Gig Archives: 2009

(Disclaimer: this may be incomplete or inaccurate)

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
with the Moe!Kestra!:
On Inauguration Day I sat in on guitar with the usually very large and random Moe!Kestra! performing a piece Moe wrote in celebration of the event called "End of an Error." This took place at the Uptown in downtown Oakland. I say "guitar" but really it was a baritone guitar will all strings tuned to "D" - there were about a dozen guitarists all with similar note assignments, and a large percussion section, and a large string section. It was a fun piece to play, a very large and loud thing, peformed with verve as people were genuinely psyched given the major shift in American politics we've been waiting for far too long. Glad I brought earplugs.
Sunday, March 1st, 2009
with Dustystax and the Gold Star Band:
Old pal and musical cohort Chris Sipe is in this project that does occasional tribute shows, and had one coming up doing all Fleetwood Mac. Sadly, their keyboardist had a family emergency at the last minute, and Chris asked if I could leap in and help out. I had the weekend more or less at that point, so yeah! Me and another keyboardist, Rusty, crammed the 20+ songs which was actually kinda easy compared to other cramming I had to do in the past. The band was great, backing up a litany of singers who sang one or two songs apiece, spanning the wide variety of songs during the lengthy Fleetwood Mac lifetime. We performed three days after my first rehearsal with the group at the Make Out Room in SF. Despite being a rainy school night, the place was packed, and the crowd ate it up! It was a total blast, and I was totally psyched to meet and be able to help out this fine batch of talented folks.
Friday, March 20th, 2009
Well, kind of a spinoff of Casino Royale, really - just more spy-music oriented. Anywho, we played a corporate gig way down in Carmel. The Bay Area people (me, Jamison, House) shlepped down in Jamison's van. The out of towners (Scrote, Paul, and Kevin - who was subbing for Wes) were already there when we arrived, having flown into San Jose airport earlier that day. It was a fairly straightforward gig and we were treated well. We did a dinner set and a dancing set, during the latter we kicked out the jams for the people who were sticking around well into the evening. Managed to pack up and drive back to the Bay Area before it got ridiculously late. I even got back home before Jenya returned from her gig at Davies Symphony Hall (in SF).
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
with The Fuxedos:
Back at the Elbo Room in SF, playing an April Fool-sy type event on April Fool's Day (Wednesday, April 1st). Crazy show, lots of talkers, acts, and music. Attendance could have been better but a lot of shit was going on tonight all over the bay. Still Brian Kenney Fresno played a short and amazing set right before us. I was pleased to be able to borrow amps for my guitar/keys - made things a lot easier. We kicked ass, I think, and I supremely enjoyed Danny getting all agitated and aggro and anti, dressing down the Bay Area stoner alternative elite. "Yeah, your yuppies are so much better than ours." Things were running late so I didn't get off the stage until after midnight. There were hopes earlier of me sprinting over to Red Devil Lounge to see Jenya play with Long Thaw but it wasn't in the cards. Instead I packed up and snuck out right after playing. Got pulled over on the bay bridge under suspicion of drunk driving on the way home. I had nothing to drink - I was changing CDs and swerving erratically in the process. The cop was nice and realized quickly he was wasting his time and let me go.
Saturday, May 2nd, 2009
Played a school fundraising benefit at Bimbo's in SF on Saturday night. Not exactly sure what school district could afford/organize such an endeavor, so maybe I'm wrong about that, but this ended up being a great gig. We did have an early soundcheck and late downbeat, which meant we had 5 hours to kill in between. So a bunch of us went to go see that "Anvil" movie, which was incredible (and an odd thing to see before playing a gig). Even better was that Jenya was able to meet us at the theatre in SF and catch the flick with us. Then back to Bimbo's where we had a great 90 minute jam-packed set. Full house, full dance floor from beginning to end. That's always nice and inspiring.
Friday, May 15th, 2009
with The Fuxedos:
original announcement:
We're one of the acts at the "Hubba Hubba Review Show" taking place within the DNA Lounge in SF (11th Street in SOMA). This event apparently has a Creepshow/Texas Chainsaw Massacre/insane asylum feel to it. Rumor has it that we hit at 10:15pm. That's 10:15pm sharp!

It was really nice to play the DNA lounge for once in my life, especially as it's in danger of being shut down by annoying asshole neighbors. Wasn't really sure what to expect from this gig but the house was packed for us and they loved it. I mean they were actually screaming after the songs ended. Pretty rad. I guess when stripping is part of the evening's entertainment the audience is automatically juiced up.

