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I Played a Gig Yesterday


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So the soul-dance band played an afternoon gig yesterday, a July 4th celebration in a resort town in upstate NY. NY has been hit hard by coronavirus, but cases here were trending downwards in recent weeks and the governor has allowed more businesses to open and public gatherings (of limited size) are now permitted. The agenda was band show on Main St. in the afternoon followed by a parade, then fireworks.

 

We were told there would be separate platforms to allow separation of the band members, and a 20' paremeter fence to keep the crowd away. We were all a bit nervous about infection risk and because we hadn't played publicly in 3 months. We did manage to do 4 outdoor rehearsals in the 3 weeks leading up to the gig - the weather was cooperative. I was surprised the town went ahead with this celebration, and was privately predicting that everyone would stay home.

 

But instead of separate platforms, there was one single stage. It was fairly sizable, but we were closer than we wanted to be. We all soldiered on; the horn players are always set up in front of the keys, and they wanted to be sure my music stand was right in front of me to block my exhalations from getting to them.

 

I thought we played pretty well. I sang Ray Charles MaryAnn; we bungled the intro to Dr. John's Right Time Wrong Place when the horns forgot to come in (but the clav intro was spot-on, I must say); we did our first public playing of TOP Souled Out; we got thru EWF Shining Star without major clams (we've been struggling with that one recently). The first set, there were two people there. The second set there were maybe 30-40 people in view. The last set, families and kids were lining Main St. shoulder to shoulder. It's always fun to play in front of a bunch of kids because they get so excited and dance like crazy. We ended the show with a Sharon Jones-styled This Land Is Your Land, and packed up as the parade of fire-trucks went by. It was hot and sunny and the whole thing was smooth and pleasant - maybe even fun. And we got paid, which always feels nice.

 

But I have to say, it gave me the willies to see so many people standing next to each other on Main St: to my eyes, the masked and the unmasked were equally represented in that crowd . And very little about this made me think we are "going back to normal". First off, we all in the band will now spend the next two weeks wondering if we got ill: technically, we should all quarantine ourselves for that period. Right now, we are scheduled to do another outdoor show in three weeks, and we all have the attitude "it might happen, it might not, we'll see". I am expecting the governor will soon order an end to such public gatherings - or that the people in the state will start getting scared again and decide to stay home. Governors can order this or that, but if the people think it is risky to go to a show, there will be fewer shows. I can now find toilet paper and hand sanitizer in stores again: yet it doesn't feel like normal to me - it feels like we have left normal far behind.

 

A big full moon was rising up over the hills as I drove home, purple and pinkish in the haze. "With your eyes so big and shiny, you can see the whole damned land."

J.S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier

The collected works of Scott Joplin

Ray Charles Genius plus Soul

Charlie Parker Omnibook

Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

Weather Report Mr. Gone

 

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As a fellow upstate-of-NYC New Yorker, this is the thing that has put me off gigging even as outdoor venues open (and I should say that my county has one of the lowest infection rates in the state). There"s a lot of lip service being paid to social distancing and six feet and wearing your mask (unless you"re at your table or picnic blanket where you"re eating and drinking!), but it just takes a little bit of inattentiveness to the logistics to elevate the risk level beyond comfort.

 

I"ve taken comfort from interviews with epidemiologists where they describe just how difficult it is to transmit this virus in an outdoor environment. When I went to see some friends" first live gig since quarantine began at the local brewery last weekend, that was the only thing that made me feel comfortable at all. Once you start getting food and drink in people, even the cautious ones (and I count myself and my wife in this number) start to let our guard down.

 

We were glad to have gone out and seen people and live music... so, so glad. But afterwards we said 'nope, not ready for that yet.' The venue asked our band if we could fill in this past Friday, and after a group discussion, we declined.

 

It"s a challenging time. I"ve been feeling tremendously grateful to have moved into a new home in a friendly but secluded neighborhood, with lots of space to create music and have a few friends gather outdoors at a safe distance.

 

I hope your infection concerns are relieved soon, and that any future gigs you may have handle the staging and crowd dispersal more cautiously.

Samuel B. Lupowitz

Musician. Songwriter. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.

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As I think on it, a large part of what makes me feel there is no normal to go back to, is that I am not the only one in the band who is thinking "this isn't good for the band, or the people we play to". It seems to me the band is a sort of what lawyers call an "attractive nuisance".

J.S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier

The collected works of Scott Joplin

Ray Charles Genius plus Soul

Charlie Parker Omnibook

Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

Weather Report Mr. Gone

 

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As I think on it, a large part of what makes me feel there is no normal to go back to, is that I am not the only one in the band who is thinking "this isn't good for the band, or the people we play to". It seems to me the band is a sort of what lawyers call an "attractive nuisance".

 

 

We've had a couple of outdoor duo gigs so far this summer (we will not consider inddor gigs at this point).

 

One was a red-tinged nightmare, a variation on what you've described, we won't be playing there unless things change dramatically - probably a couple years out at this point.

 

The other was very well managed and comfortable. We are playing there again this Friday. No band gigs booked at this point, we would do the Sound Harley gig if they decide to go with it. Huge stage for a 4 piece band and security is good. Probably won't happen, so it goes. Time for recording projects!!!!!

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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The mics was exactly what I was thinking of as I watched an episode of Daryl's House yesterday featuring the O'Jays. Great music but they all were eating their mic's and now I'm so aware of stuff like that I was thinking how now there's no way you could have 2 or 3 singers clustered around one mic or passing a mic off from one person to another. Vocal mics have always been gross anyway but now?

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
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I noticed on the Formula One broadcast today that the mics for the guests (drivers and other team members) were often shotgun mics or similar (I couldn't tell exactly, they were covered in foam windcovers) and the guests stood away from them while being masked, obviously done so the mics were safe to be reused as well as keeping distance from the interviewer.

 

So this means, more mic sales, right? Each singer each needs their own. No more sharing. Great for mic manufacturers. :D

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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"Time for recording projects"

I wonder what constant use of lysol does to a Neuman U67?

I know...makes it sound CLEAN! Or atleast virus free.

 

In my humble studio I am an army of one. I have some options with mics, if somebody is going to visit and sing I can put that mic into quarentine for a week before and after without missing it.

 

I've always used my own vocal mics, never share them. I have a couple to choose from in the event some vile subhuman drools on one or something. :laugh:

 

If you don't let them get nasty then you don't have much cleaning to do.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I am not the only one in the band who is thinking "this isn't good for the band, or the people we play to". It seems to me the band is a sort of what lawyers call an "attractive nuisance".
That's one of the reasons my main band cancelled on a 4th of July gig. It was outdoors on a big stage. But we were told it was a secret, not to tell anybody, play at a low volume so as not to draw a crowd, etc. I said we could do that best by staying home. In addition to the risks to band members and to any people who might find us there, the goal of not having an audience was making my Absurdity warning light flash.
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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