Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ding ding ding dingy ding-ding...pressure!

Working on the Sarah Mac Band web page should be a pleasure. Actually, it is a pleasure...but there's a "but". See, I have to do it in my spare time. I work 8 hours a day, mostly spent sitting in front of a computer, often doing web related work. That particular web work is of the un-creative, state office type though.

By the end of the work day, I've had about enough of computers and code. This pains me though because if I wasn't drained from the work day, I'd be thrilled to work on a site that allows for creativity and originality.

So how does one go about motivating himself to sit back down in front of a computer and tap away all evening when he really just wants to sit back and watch Veronica Mars with no distractions? Well, sometimes he doesn't, unfortunately, but when he does, these are the key factors:

»prospect of doing some web design that reminds him of why he enjoys doing it in the first place
»desire to help the band and give them a web presence that promotes their music as successfully as possible
»fear of being fired as web designer and having the band hate him
»it's wednesday, Veronica Mars isn't on tonight, and Lost isn't on until 10

I'm happy to say that after a few weeks of on and off motivation, there's a new Sarah Mac Band website to take a gander at. I'm also happy to say that I believe that might be the first time I've ever used the word "gander" in a sentence. The band has been most patient with me as I've plugged away at it, and they seem to like the finished product. Of course, I mostly see what I wish it could be and everything that it's lacking. I guess that happens in any creative field though. I know my expectations and that certain things on the site haven't lived up to them. Other people don't know those expectations, they just know what they see.

Oh well, it still has a few more changes and additions to come, but the pressure to get the new site live is finally off. And, the band still likes me. I think. At least as much as they did before...however much that was.

Go gander!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gotta Start Somewhere (or, To Hell and Back)

*special note on the title: as a lifelong tallahassee resident/seminole fan, i'm legally obligated to refer to gainesville as 'hell' at least once

Let me begin by establishing something early on. I don't like bars. Being a non-drinker, the abundance of alcohol is a contributor, but only a partial contributor. My main issue is all of the ambient noise. In that kind of setting, my monotone voice just disappears into oblivion about a foot after it leaves my mouth. This leads to me having to repeat myself over and over, or to just give up and say "nevermind" when it's clear there's no hope of being heard clearly. But, I have accepted that if I'm going to be helping out an up and coming band, I'm going to experience my fair share of bars along the way.

This leads me to The Shamrock, a pub in Gainesville where the band played back in January. A particularly hard to locate pub, at least for someone with no experience driving in Gainesville, armed only with a Google map featuring a mis-labeled road or two. Fortunately, with a phone assist from a member of the band Redboy (the main act for the evening), I was able to find it. Also fortunately, the band had already been there awhile and had lugged all the heavy equipment in themselves.

There was still a couple hours before they were supposed to play, so I toyed around with my new video camera a while, then went with Claire and Sarah to Publix to pick up a few things, including a birthday cake for Redboy. It was their two year anniversary as a band. The cake was a surprise to them when they finished their set (around 2am), and they seemed pretty happy about it. I myself was pretty happy about getting a free hamburger for dinner, another perk of being "with the band".

So, the SMB played their set, it went well, and I filmed a good bit of it, but it came out really dark. I'll link to it below anyways, but you might have to turn up the brightness on your monitor to see them. The crowd, mostly there to see Redboy, seemed to enjoy the SMB. I like to sit in the back and overhear comments and conversations about the band, then report back to them later. I guess the overall noise level contributed to there being a shortage of any of that on this evening though.

Sadly, I had put my camera back in my car after they were done and missed some of the best stuff. There was a bar fight on the patio area outside for starters. One guy broke a bottle over another guy's head, and then they sort of slammed each other up against the window and startled everybody nearby. There was some bleeding involved. I think bar windows should be made out of candy glass so that in case of a bar fight, people can throw each other through the windows, just like in the movies. Ya know, anything to make life more like a movie...

The other exciting moment was when Redboy played their song where one member (Anne?) walks around in the crowd with a gong, sometimes letting audience members play it. Apparently Sarah had *really* wanted a chance at bangin' the gong, but when her time came, well, she grew feathers and a beak and basically just totally chickened out. There's rumored to be video of it, but I've yet to see it.

My original plan for the evening was to make the two hour drive back to Tallahassee after the show, naively thinking that it would end around midnight. So when I realized it was going to go much longer than that, I started trying to make plans to get a hotel room and stay the night like the band was planning. As I mentioned before, it ended around 2am. We didn't finish loading up all the equipment until about 3am, and then Redboy invited us all to go eat somewhere. It was a place I'm drawing a blank, but it's basically just like Denny's. After some breakfast and good conversation - including a fascinating toothpaste discussion - it was finally time to bring an end to this whole experience. By this time, it was after 4am. I decided that it wouldn't be worth it to get a hotel room at this point, and I should just hop back on I-75 and take it on back home. Sarah channeled my mom (who's very much alive, so I don't know how that works) for a few minutes and tried to convince me that it wouldn't be safe for me to try to drive back, but my stubbornness won out, and I headed home, promising to call when I got back.

I made it back safe and sound and was in bed by 6:30am. And yes, I was a good boy and called Sarah's phone and left a message. I contemplated leaving a message pretending to have run off the road and wrecked, but I figured she had been traumatized enough for the evening by the gong...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

No Promises to Keep It Interesting

I love music. I love bands/artists that play good music.

But, I've always been on the audience side of bands. Now, though I'm not actually *in* a band, I've spent enough time behind the scenes of one that it kind of feels like I'm experiencing things from their perspective.

Thus, I'm a-gonna blog about it. My roles with the band include 'web guy', carrier of equipment, and videographer.

If the homage to Joni Mitchell in my blog title has been inadvertently stolen from some other blog, don't go all Chiffons on me, it was just what came to me while thinking of a title for this thing.

Posts here might be a little sparse at times because I'll mostly just write about gigs. Like about how cold it was at the 621 Gallery, and the crazy feedback issues during soundcheck, and how 2 trains passed about 40 yards away during the show.

Maybe I'll add something between shows, here and there, to keep it interesting, but I make no promises.

So, until I post again, go visit the band's website (which I created) and see why they're blog worthy.