Sunday, May 17th, 2009
with MoeTar:
original announcement:
A secret warm-up gig that's not so secret: We'll be playing one of the main stages as joggers are going by during the annual Bay to Breakers race in SF very early in the morning. In fact, this is one of the earliest gigs I ever played - I think downbeat is at 8am, and we'll be entertaining the passing runners for a couple hours.

Actually it wasn't a "stage" as much as an area off to the side in Golden Gate park where we could set up and entertain the masses as they passed. It was fun and we got to work out the kinks of our material as we went through the set three times over the course of a few hours (we got away with repeating songs as the runners weren't really staying very long as they scooted past us). We did get a lot of interested listeneres, though. One bummer: some older guy passed out from heat stroke right near us so we had to stop playing for 30 minutes waiting for an ambulance to carry him away, during which thousands of people were passing by not hearing us. Insane traffic throughout SF en route home, thanks to the countless B2B participants, a lot of whom were naked.

Saturday, May 30th, 2009
original announcement:
Save the date! On Saturday, May 30th, MoeTar will be making its official club debut on stage at the Starry Plough, playing more notes than you can possibly imagine. Then miRthkon hits the stage, celebrating their brand new CD (finally!) - and I may sit in with them for a tune or two. Closing the night is the bigness (10 pieces!) and funkiness of R&D! Come early early early as not to miss the majesty of MoeTar, then behold the greatness of miRthkon, then stay late and let R&D shake your booty in 21/8!

Man what a show! I did triple duty (or at least 2.4 duty) as I'm in MoeTar and R&D, but also sat in on keyboards for four miRthkon songs. It was great to finally have a formal debut of MoeTar and we kicked ass. Jon Arkin subbed on drums (Dave was at Yoshi's tonight) and he nailed it. miRthkon did a long set complete with interstitial video to celebrate their new CD (which also kicks ass). The R&D set was also fun, and ran quite late into the evening. We demonstrated reworked versions of "Okinawa Copious Curd" and "Crumbs" for the current 10-piece version of the band.

Friday, June 5th, 2009
with Treasure Mouth:
Like last winter John Shiurba led an ensemble improvising live Karaoke tunes, with lyrics scribbled on an overheard projector on the fly by Beth Lisick, and sung by Loretta Lynch. Fun stuff. This was part of the annual SperryFest event - a series of shows held in honor of the short life of Matthew Sperry, who came up with this form of live Karaoke in the first place. I also sat in on the OrcheSperry which was a full-fledged improv ensemble guided by Gino Robair. Much fun. Lots of Captain Beefheart moments.
Saturday, June 27th, 2009
original announcement:
Yes! Midline Errors squeezed onto this bill, and its about damn time we play another show! So don't goddamn miss it! Of course, I'll be also rockin' it with R&D who'll be headlining. Where? At 21 Grand.

We were a bit worried about this gig, what with a zillion other conflicting gigs/events going on this same evening elsewhere in the Bay Area, but it ended up being a pretty nice little crowd and everybody played great during both sets. This was sort of a farewell to Nat who is taking a break from music, at least for now. So we made sure to give him a good sendoff. The Midline Errors set was especially fun for me - nice to give those old songs another chance to be heard in a live setting, plus it was the grand debut of "Bumble Bat" live, as well as "The Gardener" which we also threw together at the last minute...

