Gig Archives: 2002

(Disclaimer: this may be incomplete or inaccurate)

Sunday, February 3rd, 2002
Once again Dropsy performed a pre-debut show at Alex's warehouse/performance space. Every first Sunday of the month they have a "cabaret," which means whoever wants to play can do an all-acoustic set. Noting this I figured I could also throw together some Midline Errors tunes. In fact, I opened the whole evening. I think it went pretty well, except that my guitar was perhaps a bit too quiet being unamplified and all. That and one audience member hastened to point out that penguins don't live in the tundra. Whatever, dude.

Set list:
1. Tundra Story
2. Lifespan
3. The Campers
4. Forked
5. Uncorrected Personality Traits (Robyn Hitchcock cover)
6. Time Zone (a work in progress)

The Hitchcock tune was well received and helped prove to me once again that, it only helps to do cover tunes if you do them well, and if people actually like the damn song (regardless of whether or not they heard it already, and not just for its kitsch value).

Dropsy went on next. I played a rather quiet upright piano, Dave brought his real marimba, Alex played his completely inaudible upright bass, Mat had a snare and some cymbals, and Tom and Garth played the two loudest instruments (trombone and sax) so they had to stand at the back of the stage. Even still, Dave could barely be heard singing above the racket. We hadn't practiced this way, so we didn't know what to expect. Considering the result was impossible to predict, I think it came out okay and the listeners were seemingly pleased. Anyway, we're still working out the kinks before recording some stuff and performing a full set live for real.

Set list:
1. Level Below
2. Throw me
3. King of the Universe (featuring Jan on guest vocals)
4. Halfway There
5. Alibis
6. Hole in the World
7. RE: Love

Then I went into the crowd and handed out free Midline Errors CD-Rs, containing the unmastered versions of what will eventually be the first real CD. More acts were to follow, but it was getting late on a school night so Jenya and I bailed and went home.

Friday, February 8th, 2002
This was our first real show since playing the last show of the Spring '01 Tour in Norman, OK. Outside of being more underrehearsed than usual and the accidental nudity, it was par for the course. It happened at the good ol' Starry Plough in Berkeley.

Starting the evening was Whore. That's the band fronted by Katherine Copenhaver. Also featuring Myles Boisen, Wes Anderson, Joey Bulter, Mick Ronolffson, and Anne Kroeger. They rocked. And Jenya and Mike Mellender sat in on snare/horn respectively for a rousing rendition of "10 Dollar Bill."

The Fullbliss, our pseudo-label mates from Germany (though they are American, or at the singer, David, is American) went on next. Rock.

We went on late. All our friends were nice enough to stick it out through to the end. Erik broke a string twice. That messed up the flow, but that was wholly expected given all the feedback solos. After the set we got on earful of "please don't let this be your last show." Well we'll just see about that.

Set list:
1. Resigned
2. Ever After
3. Major Label Hate Mail
4. Less Actively
5. Nine
6. Mountain
7. Handwritten Mail
8. Practitioner
9. Mirrorface
10. Focal Point
11. Snow Tires
12. Worse
13. Rickety Ladder

Saturday, March 30th, 2002
with Dropsy:
Here we go again with Dropsy performing a sort-of-but-not-really-a-debut-show at Alex's live/work/performance space becoming known more and more as "the Fishtank." This time around we finally played our full set of twelve tunes, but we didn't have the whole lineup - Tom couldn't make it to the gig, so we were trombone-free. However, we were opening for our splendiferous pals Rube Waddell, and despite the fact several other really good shows were simultaneously being executed elsewhere in the East Bay, a good crowd of friends and otherwise filled the Fishtank. As well, my dad was in town visiting, so he came with his small digital camera. My brother, Ben, and his S.O., Lisa, witnessed the spectacle, too. Sometime before the set we got the word from Mat that he got into UCLA and will most likely be leaving the Bay Area in a few months.

Rube Waddell put on their latest puppet show first, and that was sublime. Then we went on. I think the show went well, and we had a lot of sweaty fun, and the crowd dug it. I felt we were pretty rough, but it was also a relaxed gig so whatever.

