So last night, I performed my first solo gig. Some thought I was on fire, others (including myself) might’ve thought I crashed and burned, but overall, I was glad I got behind the wheel. Small deal for some, big deal for me. Here’s my rundown of last night.
Before I got to the gig, I decided to do away with playing acoustic and instead just play along to a fake band on CD. I rendered “stage versions” of the two songs I planned to perform: Rush and Running With Roses. I took the original tracks and just cut the volume of the guitar/main vocals by 40% and kept the harmonies. Tuned my guitar to the instrumental, practiced along with it about 5 times and it sounded great. The 3 hours later at the venue, it’s 5 minutes to showtime and all hell breaks loose. Some performers were no shows, so I was asked to play two more songs.
The last guy just finished singing and rapping. Then the host brings this short, baby-faced Asian kid to the stage, armed with a guitar plugged in to his iPhone (using an app that turns it into a amp) and an iPad with lyrics. Might I mention, I’m about 3 beers and a couple of stoges in …just to calm my nerves on an empty stomach. This would be my first time singing to a crowd. Ever. I figure I’d start off with a disclaimer, something like, “I know this is hip-hop night, but I was asked to bring something different tonight.” That got some cheers. Then I nod to the DJ to kick off the first song.
1) “Insomnia In Song”
This was one of the songs that was added last minute …and I played it first. I figure I’d start off with a slow jam to keep with the vibe. Probably not the best way to start off, due to lack of rehearsal and prep time. Since I didnt have a “stage version” of the song ready, I just played along to the original version from the CD. Kinda wack. The guitar was out of tune with the song, I missed some chords, forgot some lyrics, dropped my pick… It was a real shitshow. But whatever, the show must go on, right? I promised the crowd that the next one wouldn’t suck.
2) “Running With Roses”
Okay, this is it. I rehearsed this one. Again and again. Song starts. For the most part, all goes well. The guitar tuning was a little better than last song, I didn’t drop the pick, missed a few unnoticed chords and the lyrics were on point, save for some minor pitchy-ness.
Even though they wanted me to do 4 songs, they wanted to split up my act into two. I was ready to walk off stage, but then I hear the opening cymbals of Rush. I look at the DJ confused, and he tells me to keep going. I start the song… then half way through the chorus, the DJ cuts the track to a slow spin-out. I thought he was either remixing it or telling me I suck. I see the host and the DJ give me the “kill it” hand motion. Apparently I exceeded my 6 minute spot. I say thanks to the crowd and I walk off stage. I guess 2.5 out of 4 ain’t bad.
Overall… I crashed and burned. But I enjoyed myself doing it, in an afterschool-special-learned-my-lesson kind of way. I contemplated if I should continue with the second set (Rush and Payday). I was already a little embarrassed and felt out of my league… but I hate running away from challenges. Ultimately, I asked to scrap my second spot on stage, since I would’ve had to wait another 45 mins… and I was already starving. I thanked the host, packed up and my friends and I went to eat at the Filipino bar up the block… where they had another Open Mic. It was a smaller, laid back atmosphere, so I figured I would jump on the mic with the acoustic guitar they provided and repeat my setlist to redeem myself. It felt good… and I had some Bistek and a Red Horse too.
Videos coming soon.