A pretty good start, I think, for our first shot at this new (for us) venue. Unlike the Open Mic the night before, we got to use our own equipment, which, along with there being far fewer people there making noise, made the sound way better. I could hear what I was doing, and that’s always a good thing.
There were probably 15 people overall, which is as good as many of our Borders nights. But the difference in atmosphere made it better just because people in a coffee shop recognize musicians as part of the scene, not an interruption, so they were more inclined to listen and join in.
With fewer people, and it being less “new”, I was far more relaxed and was able to do a pretty good job of it. Gary of “Acoustic Conversation” was there the whole time — he either really liked us, or had nothing better to do. He took some pretty good pictures for us with Warren’s camera, asked for a few songs, made nice comments about some of them, was impressed with some of the selections on the list, and sang harmony from out at his table on a few of them.
Which, in retrospect, was probably an overture — and one that I was too dense to recognize. At the open mic the night before, all the guys were automatically “honorary members” of each other’s bands. And I’m sure my list of “hits of the 60’s and 70’s” lines up at high percentage with Gary’s, so I’m sure he can sing the harmony just fine. Maybe the first gig was actually a little early anyway, but next time I’ll definitely be open to the suggestion — and prepare for it by having the other mic ready. And getting Gary up there will also be a good indication that we’re being inducted into the club. It’s actually flattering that he seems to think that we’re “club material” already.
Another thing I noticed, and I can’t believe I was so dense not to notice on Tuesday, was that they serve wine (I didn’t see any beer, which is probably a good thing). There’s a sign near the door that says that minors aren’t allowed inside after 7pm. This, of course, makes all the difference in the nighttime attendance. We’ve played coffeeshops around here, and it’s hard to get people out, ‘cuz, duh, coffee is for mornings. With the Starbucks phenomenon that’s changed a lot, but it’s still not what people “my age” think of to do at night.
Anyway, Chuck the owner seemed pleased with us, enough that he went ahead and booked us for the next set of gigs. He apparently thinks we can join the ranks of the “headliners” that fill the place on Friday and Saturday nights… eventually. And once we have “a following”, which he thinks we’re certain to do, and apparently in only two more outings. So, we’re booked for two upcoming Thursday nights, and then the first open Friday coming up, July 20th.
Along with those, and according to Chuck’s wisdom, we will also (try to) play each of the preceding Tuesday night Open Mics, based on the “preview and hype” philosophy that appears to be working there. You play your three songs and repeatedly announce when you’re playing next for people who like what they’re hearing. I think maybe we ought to go play another one before real gigs start, too (April 15th?) — just for the practice, exposure, and to keep the connection alive. Not to mention the fun and camaraderie.
When we were all done, Gary came up and threw two bucks into the big “tip pail” that Chuck has up by the stage, and so did the nice lady he had been talking to most of the night. That was all the tips we got, but Chuck had the coffeegirl make up two “take-out” packages full of pastries and muffins (that would be “day-old” anyway), and he put ten bucks under the rubber band of each of them for us. That was really nice of him. He also insisted that we take sodas with us “for the road” on our way out. It’s strange to be treated like they actually *want* us there…