Bands On The Beach
Plenty of interesting groups play around Pensacola Beach. This week, I caught a bit of True Blue, a sort of funky blues band out on the pavilion. If you're new here, Pensacola Beach's free concert series is called "Bands On The Beach". Catch it every Tuesday night from 7-9 pm. The shows go from April to October. Free admission.
So, I wandered down from my beach cottage house and caught this band. I didn't know what to expect, since True Blue's description found in the Island Times was just enough to capture my imagination. At the same time, it was just vague enough for me to go, "huh?"
What I saw and heard was a pretty good cover band. [Again, the reason why bands cover music is because it gets you out the door a lot faster where money and good times happen.] True Blue's band was quite good. They knew their material and had solid chemistry. I'd put them somewhere between blues and jam band. The best part was their audience was happy, and that's the important thing. Still, if you click the video below, you'll find the vocals a little boomy in the lower registers. This is a proximity effect. If the vocalist gets too close to the microphone, it has more bass. I wouldn't call the singing virtuoso, but the whole act worked as a unit. It was fun and interesting.
I could've stayed all night= because the guitar sounded amazing, but I had to go. The guitar player had a '60's cherry red Gibson 335 plugged into a Fender Silver Face type amp. Drums and bass were very solidly in the pocket. Click the video to hear it for yourself. Pretty nice.
Big Secret (What's In It For You)
Not to set your expectations per se, but the reason I do this before beginning to pull people together to create a show is to know and respect the competition. I also do this to find out what's missing. I want to see how I'd do things differently.
You see, I believe in truth in advertising. And playing a gig is just that: all truth AND advertising. In a venue, you can capture everyone's attention in positive and negative ways. If you do a good job, people will have a good time and not even know why. With an outside gig, you can capture passers by who'd otherwise never see your show. So, it's very important to have your act together. You certainly don't want to "throw out clunkers" (making little mistakes - usually the bass player makes clunkers) or train wrecks (BIG mistakes where the whole band can't recover). With live gigs, mistakes are part of the deal. But if you practice every day, the odds get lower.
As I mentioned in previous blogs, playing in a band and committing to its success can be a soul crushing experience. It can also be insanely fun. And it all depends on the people you surround yourself with. So, when I go and see a band, I want to see how they're getting along. A happy band makes better music. Good chemistry means everyone's working together. See the video above? Every band member is doing great. No mistakes.
What I'd Do Differently (so far)
When I look at True Blue, and reflect on what I saw of their show, there's one thing I'd do differently: audience engagement. This is a part that was missing for me. There's no doubt people were having fun. There's a part of me that asks for the band to pull me into the music and give me a show I won't forget. There are call and response songs that could be done, etc. Maybe just talk to me and get me interacting with the band?
In all fairness, I didn't stick around to see the whole show and I may have missed it. But I can usually tell by first impressions what you see is what'll you get. I learned this in college, when my buddy Owen and I, would size up bands at The Cap. Our observations led us to start a New Wave Punk Band we called, "Get Russ Laid". I wish I had video of our show, but the best I have are some old photographs, like the one below.