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
with Solid State:
We played a fun little late afternoon/early evening gig outside at the Towne Center in Alameda. An actual crowd gathered and sat and watched (and maybe danced) for the whole two sets, which was basically performed by me, Scrote, Jamison, Steffanos, Wes, and Tarik subbing on bass. We made Tarik take a bass solo on "Hard to Handle." Quick and easy and Jenya was there too hanging out the whole time, so it was like a date almost.
Monday, July 20th, 2009
with myself:
Every third Monday of the month Lucio puts together an improv hootenanny at the Ivy Room in Albany. I actually set myself up with a rare solo improv set, doing that drums/keys/guitar/voice simulateously bit which I haven't done in many ages. So that was cool, though I was exhausted from recently returning from a week in Portland, and then going to a weeklong conference in San Jose while my roof was getting redone. My mind wasn't entirely focused, to say the least, but maybe that helped. I opened the evening, merging into a larger more straight-ahead band of wonderful improv scene mainstays, then wrapping up with Salane & Friends. I had to sneak out early (how lame of me) as I had to get back to that conference in the morning.
Sunday, July 26th, 2009
with Interplay:
A regular wedding gig - but with a new-ish band arrangement thrown together just for this event. I'm not even sure that "Interplay" is a real band name. Maybe I'm just calling it that. Me on guitar/keyboards, Tarik on bass, Moorea on vocals, Hud on drums. Hud actually set this up and has worked with Moe and Tarik for years, so I basically was added on and learned a lot of their regular classic rock repetoire from the 60's/70's/80's as well as did a couple jazz standard sets which ended up being less nerve wracking than I thought it would be. More stressful was that my van completely overheated on the bay bridge en route to the gig. Stupid coolant leak. I barely made it to the venue, but added some fluids after the gig and I was fine for the ride home.
Thursday, August 6th, 2009
with Herb:
Once again a bunch of us Casino Royale types reformed as Herb for this rare public show. And just like the recent Solid State show this other lovely tribute band performed at the Towne Center in Alameda for the late afternoon crowd. One woman arrived wondering where Mr. Alpert was himself and left disappointed. That happens a lot. Scrote actually wasn't there, but Jamison rocked it as the front man/band leader. The regulars were me, Wes, Jamison, and John E., with Steve, Tarik and Doug filling out the rest of the band with heroic skill. We did "Spanish Grease" for 12 minutes. I could do that song all day.
Saturday, August 15th, 2009
Last minute sub gig - Two days out Charlie asked me to sit in on keyboards for this awesome pocket funk/New Orleans groove band down at Beckett's in Berkeley. It was a tight band and felt great especially since I hadn't even met the drummer, bassist, or saxist (Austin, Goopy, and Andrew) until the rehearsal the night before the gig. MoeTar Matt on the guitar and Charlie on the trombone (of course) rounded out the band. Lots of solos and stretching out various heads and changes. All kinds of people dancing all the way until last call. It was a party. Fun.
Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
with miRthkon + Orchestra:
Composer Richard Warp composed a piece for us and chamber orchestra which was performed along with other similarly interesting new music pieces by other ensembles at the Dance Mission in SF. We also got to do a proper miRthkon tune ("Automaton"), and all partook in a chaotic group improv piece at the end. Everybody was dressed up in "new music black."
Saturday, September 12th, 2009
with MoeTar:
For the third year in a row I played at the Webster Street Jam in Alameda, right there on the street (well actually on a temporary stage on the street). This time with MoeTar, though at the last minute Moorea came down with a bad case of laryngitis and had to bail on the gig. So we did it as an instrumental set, which wasn't optimal, but ended up being pretty cool/fun. It was kind of a curse show I guess - outside of Moorea not being there, there was a freak thunderstorm the night before and spitting rain all day. Not great for an outdoor street fair, but people were still in attendance, and diggin' what we had to offer. Oh yeah and Tarik also broke a string during our public debut of "From These Small Seeds" which is an impossible song to play to begin with, much less when a string suddenly disappears.
Sunday, September 27th, 2009
with MoeTar:
Played at the Hotel Utah in SF. Matt couldn't make the gig, so Wally subbed on guitar - a heroic effort learning all those tunes just a couple weeks out! Opening the evening was Four-Eyed Whale, and they were a pleasant surprise. I'm such a jaded old fuck that I expect bands I don't know to suck, so when they don't suck I'm extra pleased. We then played a quick, tight set and debuted "Infinitesimal Sky" such as the current arrangement is. Really good crowd as all acts brought some folks down on a Sunday night. The last band was Shake Well featuring local hypertalents Eric McFadden and Robin Coomer playing some seriously fun rock (all Pat MacDonald covers, interestingly enough) with an equally awesome rest of the band. Couldn't have asked for more - well, I guess it would have been nice for me to hear myself in the monitors. Gotta work harder on demanding that...
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