Set list:
1. Sign the Bill
2. King of the Universe
3. Shiny Scenery
4. Copyright
5. Level Below
6. Redesign
7. Alibis
8. Throw Me
9. Halfway There
10. Altimeter
11. Hole in the World
12. Fwd: Fwd: Re: Love

Broke down the equipment and stuck around for a chunk of the Rube set. Alex, quite drunk at this point, accidentally spilled a mixed drink onto the floor that soaked into my ass cheek.

Tuesday, April 9th, 2002
This large, amorphous, unwieldy ensemble led by Dan Plonsey performed at the current East Bay repository for new music, commonly known as the Black Box> in Oakland. A beautiful space, and a minimum number of people showed up to make it worthwhile.

The concert was billed as: "Music from Northern El Cerrito: Daniel Popsicle plays Cerrito Theatre Music of Dan Plonsey." The pieces were short and amusing - looking at Dan's scores makes me laugh before I even hear what they sound like. Not that the music is funny - it's hard to explain. I was doubling on Nord Lead keyboard and mini-drumkit. The rather large ensemble was: Dan Plonsey (sax), Tom Yoder (trombone), Michael Zelner (clarinet), Carol Adee (flute/piccolo), Lynn Wold (keyboards), Randy Porter (mandolin and fretless turkish banjo lute), John Shiurba (guitar), Marc Culbertson (bass), Matthew Sperry (bass), Ward Spangler (vibes and percussion), Matt Ingalls (clarinet), and me.

Set list:
1. Overextension of Overindulgence of Overeating, (Over,)
2. Octet 1: Adam Pays the Piper
3. Stupidity Allied with Baseness #1
4. Precision Theme, Ohio
5. Septet 1: Lila Looms and Brooms
6. Twelve Different Boxes of Jello Have I
7. Calibrating the Fish Tank for Eels
8. As Ethan Said to Reuben
9. Aha! (The Helmeted Frog Speaks at Last)
10. Eat a Single Peanut, Ezra
11. Offering the Cherries to Dylan
12. Gargantuan Livestock Tended by Fools
13. Zephyr's Magic Tongs
14. If Dortmund Delights Duncan

The following act was John Shiurba's 5x5 which featured the Dan Plonsey, Matt's Sperry and Ingalls, Morgan Guberman, and John. Good stuff.

Friday, April 12th, 2002
with Dropsy:
Finally we played somewhere else besides the Fishtank, opening for Attaboy and Burke and the Lemon Limelights. We glommed onto this show last minute, thanks to an invite by the Limelights. We didn't actually put forth any effort to a book a show, and here we are, losing our rock club virginity.

We went on first and I think it went really well. The sound picture was much more pleasing than any other performance we did, though we're seemingly missing trombone from the mix for good. The healthy smattering of audience members seemed to enjoy it. At the end they asked for more, but we ain't got no more right now. The set list was exactly the same as the March 30, 2002 show, so I won't bother repeating it below.

Attaboy and Burke went on the perform their own version of white-rap geek-funk. Robot costumes, fog, record scratching and everything. The Lemon Limelights were in standard good form, and yet again with a vastly new lineup.

Saturday, May 25th, 2002
with Dropsy:
What a weird gig this was. Fun but weird. We played at a house party bbq at Gene and Sharon's place in Upper Lake, about three hours north from here. I never met Gene or Sharon before - Alex works with Gene down in Oakland on occasion, hence how we got this show. All I knew beforehand was we had to be there by noon to play at 1:00pm. I also had to drag along a bunch of my PA equipment.

Jenya came along and we made in up there sans traffic (a small miracle considering it was a Saturday morning going up 101). I met Gene immediately upon pulling into his driveway - he directly me to the level below nearer to the lake where Mat, who had already arrived, was setting up on the "stage." The "stage" was a couple pieces of bowed plywood. I unloaded and began unpacking and within 30 seconds realized I stepped in fresh dogshit and was smearing it all over the stage and it stunk bad. So after I scraped the offending material off my shoe Mat and I flipped the plywood over so I wouldn't have to deal with dogshit stains beneath me the entire time. There were a lot of dogs at this gathering.

Dave and Alex arrived late from the cabin they stayed in the previous evening. Gene was in no rush to get started. There was practically nobody there. Almost more dogs than people. Equipment was set up, but then we just wandered around the place, down by the lake, etc. Alex took me and Jenya out on a tiny vinyl boat.

