K&W at South Coast Plaza – 30Mar2007

A great night! Started off a little slow, as usual, with the usual crowd of disinterested patrons, but we brought several of them around over time, and my in-laws showed up and sat right down front, so I had people to play to/for, which always brings out my best.

The sound, also, seems to be better there than anywhere else we play — I love it when I can hear myself clearly. It lets me relax into the song — easier on my voice, and better for my playing ‘cuz I don’t have to try (pick) so hard. You might think that just “louder” on the amp would have the same effect, but it’s more than that (and less — sometimes it’s *too* loud, which screws me up even more!). There’s something that I can only describe as clarity that makes all the difference.

Anyway, Warren set up his little still/video camera and recorded most of the best stuff, and is gradually posting the songs on his YouTube page. The video is pretty boring, since the camera is on a tripod and never moves, but the audio is surprisingly good for such a simple setup, and it’s not really about how pretty we are — I hope! (Check the K&W webpage to watch some videos.)

We played some of our new stuff, including the new Brit-pop trio of “Bus Stop”, “Heart Full of Soul” and “Mother Goose”. And a girl requested the once-favorite and still-on-the-list, but seldom-played “Five O’Clock World”. It went surprisingly well, and since my voice is both higher and stronger than it was when I semi-abandoned it, I don’t see why we can’t start doing it regularly again. I’ve always liked it, but felt like my singing was sub-par on it. Now, not so bad.

And the most amazing thing happened — the friendly (rare in itself!) Events Manager at that store (Will) came over at 9:45. I assumed he was giving me the “sign” that it was time to shut down (I usually quit at 9:40). But he wanted to borrow my microphone to make an announcement. I figured he was gonna repeat the “We’re about to close” announcement, since the store PA is (thankfully) really quiet over in the cafĂ©. But, nope, he started up a speech about how much he appreciates us coming in to make some music in the store, and how “you probably don’t know this, but Borders doesn’t pay the musicians, and we really appreciate Keith and Warren giving up their Friday night to come down here” and how “we should all show our appreciation by buying a CD or something”, and on and on…

People, thoroughly guilted-out by this, immediately leaped up and started stuffing the tip jar. (It’s a shame he didn’t make this announcement earlier, when more people were there!) He gave me back my mic, shook our hands (to much thanks from us!), and wandered back down the aisle. As he walked past the jar, he said, to no one in particular, “Well, I should put my money where my mouth is!” and fished some money out of his own pocket!

We were completely stunned by this, especially considering the very cold treatment we’ve been getting lately at the Costa Mesa store, where we seem to be barely tolerated as a necessary evil, and booted out as early as possible. Not to mention that the tips were really good, for that place. Usually we expect to make 6 or 8 bucks each, this time it was $18. Not a fortune, nor even a record, but it’s nice to get some tangible appreciation for our efforts…

And the cool part is that we’re back there again next Saturday! Normally we don’t (can’t) play the same place twice in a row, but last weekend was in March, and next is in April.

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