Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Singin' n' Strummin' in South Park

Last night I had a great time playing Charlie California's Tuesday Night Open Mic at Rebecca's Coffee Shop, in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego.  Charlie was unable to host this week, so Lightning Tom filled in and did a great job.  He was assisted by Kimo, who helps things run smoothly every Tuesday night, and who again did an expert job playing kickass percussion with some of the performers.  And we were assisted on the sound board by Miguel, who also runs sound at the Monday Night Open Mic at Lestat's.  Miguel does a fantastic job, and it was a privilege to have him as my sound man two nights in a row.  I also forgot to thank him here for all the nice words he said about my performance of "Pretty Blade Trickster" Monday night.

My new and dear friend Sandie came out to watch me play, which was so nice.  It feels so great to have friends and fans coming out to see me and hang out with me for open mics where I'm just playing 2 or 3 songs.  It really warms my heart.  I want to thank Sandie, especially for sticking around as long as she had to, to see me.  There was a glitch with me and the sign-up sheet, where I thought I would play somewhere between 7 and 8pm, but didn't end up going on until after 9.

I played "Picture of Your Touch" first, then "Home of Love," and closed out with "Pretty Blade Trickster."  I felt even more comfortable than I did last night at Lestat's.  There is still some nervousness, and thoughts that creep in while I'm playing that knock me out of the present moment for a second or two.  But I definitely felt last night like I was present for most of my set and really enjoying being up there, singing and playing.

I've been using my own guitar amp, my light and portable but loud and versatile Roland Cube Street, where I am able.  This was unheard of at the open mics I played in New York City, where everyone needed to use the same amp, to save time and keep things moving at a good pace.  But at a few open mics here in San Diego, I can set it up before everything starts, or just quickly hook it up right before I start playing.  To my own ears and those of others, It makes a big difference.  My trusty black Fender Strat sounds much better with my own amp and my own custom settings for it.  Cliff Niman mentioned this at Starbucks Saturday and Jeff Boyer mentioned it to me last night at Rebecca's.

I saw a lot of other great performers last night, some of whom I am getting the honor to know personally as we chat before and after our respective sets.  Eric Bender did a fantastic job last night, his voice and songwriting skills are amazing to me.  Jeff Boyer played some excellent blues instrumentals.  I also caught Michael James for the first time, who really blew me away.  He has an understated yet powerful low voice and incredibly heartfelt lyrics.  The originals he played last night for me had a dark mood, but a distinct beauty from the pure expression of emotions.  Really hope I get to see him perform some more.

Another thing I've been noticing at all these open mics is the supportive atmosphere at them.  There is a strong vibe at all these open mics I've been to, where both the musicians who come to play, and the audience members who come to watch and listen, appreciate the courage it takes any of us to get up and play music in front of other people.  Especially if we are primarily playing our own original material that we created ourselves.  It's a real gift to be able to feel supported by that energy night after night.

The video at the top is from this past Saturday's Open Mic Rancho San Diego at the Starbucks in El Cajon, in which I play "Picture of Your Touch" in front of a live, in-person audience for the first time ever.  You can see John "J-Rod" Rodriguez playing bass on the right of the screen, and you can hear but not see Dave Farrell on drums, who is out of frame to the left.  Huge thanks to Singer/co-Organizer Teri Hoffman for shooting that, uploading it and posting it to YouTube.

I'll be going back to the 710 Beach Club, at 710 Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, tonight to play their open mic for the 3rd Wednesday in a row.  Looking forward to that very much. Thanks for visiting my blog here and for reading, I really appreciate it.

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