At one point Sharon came flying around the party with a shovel. Turns out a rattlesnake was on the premises and she had run-ins with it before, so its time has come. We all ran behind her and watched her trap it under the shovel. Alex then beheaded it with a long metal rod. In triumph they discarded the head in the porta potty, and brought the long tail down to the grill. Its body writhed around for a good hour after being decapitated. Creepy. They then skinned it and prepped it for cooking. Its heart was still beating. Jesus.

Anywho, we did play our 40 minutes of music for the current crew of folks at the party. They were all up at the house while we performed our tunes down below in some shade near the lake. Shouts came from the patio up there from the few people listening in appreciation. I kept hitting wrong notes because the plywood kept bouncing beneath us causing the keyboard to sway as much as a third in either direction beneath my fingers.

The set list was close to what is becoming our standard set, except Garth couldn't make the gig, therefore making this a hornless show. I could approximate some sax parts on the keyboards but we still didn't bother trying "Altimeter." So instead we broke out our new tune, "Fundamental Hum." So it was here that this song got its big public debut.

Dave's malletkat flipped out towards the end so he just sang, and we got roped into a blues jam with one of the bbq attendees who played sax. Funk blues jam in E flat. We also did a cover of the song "King of the Road." How cheeeeeezy.

Afterward food was eaten and beer was drunk. The sun slowly set over the hills by the peaceful lake. And then more people arrived wondering when the music was going to start. What a trip.

Thursday, July 18th, 2002
with Dropsy:
Another show at the Plough. Painfully easy. I showed up at 8:00, and Mat was already there. No signs of any of the other acts, so we just set up on stage, being as how we'd be on first anyway. In fact, the rest of the band arrived, set up, and Alex returned home to get the bass he forgot, all before anybody else showed up. Garth and I got burgers and beer and ate and drank as everybody shared my fries.

There was a trio of old-school biker types. One guy, tall, skinny, leather vest and no shirt, handle-bar mustache, tapped me on the shoulder while I was eating and asked if I was having a good day. I said, "yes." That answer satisfied him.

During soundcheck, that same guy looked at me from offstage and yelled, "nice mustache." I said, "what?" and he repeated the same. I said I didn't have a mustache. He snapped, while raising his middle finger "hey! did you just flip me off?!" I snapped back, "I didn't flip you off." He was obviously way drunk, and he said the alcohol was making him see things. I offered that it might have been the stage lights reflecting off my glasses or something. Anyway, that was that. The bikers left once we started playing the soundcheck tune.

Since there was no rush, we waited until Jenya and Dren and Penny arrived, around 10:00 bar time, before starting. Everybody flooded in during the first couple of tunes.

Set list:
1. Alibis
2. King of the Universe
3. Halfway There
4. Shiny Scenery
5. Level Below
6. Fundamental Hum
7. Sign the Bill
8. Copyright
9. Throw Me
10. Redesign
11. Altimeter
12. Hole in the World
13. Fwd: Fwd: Re: Love

The set lasted a good 40 minutes, tops. Sounded and felt great on stage - a good omen for upcoming recording. The headlining rocker band, Cookie were there by now, but no sign of Moe!. Who cares? Our work here was finished. Went outside for air.

Eventually Moe came hurrying around the corner with armfuls of random percussion equipment. Just in the nick of time. Supposedly this was a CD release party for him, but he failed to organize it because he didn't have any CDs to sell (they were still being printed). So he just did a quick solo set.

A bunch of Brits sitting in the back were heckling under and over their breath the whole show. But Moe is such a live wire they couldn't help but start laughing at his antics. These antics included the beating of several interesting metal things as well as drums. Pot lids, baseball bats, and evenutally the large assortment of vibrators on cymbals. Whacking vinyl records with sticks and against his head, and eventually rolling around in a large heap of cassettes and cassette cases.

I didn't stick around for Cookie. Yeah, that's lame but I'm old now. It's a school night, after all.

Saturday, September 7th, 2002
Where: 21 Grand, Oakland
Other acts: Brian Kenney-Fresno, Mutually-Assured Gorilla Warfare
Lineup: Matt - Drums, keyboards, electric guitar, abuse guitar, voice

Set list:
1. Baltic Goes to War (JOB cover)
2. Pear Squisher (improvisation)
3. Depressing Liquor Store Run (improvisation)
4. Bus Wreck
5. Lifespan
6. Penis or Tree (improvisation)
7. Making Love to a Policeman
8. British Throat Singing (improvisation)
9. March of the Twisted Ankles

Unlike all previous shows, this one was more of a "spectacle," as I was frequently playing several instruments simultaneously (and without the use of loops). So it was less about the music, though I tried my hand at some close approximations of "full band arrangements" of previous composed songs. I felt what I did worked well with the other acts, but attendance was relatively poor. It's so hard to be inspired by twenty people in a big, big room. Still, I had fun preparing for it, and fun playing all this material. The hard part was lugging all the equipment and setting up/breaking down by myself.

