Local impresario Tony came by The Corner on Saturday and invited Warren and I to come play at his every-Wednesday Local Talent night at the Ocean Brewery. It’s a fairly famous local bar that features live music a lot, so we jumped at the chance.
This event apparently showcases local talent in the form of a local painter, working right there where you can watch, some videos made by a local skimboard champion, and local music: this time, us.
Unfortunately, Tony didn’t tell us much about it, so when we got there a little after 6:00, the waitress told us to came back at 7 or 7:30 — presumably because she knew there wouldn’t be many people there until then (if ever). And she was right. After a bit of technical difficulty caused by problems with the house equipment we were obliged to use (horrible ground-fault buzzing from Warren’s guitar), we started a little before 8, even though there were only 8 or 10 people there.
And the videos were projected on a wall (theoretically) above the band’s heads, but for me, the projector was shining right in my eyes. I put my hat back on, so it could do what hats are meant to do: keep bright lights out of your eyes, but eventually the restaurant guy had me move forward enough to get the light out of my eyes (or get my hat out of the movie).
And, while we were setting up, a guy came in and told us that he was the 9:00 band, which is how we found out that (A) there was more than one band, and (B) what time we had to stop.
So, given about an hour and fifteen, I just played all my greatest hits — and got a pretty nice reaction. One guy came over to drape a five dollar bill over my music stand. There was a lady out on the patio that was clearly enjoying the music (and came over afterwards to tell us so), and Cowboy Hat Lady (who I’m pretty sure has come by The Corner more than once) was really into it. Or her beer. Whichever.
So I quit at 9:00, and the other guy set up and discovered the same ground-fault problem that Warren had fought with, proving it wasn’t any of Warren’s doing. When he finally got going, he was an enthusiastic but medium-level player, overshadowed by his lead guitarist who was out-there amazing. But the second song, “Little Pink Houses” without any rhythm, sent me home.
Bottom line: I feel a bit used. Tony clearly needed to fill in the early shift and found us willing. But he didn’t even show up until we were done and tearing down. And when I talked to him afterwards and said that I’d rather do the late shift next time, he just grunted something non-committal. If he asks again, I’ll probably do it – once more – to see if it might be any better attended, but I think I could have played to as many people, and easily made as much in tips, just standing on The Corner, even on an October Wednesday.
On the other hand, I got to play indoors!