It was more or less another convention gig for Casino Royale, this time with John (i.e. Johnny Vegas) and Karina as main vocalists, and the current usual rhythm section (me, Jamison, House, Wes, Scrote). The client was some association of Canadian mechanics. Nice people, and they seemed to have a good time with it. Unfortunately we were given the wrong address, so Jamison and I started unloading at the wrong Marriott. Then we drove to the right Marriott, which was the scene of the crime of another Casino Royale gig years ago where it took us almost two hours to figure out how to unload all our gear from the maze of convention halls two stories below the ground under downtown San Francisco. This is because they shut off random loading docks after certain hours. Luckily I brought my cart, so I just said fuck it, got the car, parked it by the main Marriott entrance, and hauled my gear on the cart from the stage to the car - the equavalent of two city blocks. Meh.
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
Another day, another gig where I play in all three bands. The night started with a rather fun and enjoyable Midline Errors set. Good crowd, good sound. It's really nice when you can hear yourself in the monitors, which makes for a happier performer, and in turn a happier audience. Then I put away the guitar and keyboard and sat in on electronic drums for Darling Freakhead. He gave me the music (no lyrics/no song titles) on CD earlier in the week to learn and I scored it out best I could to read along as I played. Little did I know this material was the basis for a manifesto regarding crack addiction and addiction to pornography. Long story short, it was an unexpected spectacle. And then the evening wrapped up with the awesome Ziggy Love, and I sat in on tenor sax for a couple tunes. That was my first gig playing sax, and I was horrified leading up to the event, to tell you the truth, but I managed well enough, I think The band sounded awesome, and did the whole Stardust album beginning to end What a trip.
Sunday, October 11th, 2009
with MoeTar:
After a long morning rehearsing in Marin, drove through foggy traffic (thanks to Blue Devils) over the GG bridge and crossed SF on surface streets while low flying planes zoomed around overhead. Weird. Anyway, parked five blocks away from the Burning Man Compression 2009 event and carted all my gear to the event. I did this sam gig with The Fuxedos a couple years ago, and on the very same stage, and with a very similar response: like we were an annoying distraction and the crowd politely waited until we were off the stage so they could dance to deafening techno beatz again. This was sad as we probably played our best ever, and the first time all five "regular members" were actually all present at a gig since Bay to Breakers. Meh. A few people did really dig it, actually, but it's official: Burning Man is not really my scene.
Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Once again I played bass in the "house band" for this annual benefit event put together by Casino Royale cohort Susan Z. This year it took place at many venues at once all around Fairfax - I was at 19 Broadway. Last time I played there was in 1994 with Stevie Blacke. As always, there was lots of all star talent in the band, and incredible singers up front. I was a bit stressed out before the gig - a tight stage, I bashed my head on the low-hanging PA speaker brilliantly placed right above the stairs leading down off the stage, and my bass was being noisy and temperamental. Nevertheless it all held together, and we played even some impromptu jams/songs at the end as people were still dancing/hanging out when we were through. On the way home got pulled over by two separate police cars, both of which witnessed me run a stop sign that I didn't even see (whoops). But they let me go with just a warning. Phew!
Friday, October 30th, 2009
with MoeTar and miRthkon:
Another double whammy gig for me, and another prog rock blowout at the Starry Plough. MoeTar went on first and we killed it pretty good. Did "Small Seeds" without any train wrecks! Actually pretty much did our entire catalog so far. Following us was an improv trio containing local friends/heroes Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi, and visiting vocalist Saadt Turqusz. Then miRthkon went on - my first real gig as full-time member of the band. We debuted "Cascades" which went over nicely, and did the Barber cover. We actually did that first - I had a few flubs, and one of the saxes was accidentally muted for half the song. So we did it again at the end of the set, which made us all feel a lot better. All told it was many notes assembled in a meaningful and well-rehearsed order, and I think it may very well have been my 75th (!) gig at the Plough. Jeez.
Friday, December 25th, 2009
with The Fuxedos:
Another Xmas, it's another Satanic Xmas Party at the Elbo Room in SF, thrown together by none other than Karla LaVey, and featuring The Fuxedos. Jamison couldn't make the gig, but Joe Cohen did an awesome job filling in - especially given all the new epic prog tunes we SF regulars didn't even know yet ourselves. Other bands included some other Satanic staples, including Los Murderachis (with Willy and Marco - they even had an old Flywheel tune in their set I haven't heard since I last played it in... 2006?!). Things were running late, we had to cut a song. Meh.
Thursday, December 31st, 2009
The same exact gig as last year - same place, same band, more or less the same songs, and I did the solo piano entrance music thing. It was a public party at the Napa Valley Wine Train station. Susan was actually on the gig, but got super sick at the last minute - luckily Karla was coming up with Jamison anyway, so she heroically took over the lead parts last minute. Awesome!

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