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thoughts on REDCAT show

The night of music at the downstairs lounge at Disney last night was an improbable success.

Factors against it — weird architecture; no walk-in traffic; venue that people aren’t used to going to; time slot right after work in a part of the city that few people work in.

So how come it worked ok anyway?

  • The people were a good mix who gelled socially. If it was a party folks would have been gabbing away.
  • The musicians (Dick & Jane, mini-Sausage Grinder, Triple Chicken Foot) were all excellent. As much as it’s a pleasure to be so close to players when they’re good, it’s painful when they’re bad and you can’t escape.
  • The acoustics were round, warm and clear. I could hear every detail of the sound, and the sound was beautiful. It was a great listening experience.
  • I tried to get musicians to start and end sets flush next to each other, with no break in between to fuss with the setup, like songs in a playlist. To do that I had two different playing areas, aka “stages”, so that one band would set up in one while the other was playing. In a couple spots this way of doing things was really magical, for example when Triple Chicken Foot’s first song started and the sound just opened up. (I don’t think this idea specifically made the good vibe, I think it helped establish a feeling of energy).
  • The quality of the artwork for the flier (by Angelina Elise) created a sense that this was a worthy event.

  • Because the space isn’t a bar and because it wasn’t late, there were kids around. They did a lot to make the atmosphere feel open and direct in way that a rock club never is.
  • The main room is on the small side, so it doesn’t take a lot of people to make it feel full.

Thanks to Aaron Drake at REDCAT for making it all happen.

In the future I’m going to try to incorporate kid musicians into the show, doing one song at a time. I think that will create a friendly and homey feeling towards all the musicians and the event as a whole. Not sure how I’ll find em, though. If you’re an LA parent with a kid who plays guitar, give me a ping.

4 replies on “thoughts on REDCAT show”

Sounds pretty cool – like the poster art too!

It would be great to get some pictures and post them next time. (I got a lot out of seeing the pix from your Joshua Tree gig — of course, wish I could be there in person.)

I’ve heard from my friend who works at Truetone music in Santa Monica that there are some of the kids who take lessons there are really talented. Checking with other musicians about their students might be another good route for finding kids to play the gigs. (And, I can ping my friend at Truetone about it if you’re not getting other leads.)

So the photos actually contribute something? Really glad to hear that, and a little surprised for some reason that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe the blog entries about shows are all about telling stories well. Images make the story more vivid.

Not sure what the right thing for me to do is, relative to your friend at Truetone. I don’t want anybody to feel like this is Star Search, so it’d be ideal if kid players were children of parents who hang out in this subculture already. But maybe I’m being picky for no good reason.

Lately I like to get all my live music in non-bar, non-concert space experiences.
To me, to break free of that stereotypic dynamic of ticketmaster or date night is an important inducement to be in a park, a library, a matinee or a public space of uncertain musicality.

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