THE YEAR OF 35: STRIKE ZONE
Last night Gs Livid Penny made its full band debut at a bowling alley called The Strike Zone in Rennselaer, Indiana. Graham played guitar and bass; Tom was on drums; and I played guitar, bass, keyboards, and a little harmonica. It went very well.
We didn't realize when we got there that we were in a battle of the bands situation. It didn't really matter to us, especially since we got to play last and the longest in any event. The first band was a heavy, screaming band with Amber in their title (something for Amber, something beginning with an "A"); I heard one or two of their songs and then went to grab some food and gas. Next up was our friend Tom Adamson, who plays in a band called Bottle Rocket Blue. He played a mix of originals and cover (Elliott Smith, Lou Reed, David Bowie). Then came Dime Store Millionaires, a band that formed around the same time as we did. They have a folkie sound, with guitar, banjo, and glockenspiel being the main instruments for night with some accents of drums and violin. Finally, it was our turn.
We took a couple minutes to make sure our levels were good (I had an amp for each instrument plus my vocal mike) and make sure we were tuned. I had to turn my keyboard at an angle so I didn't run over the chord, which was different. We'd also done surgery on my guitar before the show, so I could put on a strap and play standing. Anyway, it was time to play.
We opened with "Jews & Gypsies," which is the song we'd pretty much nailed that first day we practiced on the porch back in May. It's a strong song of Graham's and the crowd was with us. We then did "Woke Up," which is the first song I wrote, and things just moved along from there. We had a couple small problems here and there but we always found ourselves again pretty quickly. The crowd definitely seemed to be enjoying the show, especially as we moved along. Tom Adamson was dancing along to our closer, "Poor," which is a real country thumper. I had to borrow and harmonica holder so I could play both it and the bass on the song, but the harmonica kept slipping away. Oh well. We'll nail it next time.
Once we were done, we got a nice round of applause and then congratulations from the audience. Some of my co-workers had driven down and seemed genuinely glad that they had. Jill and my mom were there in support of me too. Then to top off the good feelings, one of the Strike Zone workers came over with our share of the money for the night ($70!) and said we had won the battle of the bands. That meant we get to go back and play in the finals on Aug. 10 against 10 other bands. The winner takes home $300, which would be great.
It was such a blast to do the show and I think all of us feel good about what we accomplished. Now it's back to practice so we can tighten things up and work on new stuff. We'd like to start recording soon too. Definitely a lot more to come from Gs Livid Penny.
Here's the setlist, just for fun...
Jews & Gypsies
Under the Cops
Song For a Day
Waste Your Breath