Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strangefolk & The Van of Destiny (3.19.10)

This past Friday night we were psyched to be invited back to play an opening set for Strangefolk during their annual Boston Throwdown Weekend at The Hard Rock in Boston. We took the stage early and played a relatively mellow set. A bunch of our old school UMass fans/friends made it out for the show. We all had a blast, and the mix was sweet. I did an audience recording of the show, and we listened to it as a band while we were working on the “Van of Destiny” up at Maxi’s dad’s workshop in Salem, MA this past Wednesday. We were happy we didn’t race through our set, which you can tend to do when you have limited time in an opening slot. It was high fives all around for the boys in the hi8us camp!

Speaking of the Van of Destiny, we are heading out on the road at the beginning of May, and we will be cruising the USA in our custom-built vehicle. Maxi hooked up this crazy cool vehicle, and has done some masterful construction on the inside to make it tour worthy. It has been fun pouring some sweat into getting this thing ready for highway miles. All the guys in the band have pitched in getting the van in shape. We have peeled old decals from the sides, cut and installed windows in the fiberglass walls of the cabin, even built bunks and a couch in the interior. The thing is truly amazing, and a wet dream come true for anyone who has ever played in a band and wanted to tour.

hi8us will start its spring tour down in New Orleans during the 2nd weekend of JazzFest. We are playing an awesome Crawfish Boil Party down there that we did back in 2005. It was one of the coolest things I have ever been to. After that we will check out a ton of music for the rest of the weekend, then we hit the road and head west for the next two weeks playing a ton of shows. Can’t wait! See you out there.


Friday, March 26, 2010

More Pieces!!!!! 3.12, 3.13.10 Berkshires and Vermont once again.

The March show schedule started out with a return to the Berkshires. Chin has moved shop from Lenox to Pittsfield with his excellent restaurant/bar, Flavours, and we have followed accordingly. We played his new room for the first time as “HIS” room a few Fridays ago, 3.12.10. We had actually played the venue a bunch in the past under old ownership. Chin has certainly made vast improvements! Our good buddy Jon Denmark played a solo opener set that everyone loved to start things off. A bunch of friends in the area came out for the show, and we all had supah fun. We crashed at Dan Double D’s place in town, and reconvened for breakfast the next morning before heading north to Middlebury, VT.

Traveling to VT, we were optimistic that this would be the time that we would break Two Brothers Tavern. The date was Saturday, 3.13.10. This venue is a low-lit basement lounge with brick walls, leather couches, even a black felt pool table… the perfect setting to get into it and put on a real cool bar rock show. The only problem is we have had has been pulling a good crowd on the nights we play there. No one in the back woods of Vermont knows who we are, so the room has been thin on occasion during past performances. Thankfully, this time was a charm, and as we finished up our first set, the basement started to fill up with a nice mob of heads. By the 2nd set, we had a full-on dance party happening. Our new batch of hi8us stickers were being displayed on the jean-butt pockets of some of our newly acquired fans, and the vibe in the room undoubtedly told us that we were at a point where we could do no wrong. We ended the night feeling like champs, and crashed at a motel in Rutland. With everyone feeling good, we had a little after-hours celebration which consisted of beers, thanks and Reese’s Pieces. Mike couldn’t get enough.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

hi8us in VT for Mardi Gras... ya hear me?!? (2.26 - 2.27.10)

This past weekend we played for the first time at The Farm up in Essex, MA on Friday 2.26.10. The staff at this bar/restaurant is super nice and very accommodating. The place is relatively new, and the dream of a few friends. The vibe at The Farm is great, and I felt like I really wanted to do my best so that I was contributing to making the place great on this particular night. We had a good crowd of friends and fans that made it out. It felt like a special sort of gig, and we got a chance to catch up with our buds Dan and Dan after the show, which was especially cool. I left feeling good and looking forward to shooting up to Burlington the next day.

Mike and I carpooled up I-89 the next day to VT. I have come realize that I enjoy long car rides. Between waking up and commuting to work, being at work, and then tending to daily duties, it can get tough to make time for random thinking. I find the hours of a long car ride to be an oasis for my thoughts… especially when Mike is at the wheel. ;) All you have to worry about is keeping the playlist flowing nicely and providing sufficient conversation to the driver (Mike) so that he stays mentally limber. Other than that, the ride is “found time” in your life. You are forced to sit with your thoughts and can work them out to a finer level of detail from where they were when you started the ride.

After all that thinking, we eventually arrived up in Burlington for a Mardi Gras gig at Red Square. We were playing earlier set times than usual for Red Square. Usually, our first set in this room is a little on the tame side. Folks are still showing up, and getting loose. This was not the case for Mardi Gras. We showed up to a club that was absolutely off the wall raging. People were packed into every corner, and thumping house music was driving the party. It was a bit of an intimidating situation for the band to set up, and be expected to take the baton and keep this party going. It was the performance equivalent of jumping onto a bucking bronco, and staying entirely in control of that wild steed without skipping a beat. We scrapped our normal approach to playing this room, started right in with our heavy-hitting rockers, and kept it up for most of the set. The night turned out to be a total success. We had tons of great feedback from the kids that were out that night, and left feeling the gig like The Band after their final performance at Winterland in '76.

On the way home after a fun weekend, I had more time to drive and think. I watched the beautiful Vermont countryside passing by as we whipped down the highway. I pondered many a thought during that ride home. Some thoughts I didn’t even expect to think, but I did!