This month started out good. The weather was nice. Our first gig was Friday, July 9th at Hogs & Heifers in NYC. We rarely play in NYC any more, so it was fun to experience it once again. Unfortunately, NYC is so dead in the summer on the weekends. We still had a decent turnout (happy b-day once again Robbie D!!) But it was nowhere near as crowded as last time we played there. We made less money this time and had more people there to see us. I love Hogs & Heifers. It seems they give the bands a percentage of the bar if the bar does well, and that's rare in NYC and I respect them for that. It was a rough gig because my monitor was out the entire time. Couldn't hear myself at all. That's always scary. We had rehearsed "NASTY" a lot to play at that gig, but the vocals are just too tough on that song to do without being able to hear myself. So we didn't do it. The band after us were running late, so we were asked to play an additional 20 minutes. When the band after us DID play, they were killer! Lewd Buddha is their name, a 9 piece crazy funk band with latin percussion. They were smoking. I hope to play with them again. I bought their CD off of CDBaby.com.
Then came the weekend I was dreading - July 16th, 17th & 18th... 4 gigs in 3 days. Saturday, we played at 10am AND at 4pm. I was really nervous about this, especially after checking the weather report and seeing RAIN forecasted for EVERY DAY! July 16th from 8-10, we played in Altoona, PA, at their downtown summer concert series. Altoona is about 4 1/2 hours from Jersey City. But it took us more like 5 1/2 hours.... The weather was horrifying - we hit about 4 thunderstorms. One storm was so bad, visibility was non-existent. Then, things would clear up, and there was roadwork. At one point, it took us 25 minutes to drive 5 miles. It's a good thing Marco was driving! When we finally got to Altoona (Sheila met us there), we were stressed out and a little frazzled! But the weather in Altoona was great! The skies were clear and the venue had a good number of people. It was great to see our favorite fan in all of Pennsylvania, Kara, and we made new fans too. We all hope to head back to Altoona soon!
After the show, we headed to a hotel I had booked in Greencastle, PA. We had told some Altoona folks we were headed that way and they kindly told us a good way to drive (to avoid still more backups and roadwork!) It took us about two hours to get to the lovely Econo Lodge... Then, the next morning, we played in Chambersburg PA - AT TEN IN THE MORNING! This was difficult. I think we got to sleep around 1am and had to be playing at 10. We actually made it on time (just barely) and played our one set pretty well considering the lack of sleep and the time of day. No rain this day, either! After the set in Chambersburg, we high tailed it to Split Rock Resort for a 4pm hit at the Sand Bar. Of course, we had to stop at the Sandwich Man in Paxtonia on the way (best deli around... better than many in NYC at a fraction of the cost. We LOVE the Sandwich Man!!) Anyway, the total amount of driving time between Chambersburg & Split Rock is 2 hours 45 minutes. Imagine performing at 10am, driving 2 hours 45 minutes and then performing for FOUR MORE HOURS! Tiring. This was our first time playing at the Sand Bar, which is basically a space set up next to the bar out by the lake. Again - NO RAIN! It's a good thing there was no rain, because there was no coverage for us. We were completely exposed to the sun and the elements. We saw some people we had met at the wine festival and made new fans. We sang happy birthday to George, I had a couple of Pina Coladas, basically we had a great time. We really need to invest in a new PA solution, though. Someone came up and told us we weren't loud enough. Apparently, he is a professional sound guy and I was appreciative that he came up to help us. After our 4 sets at the Sand Bar, we were all pretty wiped out! Sheila decided to hang in the room, but the rest of us went out to eat. It was good to have an actual meal. Then, Jeff headed home, Sal went to bed, and Marco, Jack, Amy and I went to see George Wesley performing at the Rock Bar. And believe it or not, I drank more and Amy and I were DANCING to George! I have no idea where this last burst of energy came from. I really love George's music and vibe... he and his band are good people. So maybe that's where it came from. I have no idea what time I went to bed, but I think it was pretty late!
Sunday morning, Sheila and Amy went to the gym! Ok, I couldn't handle that! I slept in. I missed breakfast. I needed sleep and still didn't get enough. We had planned to go to a wildlife preserve in Stroudsburg this day, but the rain finally caught up to us. Sunday was miserably rainy and muggy and even got kind of chilly outside... not cold, but clammy. So we were at bit of a loss as to what to do. Sheila decided to go to mass and the rest of us decided to just drive to Stroudsburg, our final destination, and see if we could leave our gear in the venue, grab a bite to eat and find something to do. The venue let us leave our stuff, no problem, and we found a cute restaruant with great fresh squeezed orange juice! Actually, Stroudsburg is all pretty cute. I liked it a lot! Sheila caught up to us at the restaraunt and we decided our only choice was to go to the movies. So we headed to the mall, based on directions from a guy in the restaraunt. Sheila & Amy went in Sheila's car, the guys and I went in the van. Well, the guy in the restaraunt gave us flaky directions. We had to stop at a gas station to get real directions and made it to the mall about 1 minute before "I, Robot" was starting. I had sorta wanted to see this movie... so we just went for it, otherwise, we would have had to wait until 4 to see Spiderman 2. But Amy and Sheila hadn't made it to the mall yet! I called them and they were lost, so the guys and I just went to see the movie. I liked it. Marco and I then went to see "Spiderman 2" while Jack and Sal did - ?? I don't know what they did! When that movie let out, we bumped into Sheila... she and Amy had seen "King Arthur earlier and were now going to see "Anchorman"! I coudn't go ... couldn't sit through yet another movie! So the guys and I headed to the venue, the Sarah Street Grill, to set up and sound check and get some food and Amy & Sheila met us there when the movie let out.
Sarah Street Grill is a cute place with great food and there are also games lying around (Marco & Sal played Battleship while waiting for our dinner.) The sound system is great and the employees are super super nice. It wasn't real crowded seeing as it was a rainy Sunday night. But it wasn't real empty for a rainy Sunday night, either! We played 3 sets. By the end, I was ready to pass out (but the band played really well that night - the vocals, in particular, were excellent) We'll be playing there again in September and look forward to it.
So we were lucky. No rain during any of our outdoor gigs, and none of us grew to hate each other after staying in such close quarters all weekend! Well, I HOPE that's true!
There have been a couple of other things that happened this month, but I'll talk about them next month. One of them is very bad news, one is either good news or no news. I'll talk about it next month.
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Letters from the past:June, 2004
August, 2000 (from Marco)