Hey everybody! My Open Mic went awesome! There were, of course, nerve related screw ups – but overall it was a win. Shaun L. and I showed up around 7:30. We took a seat in the back and played Party Scrabble (more about that later) and let time pass as we waited for my turn at the mic. Unfortunately, the decision to arrive 30 minutes after the start of the event was dumb. I was the last on the list – and thus there was a long time to wait.
Before long we started chatting a bit with the neighboring table, including a friendly guitar repair guy. The host came over to our table around 8:15 and asked which one of us was Mike D.- apparently, the crowd at the Pine Loft is full of regulars and strangers like us stand out. In general, the guitarists playing were very seasoned guitar players who performed some strong originals and a wide variety of excellent covers. Most people seemed to perform in pairs or trios; solo artists were a little less common.
Come 9:15 or so, I took out my guitar to finger through some warm ups in hope that I would soon get a chance at the mic. My guitar quickly attracted a wealth of attention, and with it expectations of a good performance. I did what I could to undermine some of those expectations – still, the crowd purposefully stuck around just to watch the new guy with the flashy guitar play.
I finally got on stage around 10:30. I played my songs and, in general, they went well – I botched some lyrics as well as the first riff of the night, but felt comfortable by the third tune at which point I finally felt like I was playing freely. Shaun took some video and when I can eventually get around to doing some video editing, I might post some of the performance here on the site. The crowd seemed pretty responsive. Afterwards one guy offered me some free recording opportunities, and another recommended some other open mics that I should check out in CT. The best compliment came from a cool bassist guy whose first words to me post performance were: “expectations met.”
I’ll have to learn some more tunes, and perhaps start writing more of my own. I’m excited at such a positive first time experience! Hopefully I can use this as a springboard to meet some new musicians in Connecticut and improve my performing. And maybe Dave and I will even be able to find more players for our Karaoke band! The possibilities are endless!
Tonight I am planning on playing at the Berlin Pine Loft Open Mic! You should probably come. I think it runs between 7pm and 10pm – though, presuming I play, I’ll only be rocking two to three tunes for at most a 10 minute set.
By playing open mics in the next months I’m hoping that I will be able to boost my playing confidence. Nerves can do some funky things to muscle memory. And we’re not talkin’ Parliament style funky things. No, no. We’re talkin’ uncool funky things.
The playlist is most likely going to be: Citizen Cope, Gnarles Barkley, and perhaps some Jesse Dee.
I’m looking forward to it! Hopefully this will be the start of many more public playing opportunities.
I have purchased a new guitar. It is an archtop jazz guitar. She has been named Sophia.
This guitar was built by Carl Barney. Carl is a CT Luthier who is an extremely skilled instrument craftsman. He’s also a wood trader, which results in not only top notch handiwork, but also an impressive selection of wood used in the guitar. The face of the guitar is Maple, the back is beautiful Cocobolo.
Note the five strips of wood in the neck. The center wood is Cocobolo sandwiched between thin strips of ebony, then maple. The wood and direction of grain is chosen to increase the rigidity and prevent potential for neck warping.
Also, you’ll note the thin binding strip of wood that follows the outside profile of the guitar. That wood is bubinga. Cocobolo and bubinga are both very dense woods and considered a bonus in instruments.
The pick guard and neck are ebony. The pickup is a single humbucker. I don’t recall the exact materials used in the neck inlays, the white squares are mother of pearl but I don’t recall the material of the luminescent triangles within those squares.
I’m extremely excited about this purchase. I spent a long time talking to Tony Guitar about the pluses and minuses of this guitar, and together we could only really list positives. The guitar is very much a jazz guitar. It’s got an extremely clear tone and makes 13 chords sound like heaven. It has some volume when left unplugged, but is meant to be played through an amp as its pickup is mounted through the guitar face into a block of maple behind the face and its total width is thin.
The guitar itself is small. It has a 16 inch neck, but a very deep cutout to aid in the shredding of high notes. The guitar’s slight frame coupled with its inssaaaaane action, result in it playing very fast.
I think it’s time I record a few new selections for the music section of the website.
Also? I need to practice more.
It is with great glee, I announce the birth of Tom and Mykal’s son Corbin.
Congratulations Tom and Mykal!
March 9th 4:51pm, 9 lbs 1 oz, 21 inches long
Mykal reports that all is well outside of the extreme exhaustion. From what I hear, I’m not sure that last part will get much better for awhile, but we’re all really excited that things went so well. Best of luck Tom and Mykal!
Chicago Caitlin was kind enough to put up with me for much of my recent sprint through the midwest. In the down time between work events, Caitlin and I hit up some coffee shops and some eateries, but by far the most fun evening was Monday night’s dinner and open mic.
