this was one of those “blindside” gigs.
by that, i mean that i heard about it literally days before it was to take place…not that i’m complaining, mind you – save for the fact that i had to bump another gig in order to make it happen. i’m not an advocate of doing that, by the way…but the situation being what it was (considering that i was going on the road with this band for an extended period in the very near future, and i could use every opportunity to play with them that i could scrounge), i had to make a call as to whether or not to do the gig, and i made the best decision that i could, considering…
it was the inaugural weekend at this particular venue – the historic blairstown theater….the prior night, they’d had a screening of friday the 13th, and tonight was boris garcia with buzz universe opening.
if you’ve never been to blairstown, it’s a really cute little town nestled out in the middle of nearly-nowhere…small in a good way, for sure. the people we met while we were loading in and getting ready for soundcheck were wonderful, and the volunteers took care of all the heavy lifting, even…i didn’t have to carry any of my gear into the theater (which was a good thing, actually…the stairs are a killer).
the theater itself has a quasi-sellersville vibe, in that there’s an area directly in front of the stage with no seating, that could be used either for cafe-style seating, or for dancing under the right circumstances. i didn’t do a seat count, but i don’t think there were more than 200 seats in the room – which puts it in a sweet spot that might be beneficial to them. i’ve often lamented the lack of rooms that size in the area. there’s an abundance of tin angel/steel city style rooms that have a capacity of around a hundred, but from there it goes straight to the 300-plus rooms, where you’re typically booking bands that have a much higher price tag – and, as such, can often put you at a financial risk if the show isn’t successful. at 200 seats or so, you can book acts that have outgrown the coffeehouse circuit, but aren’t typically so costly that you’re endangering your bottom line by booking them.
it’s a good number, 200. 🙂
we found out, during load in, that they also have a full complement of backline available, as well…good stuff, too. the sound system is brand new (which can be scary, but they had the house rung out and ready to go in plenty of time…the opening band might disagree, but it’s a new installation, after all)…and the guys running the sound had a pretty good bead on the room…a lot of times, things will get washy in the monitors as the night goes on, but everything was really consistent all night long with the monitor mix – i could hear the vocals really well all night long, and that’s not always the case.
playing with this band has been a revelation, for me…it’s like discovering a love for cuisine that i never thought i’d have a taste for, but finding that i really enjoy it after giving it a shot. i wasn’t sure that this was going to fit when i initially agreed to take on some of the dates, but as it turns out, my inner improvisational child is flourishing with these guys. it’s definitely going to force me to elevate my chops, and that’s a kick in the ass that i could really use right now. i’m enjoying the extra stage volume, the give and take…it’s been really interesting. it’s not something i would’ve seen myself doing even a couple of years ago, but once i’ve gotten to the point where i don’t have to constantly peruse my mental checklist while playing the songs, it could get really good. 🙂