels, so Cowboy used the house bass player's amp. Unfortunately it kept cutting in and out on him, which was really distracting while we were trying to play. Eventually, after about 3 tunes, we tried another cord, and that took care of the problem.

      We played one song with everything working, and then the house bass player wanted to sit in with us. We did a couple of tunes with him, and then another song with another musician from the crowd, and then relinquished the stage.

      All in all it wasn't exactly what we had in mind, but hey, it's the way it worked out. Afterwards Cowboy said that next time he'd bring his own amp, and that should take care of any future problems.

      I noticed that the flyers we left from the previous week never got posted, so I got a couple more and we stuck them up ourselves. It'll be interesting to see if they're still up next week.


      The Freestate Houserockers did a regular gig at Phil's Bar & Grill in Beltsville. Which is to say we weren't opening for somebody else.

      This was one of those beastly hot and humid days that just felt like a sauna. By the time I loaded my car I was soaked with sweat. I took a shower and freshened up before I left for the gig, but by the time we got everything unloaded and set up, I was soaked again, and then it was time to play. It was one of those days where I felt like I'm just getting too old for all this silly shit.

      This time I set up both Bose stove-pipe systems. I used the compact for monitors, and the regular for mains. The sound was GREAT!   It was so nice to be able to actually hear the vocals balanced with the intruments. Not only did it sound good on stage, but I got a number of comments from the audience that the sound was good. For pure convenience I still like using a house p.a., but it's good to know that when one isn't available we've still got it covered.

      We played 2 long sets. A bunch of fellow musician friends came by, and for the secound set we were basically the house band at an open mic. We played really well and people liked us, as evidenced by the fact that it's a small place and we still got $140 in tips.

      While I was unloading my car the next day I noticed that I'd forgotten to retrieve the tip jar. I called Paul and he said he picked it up - so I don't have to eat another six pounds of cheese puffs to make another one.


      Did the Hershey's open mic again.

      We used the house p.a., which has only 4 inputs. Cowboy brought his own bass amp, so there was no problem with getting everybody plugged in. The sound was pretty muddy, but we slogged through. We had some issues with tempo and arrangements, but overall I think we did o.k.

      Bob Morris was there, and he introduced me to the owner. I think her name is Lisa (I'm not sure, but at least I remember what she looks like) and we went over the details for our upcomming gig on Saturday.


Saturday 07/24/10
Hershey's Restaurant

17030 Oakmont Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
(301) 948-9893
9:00 PM   to 1:30 AM

  Set 1     Set 2   Set 3     Set 4
1     Casey Jones
2     Peaceful Easy Feeling
3     Natural Born Easement
4     Deep Elem Blues
5     How Long
6     Think
7     Dark Hollow
8     Dust My Broom
9     Fenereo
10     Kansas City
1     Key To THe Highway
2     New Speedway Boogie
3     Pencil Thin Mustache
4     Henry
5     Tequila Sunrise
6     Ripple
7     Take It Easy
8     Cassidy
9     Don't Ease Me In
10     Iko Iko / Women Smarter
1     Big Railroad Blues
2     Knockin' On Heaven's Door
3     How Blue?
4     Me & My Uncle
5     Dire Wolf
6     Evangeline
7     Deal
8     Bring It On Home
9     Mississippi 1/2 Step
1     Promised Land
2     Hesitation Blues
3     A Simple Twist Of Fate
4     Truck Drivin' Man
5     Must Have Been The Roses
6     Glendale Train
7     Sugar Magnolia
8     That's All Right Lil' Mama
9     Honky Tonk
10     Bid You Goodnight

That'll Be The Day
  Beat It On Down The Line

      When we showed up the place was almost empty, as opposed to almost full two days earlier for the open mic night. The bartender said it'd been like that all day, probably because of the weather. It was one of those beastly hot and humid days that felt like you were stepping into a sauna every time you walked out of an air conditioned space. Bob Morris - the guy who booked us - was there, and he reminded us that no matter how we played, if we couldn't bring a crowd we wouldn't get asked back. Damn!

      The first set was o.k., it had some brain farts, but it also had a pretty nice little groove. As the night progressed the level of brain farts stayed pretty constant, but the groove just kept getting better and better, and by the last set we were smokin'. There weren't a lot of people there, but they all made a point of telling us how much they enjoyed us, and almost everybody that was there at 9 o'clock was still there and still applauding at 1:30. Too bad there wasn't more of them.

      After the 2nd set the owner bought me a beer and said she'd like to have us back in the fall when the weather was better and they could do a little more promotion. Also, the fella that manages the Dogfish Head Ale House was there, and he said he's still trying to work around his booking agency to get us a gig, so it looks like we're not totally dead in the water.


      Had practice at my house. Decided to alternate between my house and Bob's every other week.

      Went over You Win Again and started working on Uncle John's Band. Decided to add a couple of Jimmy Buffett tunes, A Pirate Looks At Forty and Volcano. I've posted the lyrics and recordings.


      Stay tuned,


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