Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our One Night Stand with Bela...

This particular gig proved to be an interesting one. We were originally supposed to play back to back with Johnny Alegre of Affinity. We were really excited about that until Jopet, the band organizer for Bela Bar, texted me saying Mr. Alegre cancelled on the gig. We got initially disappointed because Affinity is such a kick ass band. And to be paired with them was a compliment on its own.

Jopet then asked us if we can play for the night. Of course, a gig is a gig, and we were fortunate enough for Jopet to hook us up with a gig in the first place. So we agreed to play two sets for that night. It's one of the last gigs with Balot, our drummer. So we'll take any gig we can get before Balot leaves for Australia by May.

Balot came over my place, and we waited for Charles to come pick us up. To our surprise, Vinnie was with Charles when Balot and I went downstairs with my gear. Vinnie is definitely one tough cookie since she's pregnant and her eternal morning sickness hasn't waned down since the last time I saw her.

On the way to Bela Bar, Miguel the owner of the place was already sending me "pressure texts" by asking where we were. Technically, bands are supposed to be at the gig venue one hour prior to the time they are scheduled to play. It was way past 9:00PM already that's why. And we were scheduled to play at 10:00PM.

When we got to Bela Bar, Briggs was already there waiting for us outside. Islaw was the only one left that was still on his way. He couldn't really text us back because his line apparently got cut. But, apparently, he could still receive our messages.

So we started setting up while waiting for Islaw. Although the drum set looked and sounded like it was going to fall apart, the amps were really nice. The place was sporting a Beringer, Peavy, and Harte amp, which looked relatively brand new. The was a riser for a stage which was great. And the place had a second floor.

The Peavy amp conked out all of a sudden while we were setting up. Miguel, the owner of the place, came over trying to fix the amp. However, no matter what he tried, the damn thing just wouldn't turn on.

So we had to improvise. Thanks to Briggs' Pod and Islaws pre-amp for his bass guitar, we were able to plug Briggs' Hofner to the house speakers and still have effects and distortion. It didn't sound all that good, but it was better than having one less guitarist playing.

When we got everything in order, we began our set. There was one table of old-timers that seemed to know their way around music. They could tell that the sound check song we played was in A minor, among other things that they noticed.

Our only regret, is that we couldn't really play any of the songs they requested. We knew the bands from the 60s that they spoke of. But we never really played those songs before. Hope they weren't disappointed too much. We don't really do requests. We're not that kind of band really. Either that or we're just snotty that way. LOL!

After a few songs, the place was practically empty. This kind of reminded us of our gigs in Millenia years ago. We played ever Monday in Millenia to a practically empty bar. We generally don't mind just playing without anybody watching. We enjoy playing together as a band that's why. So crowd or not, we were still having fun.

I asked the owner if we can just keep playing until we got tired, instead of playing a second set. Miguel agreed. And as we were playing the alcohol kept flowing. Apparently, Miguel makes it a point to get the bands that play at his place drunk. And that night was no exception.

We finished our set with our version of Sade's song titled "Smooth Operator". The Santana-esque jam we had at the end of that song was awesome as always. Of course, I love that song because I get to solo at the end.

We stuck around for a while, talking to Miguel. He asked us for some feedback on how better to improve the sound set-up of the place. We genuinely felt that the place only really required some tweaking, and some heavy marketing. Then Bela Bar would definitely be a destination for good live music.

Briggs and I quickly grabbed a bite at Jay-Jay's on our way home. The sisig rice was amazing. Definitely a good idea for some frying pan home cooking at my place. As always, I managed to lug all my gear back up to my appartment in my drunken stupor.

I slept soundly, knowing that I had fun once again with my band. Yet, I was saddened at the same time because that was my last gig with Balot. I have to fly to St. Louis next week, and I'm going to end up missing our gig at Liquid Jane's album launch.

Take care Balot. I will surely miss your drumming expertise in SunDownMuse.


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