Another great crowd and amazing virtual venue environment at Lutz City of Templemore. All photos by Kat.
Happy New Year! It actually feels very long into the new year to be writing those words, but since I have slacked on this blog through the entire holidays, this is my first post of 2019, so there you go. I would have at least posted had I done a live music show in the recent time frame... but I didn't. On Saturday December 15 -- four weeks ago today -- I awoke with the hideous realization that simply by "sleeping wrong", I'd injured my lower back badly. At the time, I'd had a show scheduled for the following Monday, but there was no possible way I could stand and hold/play a guitar. I could barely move for awhile. The back injury, as innocuously as it started, was so severe that I am still getting over it even now (though I should add that via exercise and various treatment, it's a lot better).
All that having been said, it was earlier this week that out of the blue, my buddy Luis reached out to me on Facebook to see if I was interested in performing at Lutz City of Templemore. There are very few circumstances in which I would say no to that offer. I love everything about the place... the incredibly beautiful design, the people who visit, and the way everyone associated with the place has a true love for interesting music. I accepted immediately.
Coming Back After a Hiatus
So, as a result of the back injury and breaks for the holidays, my previous show before this one was on December 3. That's about a month and a half of no shows, which is plenty long enough to be considered a hiatus. Performing live music is a multifaceted activity with both physical and mental aspects, and like many things in life, jumping back in after a break isn't always easy. For my fellow performing musicians, I'd say there are two factors that you should consider to prepare before your comeback show.
First, the physical side. Starting with singing, which involves a lot of muscle memory to hit your pitches accurately, you should plan on a lot more warm-up than you might usually do. Start slow, though! The last thing you want to do is strain your vocal chords in advance of your show. At some point in the days preceding your return, you should try going through an entire set. Just because you can hit some notes for a few minutes doesn't mean you're ready to sing for a solid hour. Same goes with your instrument... during your time off, you may have lost some of the dexterity you'd had while playing regularly, so give yourself some time to really warm up those hands. Go through the songs that you're sure you know by heart (but do it anyway). Oh, and my fellow guitar players might need to do a little extra practice to toughen up those callouses.
Second, the mental side. Performers who take time off almost invariably start losing the confidence that develops naturally from the reinforcement of performing on a regular basis. A confident performer isn't worried about hitting the notes or playing the parts, so their focus can get into the little details and nuances of the songs and the performance itself... and also have a good time while doing it. Your audience can hear confidence, I can promise. I'm fortunate in that I started playing live music in front of people when I was a little kid, and have done hundreds and hundreds of shows both real and virtual environments. It would take a lot longer than six weeks to make me lose faith in my ability to perform and entertain. In this regard, though, if you get a little nervous before a comeback show, it's pretty easy to use some Spock-like logic to remind yourself of the simple idea that you've done this before, you enjoyed it, your audience enjoyed it, and it's what you want to keep doing.
New Year, New Tunes
As long as I was doing my first show of 2019, I figured I'd kick off the year with some previously-unperformed songs. For Christmas, my mom gave me a completely unexpected and beyond-rad gift: the Pendleton sweater made famous by Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski. It's one of my favorite films of all time, and I was watching the end scene, with Sam Elliott doing his "the Dude abides" monologue, and suddenly realized that I'd never once played "Dead Flowers". It's not one of my favorite Stones songs, but Townes Van Zandt's cover used in the film is fucking phenomenal. So, I covered his cover. For my two other new-to-me songs, they were actually really new. Kurt Vile's album Bottle It In came out in October, and The Bevis Frond's latest came out on December.
Lutz City of Templemore set list...
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Pecan Pie (Golden Smog)
Don’t Let It Pass (Junip)
*We’re Your Friends, Man (The Bevis Frond)
Say Goodbye (Beck)
*Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones)
Among the Leaves (Sun Kil Moon)
*Loading Zones (Kurt Vile)
Luis and the Man (Jose Feliciano)
Underwater Underground (They Stole My Crayon)
Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell)
Trouble Child (Joni Mitchell)
*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.
Huge thanks to everyone who came out to beautiful Templemore to let me rock you, with extra-special love sauce to the following who supported the show!
Toxic Darkmatter, Nishiyo Resident, go2smoky Resident, Kat Claxton, Asimia Heron, Grace Sixpence, Aurelie Chenaux, TheaDee Resident, my fine manager Maali Beck, Templemore's excellent hostess Bee Blackrain, and the genius designer who makes that place what it is, Luis Lockjaw!