Friday, September 13th, 2002
Omigod! What an amazing show. I had my doubts, but it ended up being an all-night fun-fest. Basically, this event was a "benefit" to help fund the first annual ICS compilation CD. From 5:00pm to 7:00pm Jenya and I arrived and helped set up the stage/PA at the Fishtank, but also had to go back to the house twice, to get missing drumsticks and to get some PA supplies for the second stage. We also enjoyed some delicious food prepared for all by Nat's brother Jake.

The entertainment portion of the evening began with big sets by the two newer Oakland lodges. People were actually arriving to see the show - I, the skeptic, thought nobody would pay to see this. Anywho, these two acts were phenomenal, and set up the evening brilliantly. Then the Origin Lodge members kicked in with all their individual sets and whatnot.

First were Val Esway and then Karry Walker, both wonderful. Due to schedule bungling and missing acts, Steve Lew went next, featuring a full band called Enac Enac, containing Casino Royale members playing his stuff (Steve - bass, Danny - vocals, Mark - keyboards, Scrote - guitar, Wes - drums). They looked and sounded like a real band - total spectacle.

That brought up the audience energy for my set. Just me and Jenya, me on Kurzweil and Jen on drums/vocals. Only one flaw - Jen got her foot stuck in the borrowed bass drum pedal two beats into the set. A good laugh, and then we played like champs (if I do say so myself).

Set list:
1. My Ass is Beautiful
2. The Big Show
3. Because I'm a Black Hole
4. Battery Acid
5. A Trip to Piedmont Cemetery

We wrapped up in less than 10 minutes. I kept the inane banter to a minimum and even danced on stage to the intro of "Ass." People seemed to be diggin' it.

John Queen did some spoken word, and then I got roped into sitting in on Darling Freakhead's set. In true ICS fashion, he made people go up there on stage and play songs taught to them right then and there. The first song was me on keyboards, Morgan on drum machine, Dave Gantz on bass, and Mike Pukish on guitar, and Freakhead on vocals. Funny shit. Then everyone switched instruments (except me) and we sightread a piece written by the audience (Freakhead polled people for random note suggestions earlier). It was easy to read, and ended up being quite Freakhead-sounding. At the end of every head there was a big rest during which Freakhead screamed, "You bleed like the rest of us, jazz bitches!!"

And it didn't end there. Nic did a solo karaoke set with a couple of his sing-songy songs. Good stuff. Morgan did a 15 minute rendition of the meditative "I Stopped Breathing." Sweet. Mellender and Dave did a joint set with the Japonize Elephants. Crazy. Schloss played a set of Schloss tunes, some based on ICS material. And wrapping up the evening was Dan Rathbun's 7-piece orchestra doing "Lambing Season." I played one of the guitars on that bit.

Wow. Six hours of total music celebrating the joy of composing. When does that ever happen, really, anymore?

Monday, September 30th, 2002
So Jenya and I finally got to play the world-famous jazz club Yoshi's right here in Oakland. Dan Plonsey gathered together all available musicians to perform almost three hours of music (across two sets). I'm too lazy to list the people who played, nor to list the tunes we played.

I approached this gig with a bit of trepidation, being the ensemble was underrehearsed and taking up a valuable night at some a high-prestige club. Was it going to be a complete mess? Will we be treated like stepchildren?

Well, Yoshi's fed our entire band, which was nothing to sneeze at - there was 20 of us! And everybody there was quite kind - I've played at other historic venues and got the shaft from their snooty staff members and drunk club owners. And the show was an adventure to say the least - making up parts on the spot, cues flying left and right and being missed. But that's part of Dan's vision - he likes the sound of junior high school ensembles, and tries to recapture that via putting performers on edge. So playing the parts "correctly" or "incorrectly" doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

All told, I got to say I played at yet other classy venue.

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