A tale of two gigs

This past weekend Snake Suspenderz had two (count ‘em! two!) gigs.

Pilgrim Street Band, feat. Ham Carson

Pilgrim Street Band, Cafe Racer, Seattle, 4-21-2012

The first one was for a birthday party. It was held at the Cafe Racer on Roosevelt. Sketch came and picked me up and we arrived quite early—we weren’t scheduled to start until 10pm and we were there before 9. Before we even get in we hear the guys in the photo to your left playing.

Our jaws hit the floor. Cuz the cats could blow!

The guy with the sax is a man named Ham Carson. He’s well into his seventies and has the most wonderful and liquid style. Also, if he’s lost some of his chops due to advanced age, seeing him in his prime may well have killed folk.

The Seattle Times had this to say about Ham:

“Quite simply, the best swing clarinetist in town…one of Seattle’s jazz treasures”

…and indeed, that’s what he was playing when we arrived.

I’m looking at Sketch and saying, “Right. You distract the other two and I’ll steal the old cat on the licorice stick.”

As they were packing up I asked if they were going to stick around for any of our set(s). They all said, “yeah” and I asked Ham if he’d keep the clarinet handy. He’d be happy to, and he did.

Now, I’ve mentioned my personal fantasy a number of times here. (If you’ve somehow missed that, read all about it here.) Having a legend like Ham sitting in with the band is one of those occasions where the personal fantasy and real life match. Awesome is a horribly over-used word. In this case, it’s merely accurate.

Ham has a regular gig at the New Orleans Cafe in Pioneer Square. You should go and check him out.

Maizie and her mini-fez

Maizie and her mini-fez

Also, shortly after we arrived this gal showed up and made me regret not wearing one of my fezzes.

To your right is a picture of Maizie. Amongst other things, Maizie is a Steampunk Jewelry fabricator. She’s also a hoot and loads of fun to hang around with.

At one point she was introducing me to one of her friends and she says how she thinks she and I are the same… we’re both cartoons.

Well… yes.

I blew her mind by bringing out my phone and showing her and her friend the lovely cartoon that Joe Heredia recently drew of me.
Have I mentioned how much I dig having talented friends?
No?
Well… I really dig having talented friends. They’re among the bestest things in life.

Meanwhile… I took a trip into the bathroom at Cafe Racer and discovered some… ahem… interesting graffiti on the mirror.

HH in Cafe Racer's bathroom

Objects in mirror are less attractive than they appear

Having just recently gotten my first smart phone—as it turns out, it was the ‘droid I was looking for—I couldn’t resist taking this pic and tweeting it out to the world.

Other than having to deal with a sound system whose board was in a dark pit that you had to kneel to get access to and the fact that my recently purchased (at nearly $300) microphone seems to be having trouble, this was an extremely fun gig.

Now we come to Sunday’s gig.

It was fun too, but it started out like a catastrophe.

In the 48 hours (or so) previous to the gig, I’d managed, for one reason or the other, to only get nine hours of sleep.

When I was 18 or thereabouts (somewhere just prior to the white man arriving from over the great water) this would have been no problem.

At nearly 54… well…

Me and my Fallen Angel had gone out for a late lunch—or early dinner… you decide—and I had arrived back home shortly after 4pm with a belly full of chicken teriyaki. My last clear memory was of Yuri, our “senior” cat, coming up to me on the couch for to get some scritches.

Next thing I know, I’m being woken by the FA asking me when I was supposed to be at the gig. The answer was… about 20 minutes ago.

And here am I, still dressed in my “I’m just riding my bicycle and don’t care how I look” clothes.

Well fuck.

After a rather panic-stricken interlude we managed to get down to the fabulous Can Can with enough time to get sound-checked and start (on time by jeebus!) our show.

Alas, I wasn’t actually finished reeling from all this until the second set. Luckily, I play with some extremely talented gentlemen and we almost always get good-natured audiences.

But even with all that, and after having run back upstairs for my video cameras, I completely spaced out actually using them.

Is there a moral to this story? Of course there is.

The moral is… “Shit happens. But the show must go on.” (Or something like that.)

Also it’s time to put some “process” in place to make sure that things like regular recordings/videos happen. Every gig would be good for that. And either getting enough sleep for my tired old bones, or at least setting a damn alarm on my bits of portable high tech, is a fine plan.

Welcome to the “glamorous” show-biz life I lead.

I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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