Thursday I played a songwriters show at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church. It was an odd night for sure. I went with Robin and our friend Harny, and another friend joined us there. Other folks didn’t come out because of illness or rainy weather.
We got there in time for the beginning of the show. The first set lasted an hour and was performed by Kate Maguire with two others. The audience was chatty and farily inattentive, which is unusual for these shows at BB. Every time a new song started, I really tried to just sit and take in the lyrics and music. But the talkers were so distracting that I just couldn’t even get through half of a song. I think the first set was probably pretty good, but I really couldn’t catch much.
Then came my set. I had asked Harny to join me on four songs with his slide guitar and harmonica. By the time we got set up and host Ron introduced us, the audience had become considerably more chatty and boisterous. I figured they must have come for the first set and were now on to their own conversations. Or the beer was kicking in. Overall my set came off pretty well. For the first song or two my 12-string was a bit out of tune and was very muddy in the PA. I made adjustments on my DI pedal and got it sounding more balanced. The sound guy probably had all the guitar lines cranked up with extra bass to get sound of the quack out, but my 12-string sounds more like a miked-up guitar and doesn’t need that. My voice felt like it was in pretty good shape. I did three songs from my CD and about five newer things. The audience just talked right through the whole thing, so it was more of a noisy rehearsal. Last time I played here people were buying CDs and asking me to autograph them.
After I was done, host Ron actually tried to shush the audience and told them to make it a listening room for the next set by Mark Sylvester. He sounded pretty good doing some new age bluegrassy melodic picking. I wanted to stay to hear Karen Karma later in the evening, but the folks I was with were feeling tired and ready to go. So we split half-way through Sylvester’s set.
I remember about a year ago I played at one of these songwriter shows at BB, and the audience really responded well to my set. Then after me Niambus got up to do her set, and the room was just filled with chatter and conversation. We couldn’t hear her at all, and I felt bad about that. Now it was my turn to just play and let folks have their conversations. My next gig is at a coffee house instead of a bar, and I’ll be eager to see if the audience is a little more interested in the music there.