Thursday, August 4, 2011

First Avenue Show with Ike: Recap

This was an electric, magical show that felt like everything was in it's place and proper time. I had seen that the Ike Reilly show was booked in the paper. I texted Ike about it and without hesitation he asked if Little Man was available. I'd make us available! (see previous blog post) Things didn't confirm for a few weeks though and I was stressed about our bass player Brian being out of town. He was going to be in NYC teching with the popular band Bush. Luckily he was able to arrange to fly in that day and depart the next morning - real rock & roll like. In the mean time drummer Sean and I rehearsed with a fill in and spread the word about the show.

There's alot of Ike Reilly fans who recognize me from guitar teching for the band in the past as well as making appearances on stage with them on a song or two when there in town and even filling in on guitar for a whole night once. "Why aren't you up there?!" they'd say and, "Are you playing tonight?" So when I got the opportunity to play with my band and reveal my own tunes to his fans, I get excited and very thankful.

The anticipation was killing me. Took the day off to rest as I'd been fighting a horrible soar throat for two days before. Thankfully the day of the show it disappeared but I could feel that singing full out would be difficult. Sound check was great. The First Avenue staff is just tops. "Welcome home" says Greg the moniter guy to me as we set up. Conrad the stage manager is always happy to see me. Lee was running the sound board and does a really great job.

After soundcheck I met up with Ike and the rest of his band at the fancy D'Amico down the street for dinner. Really cool to hang out out before the show and joke around a bit. Ike tossed a piece of food from about 9 feet across the table, in one shot, to birthday boy drummer, Dave's mouth. The table roared with the bullseye!

Fellow locals BNLX opened the evening with a massive fuzz guitar/light show attack. Real interesting stuff and Ed and Ashley Ackerson pulled it off with the greatest of ease. I've been wanting to play a show with them for months.

It's fun to play on the big stage at First Avenue. The place is a state landmark made famous by Prince's (Minnesota's other little man) Purple Rain movie. I've been fortunate enough to have been familiar with it over the years. My favorite thing is when the lights go down and the screen that's in front of the stage goes up. Sean started with the burly beats of Found Is A Passion and we were on our way. The band was all on the stage floor together instead of having our drums on the riser. It was great to be closer on the big stage. I enjoy feeling the bass and drums.

We played all of the new EP Orbital Amusement along with some songs from Soulful Automatic, Of Mind And Matter and even some newer ones. I had gotten a gong to be on stage right next to my amp.  Musk incense was burning with my Buddha statue. The lights shined down bright and we just kept on cranking the vibe up and up. We played really well together and I felt the huge crowd was turned on and engaged. This is exactly what zen is to me; being in the moment, performing, connecting, singing, guitaring, Chris-ing. Approaching the gong here and there and just having it there added to the anticipation. This show was just full on, giving it everything we had. Finally with a great thunderous ending to one of the last songs I grabbed the mallet, pointed it to the air, and then gave it a mighty swing. BWWAAAANGGG!! Then again and again! I was having such a blast. The crowd was roaring. Just an all around great energetic, happy feeling. A couple more fast paced songs and a final gong hit, then with a bow to the gong and too the audience we were off. Conrad gave me an approved big smile and a pat on the back on the way off. Whew!

Ike took the stage quickly there after. They played their entire Salesmen and Racist album with their original line up and then played a second set of newer tunes with the help of Ike's most recent members of the band. It's fun to watch these guys play. There was a good mix and match of everyone playing which I thought was really cool. Ike had me up to help on guitar and vocals for Put A Little Love In It which was super fun. Shared the mic with Ike and had a blast. They're an amazing rock and roll band. It shows that they have been together and working it for over 10 years. The loyal crowd was with them all the way and it was a joy to watch it all and be a part of such a monumental show.

I think I totally pushed my self to my physical limit though. Luckily I had a window of healthiness to do the show. The days following this my health plummeted with an upper respiratory infection. I often wonder if the stress and anticipation of the show had something to do with it. Possibly. Resting up for the next show!

Pics #1 and 3 by Shane Flannery.
Watch a full video of the song Orbital Amusement by Debbie Donovan HERE.