First, Caitlin and I got all dressed up and hit up Fogo de Chao (an exciting Brazilian steakhouse) for dinner. We had steaks aplenty and then concluded with coffee and their Signature Papaya Cream (daaaang! – delicious!)
Then, we returned to Caitlin’s apartment and walked down to Quenchers to participate in their Monday Night Open Mic.
First some background. I’m fairly sure that I was sick during this entire evening. Mid-dinner I felt a fiery fever begin to rage in my forehead, accompanied by mild dizziness. I swallowed some Tylenol post-dinner and trucked onward. Adding personal pressure to the night, Tuesday morning was going to be an early one. My coworker Brian and I had a meeting at 7:30, so I knew I’d have to arise around 6:15 to get in gear.
After dinner, as my temperature soared, I was fairly certain I wouldn’t make it through an open mic night. Especially since Caitlin usually stays until 2am and closes out the joint. So I figured we’d get in there, play our tunes, and then if I had to leave early… no worries.
Begin the hilarity.
Upon arrival at Quenchers, we put our names on the list. Caitlin was 13th on the list, I was 14th. This would put our play time somewhere between 1:45 and 2:00am. Any thoughts of early departure were quickly crushed. Thankfully, the Tylenol started working and the music was worth the fever. For us, the night started with a dude named Scottish playing an epic rendition of Soundgarden. His playing was extremely precise.
There were solo artists, bands, and both electric and acoustic sets. It was amazing!!
Slowly, as the night progressed, the thick crowd began to thin out. People were going home. By 1am, only those with upcoming time slots remained. Finally, it was Caitlin’s turn.
Caitlin played two tunes, one cover and one original. Her playing has progressed so much since when I first heard her play. She really aced her tunes!
She graciously played only two songs (most folks played three) to give me time to get up there and play two songs of my own.
It was 1:53am and outside of Cait and myself, there were only three others in the audience: Steve, a drummer. Nathan, a bassist. and Darren, the hilarious open mic host.
I started with a quick Jesse Dee tune to get warmed up, and then played my original Sancho Panza: a deep voiced Spanish tale of Don Quixote and loneliness.
Not two verses into the tune, Steve ran up on stage and started whipping out some beats on the kit. Then Darren grabbed his guitar and started firing off Spanish riffs during the chorus. It was hilarious beyond measure. The song ended in a masterful fury of fast picking!! We all cheered with elation!
I loved every minute of that open mic night. Special thanks to Caitlin for bringing me along. Next time I visit Chicago, another open mic is a must.
I finally fell asleep around 3am for a quick 3 hour nap before company meetings.
Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Longtime friend Nicole just recently completed the Warrior Dash – a 6 kilometer race through mud, fire, and misery.
Nicole described it as the hardest race she’s ever completed. I asked her what the hardest part was, she replied: ” the one and a half miles running directly up what I was told a double black diamond ski slope”
There’s a map and more pictures located here.
Congratulations Nicole! This looks amazing!
Hello good readers!
First off, I’m working on a few other posts – most notably, a Roller Derby recap from Saturday’s bout. So stay tuned for that.
Aside from the Derby which continues to exceed entertainment expectations, this weekend had some other thrills. I’m most excited about a potential long term project I’m starting with Dave. Dave and I have tried to form a band in the past, and have been
mostly entirely unsuccessful.
This time though, we have a specific goal: A live Karaoke band.
Alicia has spoken highly of one such band out in Oregon, and Dave and I want to repeat the experience here in Connecticut.
The challenge is twofold:
1. This shear volume of songs is frightening. We think just to start such an endeavor we’ll need flawless recall on 150 – 200 songs.
2. Most of those songs are horrible. – I assure you that there is little joy in learning Dancing Queen.
But the payback! The payback could be huge. Where but at Karaoke can you be guaranteed a great time? The crowd brings the party! Also, the pressure is not on the band but on the performance of the singer. At a Karaoke bar you can’t blame the DJ for poor song choices.
Right now we’re formulating a list of karaoke songs. We hope to learn two songs a week for the next year and a half. We started with some random top Karaoke songs list online, but we’ll need more suggestions. Please feel free to comment with suggestions if you are so inclined.
Hopefully we’ll be able to stick with this plan. Also, hopefully we’ll be able to find a bassist and a percussionist. Until that day of reckoning, we will continue to provide West Hartford’s Butterfly with our Karaoke patronage.
With great joy I am pleased to announce that Mykal and Tom are expecting a child!!
This is both exciting and really strange. I’ve known Tom and Mykal since freshmen year of WPI. We shared a wealth of meals and games during college and have kept in touch post-college. After… 9 years of dating? Is that right? Tom and Mykal got married, purchased a sweet house, and BAM. Now children are in the mix.
Major congratulations to Tom and Mykal. You two are in such a great spot right now. Awesome jobs, a house with an epic kitchen, a great relationship, and now a kid!