Play Softly And Carry A Thin Pair Of Sticks, Or A Drummer’s Guide To CNY Venues, Part 1: The Buzz Cafe, Syracuse

This (what I hope will be a) series of posts stems from a gig that changed the way I approached all the songs I played that evening (specifically, this gig). Changed in the kind of way that I wish the band had had proper notice of the situation we (well, I) were walking into in terms of the room, the acoustics, and the management. On the plus side, Syracuse is undergoing what I think is a slow expansion of mom+pop places that open their doors to live music. This is just fine for most styles of music and small groups. On the down side, these tend to be small places. This is just fine for most styles of music and small groups.

This can be a problem for a set drummer, which can then be a problem for the rest of the band. You rehearse and rehearse with a group at one volume, playing at a level at which you are comfortable playing all the complicated fills and patterns you like. Everyone gets used to hearing certain things and you get use to executing those things. Then you find yourself at a venue with your full kit and an owner who doesn’t seem to like loud noises. And by loud noises, I mean sounds generated by the lightest sticks you own using little more than your fingers to propel them several inches. And I understand the hesitancy an owner might have when confronted by a drummer they’ve never heard, as I’ve certainly sat near my share of drummers who didn’t adjust their playing volume to the room. But with this new adjustment, you’re not playing the same song you (and the band) have grown accustomed to. Now, the whole band may find itself reacting to this new dynamic from the drummer, while all the others in the band had to do was turn their volume knobs down a bit.

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Memorial Weekend 2008 Tune-age, Funktion Key 3 And The Excelsior Cornet Band

A post 150 years in the making (plus a few weeks to get everything else done), with that same 150 year gap in styles and instrumentation bridged in just under 2 days.

May 24, 2008 – Memorial Day Music (and Head Spinning) Festival

Quite possibly a first for the usually sedate town of Manlius NY, guitarist William Nicholson hosted a day-long Memorial Day Music (and Head Spinning) Festival in his own living room and back yard. 30 to 40 in attendance, mostly performers, which was just about the right size to work out the bugs for a 2nd Annual event next year. A few notable notes…

Know Nothing – I’d seen this duo once already at the Metropolis Underground as the opener for The Future Has A Silver Lining, the first band I ever walked out on (in the words of THE Tony Williams, “there’s a big difference between volume and intensity.” This headliner’s guitar player hadn’t quite figured that out as of that gig. Which is bad for experimental jazz, because they tend to sit rather close to their pick-ups and on that smallest string, if you get my meaning). Nice experimental jazz/rock duo. Can’t argue with a band with lead drums.

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