Gig Archives: 2002
(Disclaimer: this may be incomplete or inaccurate)
Sunday, February 3rd, 2002Once 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.
1. Tundra Story
3. The Campers
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.
1. Level Below
2. Throw me
3. King of the Universe (featuring Jan on guest vocals)
4. Halfway There
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, 2002This 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.
2. Ever After
3. Major Label Hate Mail
4. Less Actively
7. Handwritten Mail
10. Focal Point
11. Snow Tires
13. Rickety Ladder
Saturday, March 30th, 2002Here we go again with Dropsy performing
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.
1. Sign the Bill
2. King of the Universe
3. Shiny Scenery
5. Level Below
8. Throw Me
9. Halfway There
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, 2002This 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
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.
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, 2002Finally 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, 2002What 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, 2002Another 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.
2. King of the Universe
3. Halfway There
4. Shiny Scenery
5. Level Below
6. Fundamental Hum
7. Sign the Bill
9. Throw Me
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
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, 2002Where: 21 Grand, Oakland
Other acts: Brian Kenney-Fresno, Mutually-Assured Gorilla Warfare
Lineup: Matt - Drums, keyboards, electric guitar, abuse guitar, voice
1. Baltic Goes to War (JOB cover)
2. Pear Squisher (improvisation)
3. Depressing Liquor Store Run (improvisation)
4. Bus Wreck
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, 2002Omigod! 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
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, 2002So 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
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.