On Tuesday night, I was invited to attend a special screening of a video documentary on some of our Bay Area musical talents, including members of the Escovedo Family, Sheila E, MC Hammer, Dwayne Wiggins, and George Duke. The documentary was directed by none other than Mr. P. Frank Williams, a very talented film producer and a visionary in his own right. The event was put on by Sean Kennedy & Benni B. Presents at Liege, a beautiful venue on 9th Street in the old Downtown Oakland area. What a wonderful spot! I had a great time and will be returning very soon. On what is known as Fat Tuesday (the night before Lent begins), in our own Jack London Square area, there were things a-happening for sure. The town was alive in celebration of Mardi Gras! Miss Pearl's Jam House was alive and kickin', after a short stint of closure. The Vitus Club was jumping with the Bay Area's own New Orleans clone, The Blue Bone Express, and The Hot Pink Feathers Dance troupe. There are so many more fun things to do in town these days. If you're looking for a great time, please take a evening stroll through the area mentioned, and enjoy.
Last week I advised you on showmanship. This time, I'd like to discuss the importance of choosing the right material for a certain venue. How would do you gadge what songs to include for the gig? In my own group, we play all-original material, so that means I have to make sure I make the time to figure out the probable audience demographic for the particular venue. I then go through my long list of songs and build a show that will tell a story through our music. So we have what some would call a standard opening tune that usually segues into the first song on the list. From there, we start to narrate the story based on where I put the songs on the set list. Since we offer all-instrumental song pieces, choosing isn't always so easy. I have to consider the song, determining what it offers in melody, energy, and overall entertainment value. Does the song tell the story that the song title suggests? Do the solos speak to the audience and deliver the message that we want at that point of the show? These are all things I tend to think about every time I get the call for a gig. It's one thing to just go out and play your tails off, but if you don't consider the specific venue and its regular clientel, you stand the chance of becoming just another good band -- but one that the audience will forget as soon they leave you. Keep it interesting, think as if you were going to see and hear yourself perform. Stay true to your creativity and what makes you unique. Just a thought, from one musician to another.
Stay true to your self and in sharing your sincerity to supporting the venue. We should all remember to never forget, that without the venue, we have no venue to share our true passion...our music!
So stay tuned, as there will be more to come. Peace.