12 January 2006

Walking the talk

So I went to The Red Light Cafe for the open mic night last night. It went surprisingly well.

Everyone gets 15 minutes to play. That ends up being around three songs, so I played "No One Receiving" and "Resonance I" from The Silent Spectrum and "My Beautiful Day" from The Journalist. People seemed to like my summation of the stories (wacky!). Red Light does this every Wednesday, so I'll probably start making a regular event of it.

I was in the restroom when they came out with the sign up sheet, so I ended up with the next-to-the-last slot at 10:45. That gave me extra time to fret. Oh well. Playing in front of people always gives me the shaky, adrenaline hands. Last night, they started early. I need to start bringing gloves. It wasn't at all cold in the place, but I couldn't keep my hands warm and it only got worse as I sat there. Then I decided to go over the music in my head. Big mistake. Whatever I was playing should have already been learned, no amount of reviewing beforehand would help an hour before going on stage. I only succeeded in freaking myself out because I couldn't remember voicings for a few sections of "Resonance." Gah.

Lisa came for some much-needed support, and a few guys from Moresight serendipitously came in just before I went on. They were setting up an as-yet-unconfirmed gig for the 20th (next Friday, go!). Lisa gave a thumbs up on the performance and even said my voice sounded good (the wonders of a good microphone and mixing board). She did however warn me that the nervous tics I had while talking about the songs (hand waving and such) veered away from the Woody Allen type neurotic to a less presentable psychosis. I need to reign that in. The Moresight guys were very supportive. Brandon had good comments on the song structures and Matt immediately picked up on a Philip Glass influence. I was very lucky to have musicians I (kindof) know there.

There were many really skilled musicians there. That made the 10:45 thing even more nerve-racking. However, and this sounds cruel but isn't, all of the people who made skillful and less-than-skillful mistakes made me feel more comfortable. It's not that I was reveling in their failure, rather it helped me put my own performance in context. Even a complete meltdown was Just Not That Important. I had to focus on the thousands of times that I sat at home and played and really really got into it. And this should be no different. If I had had a meltdown, I maybe wouldn't next time I performed and there'd at least be a funny blog entry to write.

I hadn't been on stage for several years, but I feel more comfortable now--despite all of my neurosis--because I'm much better prepared.

[ posted by sstrader on 12 January 2006 at 4:44:26 PM in Music ]