Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Secret to a Great GUH Show

Some variation on "Great GUH Show" is, I believe, the most common headline at this blog. Tonight we played at the Bean Factory (proudly serving J&S Coffee) on the south side of Randolph Avenue just east of Snelling in St. Paul. The young man working there welcomed us to the place and got a space cleared out for us to set up. It doesn't seem like that would make such a huge difference but it totally does. I've played places where everyone working there seemed to feel that the music was a nuisance and this was the opposite of that and I appreciate it.

We had enough people show up that the place was full. There were always people paying attention and enjoying the show. People requested stuff we knew and stuff we wrote. A kid requested several songs I knew from my days as a guitar teacher and I mumbled my way through Heart Shaped Box and explained that being a guitar teacher in the 1990s means that I know all the guitar parts for that song but none of the lyrics.

Karl played and sang great. We rehearsed for a couple hours before the show and went back to some rarely played stuff off 1997's old man will travel, our first CD. We did pretty strong versions of our recent Christmas material. We did the minute song, holding the final note to make it exactly a minute, watching the second hand of the clock near the stage, a live variation on the tacked-on, backwards intro of the recorded version. We finished with We'll Go On Forever, Foreign Movie, and finally Powerful Statement. We had people that weren't previously acquainted with us buy the Toys For Tots CD, raising $48 in cash and checks and taking home a big box of toys.

Modest goals perhaps, but they were thoroughly and well met. (I'm listening to Elvis' "So Close, Yet So Far" right this moment, my iTunes set to shuffle, and it occurs to me that I should use a delayed electric guitar obligato sometime. That descending riff in the right channel on the chorus is such a cool sound on that song. So is the descending, delay drenched electric riff in the Monkey Eat Monkey version of Flip Nasty's "No One Could". Anyway...) The place was relatively small, but it was a great GUH show and afterward Karl and I stood out by our cars talking about what makes a great GUH show and to some extent it's the music but we can play music alone at our houses. What really makes a GUH show great is the people.

So! Sincere thanks to everyone who came and supported the live music scene that matters most to me - my own! The staff of the coffeshop who welcomed us, the totally unexpected, spontaneous man (also named Karl) who opened our show for us singing That's Amore with his mandolin and telling us about his experience moving a piano and a truck, the people who enjoyed our music and supported the Toys For Tots drive, and of course my man Karl who set it all up and played his heart out like he always does.

And we'll see you tomorrow night! (Incidentally, I'm going to try to recquaint myself with some of the material we tried tonight that didn't work as well as it could have. I'm thinking here of Foreign Movie and Bass Guitar.) Sunday, November 29, 5-7 p.m., Eden Prairie Dunn Bros. at the historic Smith-More House. Full information. See ya!

p.s. Here's something extremely weird. Our old man will travel CD is available from resellers at and people are trying to get $40 and much more for it. I have two questions: a) Why? and b) Are people actually paying these prices? I have sent the following e-mails to the sellers:

Hi (seller name),

I am in the band that created this CD. Just out of curiosity, are you actually selling any copies of the CD at these prices? I notice a lot of people selling it for a lot of money and am wondering if there is some collector market for it that I am unaware of or whether it's some kind of marketing strategy? Just wondering. Thanks.


I'll keep you updated when I hear back.