Thursday, February 17, 2011

WEGO: February 11th at the Gypsy Cafe

Andrew's Opening Set (32 megs)
Set 1 (45 megs)
Set 2 Truncated (12 megs)
Brief Video Clip From Andrew's Set (21 megs)

Here are the recordings from WEGO's February 11th return to the Gypsy Cafe. The Gypsy is that wonderful bohemian lounge at the bottom of Stone Way in the heart of what I'm gonna call "Freelingford". You know the one! Actually, I'm assuming you were there because geez-oh-man-oh-howdy did we have a large and energetic crowd that night!

It was my turn to do the opening set for the evening. Since I'd just finished recording my acoustic album, you'd think I would've been well-prepared, but I had decided to add a trio of new covers to the set "just to keep things fresh". I'm still in a slightly weird place with performing this way. The audience connection and the guitar-and-voice part feel consistently strong these days. However -- especially with a big crowd like this -- the solo sections still tend to feel under-supported with my finger-picking approach. Perhaps I didn't have the changes for the new ones down enough either…? Just now I'm thinking maybe I should turn up a bit and play more lightly throughout, so that the single-note stuff can keep up with the strumming without me having to snap every string so hard. Another possibility (almost the opposite in a way) is that my strings are too light and loose and I need to get some fatter strings so I can lay into it more without saturating the single-note stuff so quickly … though this would likely make any tap-styling seem even quieter by comparison … hmmm). Regardless, just doing it more is sure to help and in spite of my second-guessing here this show did continue the upward trend in my interest in the format.

After that, it was two rowdy sets of WEGO. We had planned to set up our own PA and monitors for this one, but for various reasons it just didn't happen and the sound on stage ended up varying from okay to muddy. This no-doubt increased the challenge in building tight grooves and hitting crisp transitions, but I'm happy to report that the mix is totally listenable on the recording. And the playful energy and some inspired lyrical renditions come through quite clearly in places.

Random notes: Ian was sporting an extra clean and present tone for this one, playing through one of the beautiful house acoustic 6-strings. Dennis brought out a drum and shaker, adding some nice depth to the groove, but sadly Jesse abandoned setup of his keyboard as it started getting late and so we didn't get to benefit from the inspired harmonic additions that we've become spoiled by at rehearsals. But he *did* sing more than usual, and that of course was a good thing. Take set-2's "Let's Dance", for example. This show featured some first appearances of what are sure to become regular lyrical standards: Country Roads, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, American Band, When I Think About You, Electric Avenue, and probably at least one more that I've forgotten.

And yeah, wow, what a great crowd! Standing Room Only for the first half of the night, and people actually took advantage of the opportunity to dance! Dancing makes me happy.

I had forgotten to delete the recordings from the previous get-together and so the portable recorder ran out of flash-ram at about 15 minutes into the second set, but I think things went pretty well for that set too. If you remember anything particularly awesome (or disturbing!), by all means call it out here in the comments.  Oh, and speaking of, check out these great photos taken by my "friend" David Levin.  ;))  If anybody got any photos of WEGO in action, please send them my way ... They can't possibly make me laugh as hard as these, but I'll probably add them to the post anyway.

(Addendum: Thanks to Kyle for stepping up with these extra photos!)

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