We were suddenly OKed to play at the Irvine Spectrum Food Court, and since Friday was the only free weekend night we both had free in August, we jumped on it. No pay, of course — but at least they don’t *charge* you, like the $50 you have to pay to play down in the middle of the mall.
It’s a bit challenging, but it was fun anyway. There are a lot of people, but many of them are just there to eat their pizza, not to hear some music. Of course, that gives us the opportunity to turn them into fans, assuming we’re interesting enough. We had old people, parents, teens, kids, and babies. It was unusually eclectic — we’d bounce back and forth between “Sweet Baby James”, “Hey There, Delilah”, and “Rubber Duckie”. Had some kids that were fascinated and got themselves lists so they could make requests, and other kids that showed their coolness by showing their contempt.
The biggest problem is the acoustics — it’s outside, so we have to be really loud to start with. But back behind the audience is the kids’ fountain, with “spitting” giant turtles and the “jumping water”, all programmed in loops so the noise comes and goes — but mostly comes. I had it turned up *really* loud (*I* thought), and a dad in the first row of tables comes up between songs and asks if we could maybe turn it up a little. “Up”?!? I thought he was about to complain about it being too loud from where he was sitting. So I floored it, which brought even the vocal up to the point of clipping distortion from the speakers. But, oh well.
I had (foolishly) thought that I might get away with playing the electric guitar all night (4 hours! 6-10), ‘cuz I use it to practice as I walk around the block twice a day at work, and I’m getting pretty used to the string spacing, and the sound. But the overall acoustics and bad settings made it pretty awful, so I gave it up after 8 or 10 songs. Too bad, though — it sounds better to be on an electric for the “rock and roll” songs (such as we have), and it’s a lot easier on the fingers, too.
At about 9:20, I suddenly wondered if the effects processor was being overloaded by the sheer volume, and looked to see if the caution light was blinking or not. It wasn’t, though it should have been, which made me notice that the reverb was turned almost all the way down. That was because I had last used the amp at the wedding, and there was a lot of natural echo in the room, so I turned the amp’s reverb way down. After I noticed that and turned it up where it belongs, the whole sound was *way* better — too bad I figured that out just when it was almost time to quit.
Anyway, it was fun, and different, (and we made $64 to split) so we’ll do it again — a few times anyway.