Wednesday, December 12, 2007

World Premiere Night for Great Uncle Helmer

I had a definite mandate in mind when Karl arrived at my house to rehearse last Sunday. I wanted to do new songs. Mine, his, ours, whatever. So we rehearsed a bunch of new stuff and played it tonight at Dunn Bros. on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. It was great.

Complete Setlist (with link back to this blog)

It was the most new songs we have played since the first GUH show 15 years ago.

"Dirty, Ishy, Sharp, Wet, and Hot", written from the perspective of a one year old, prompted a stranger to come up and share her experiences as a parent and say how much she liked the song. That confirmed my feeling during the song that I was really connecting with some people.

I think Karl's "I Miss You" will become a favorite of mine because of its quirky bass part, which Karl wrote but I get to play. "Tugging at Strings" and "Cub Cubota" were maybe not as successful tonight, but I have confidence they will be great eventually, as they are great songs with some great circular Karl lines. Check this out from "Tugging at Strings" - "Fear is the force that is forcing your face to the window to watch for the things that you fear."

"Isolation For Christmas" brought everyone down and drew complaints, as it should. Well, guess what! That was the edited version as Karl was uneasy with some of the hateful words I actually wrote it with. The truly dark version will be on our Christmas CD, should that ever be finished. But really, it's about caring for people that care for you back in ways that really matter. And Karl's harmony part blows my mind with its Garfunky beauty.

"Powerful Statement" felt really great live. It is much more fun that way than it is practicing it at home. I think as our last song it made a great lead in to the Doc's Kids part of the show. I actually hooked deeply in to the emotion of the song tonight and found quite a bit there to be had. It sort of became true as I sang it.

For anyone who was there and wondering, the near fainting at the end of the song was quite real. I had nothing left after a long day (and some of the previous night) of child care and saw stars and became weak in the knees. I was WRUNG OUT, people! What a fun show.

Doc's Kids were great, as they always are. Maybe some lyrics were blown when they aren't usually, but that was more than made up for by the expressive, melodic trombone solos BPZ was playing. He closed his eyes and let out these intuitive streams of melody that expanded on the songs. I know I've enjoyed his solos before, but tonight somehow took it to a different, very soulful place. Been woodshedding, Z? Was it because I hit you with a banana and made you sad, soulful, and vengeful? (Yes, it was me.)

To top it off, Justin presented me with a collapsible keyboard stand after the show. Now when I play my Technics SX-K700 PCM Keyboard at his rock shows I don't have to bring the cumbersome, decidedly non-collapsible stand. Don't get me wrong, I have great affection for the old stand and the keyboard-securing screws it came with (and which I've managed to not lose for 20 years), but that thing was smacking us in the head from the backseat of his truck when we carpooled to the latest J. Bell show.

Finally, I exchanged some very sincere compliments with Mischa of Mighty Fairly, whose "Hang The Tinsel When" is possibly my favorite original Christmas song on the new Toys for Tots CD. I hadn't really met him before.

I don't know how many toys we got for Toys For Tots. It didn't seem like very many. I am hopeful that we will get more at Eden Prairie on Friday. Go to the show and bring a toy! Get all the information you need right there. Yeah!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Just in case you were excited about that Memphis Evans solo show advertised a couple entries ago let me make clear that it is NOT happening. It has been canceled. For rescheduling information, should any rescheduling happen, click here.