Friday, September 27, 2019

Sick is sick

SAD TO HEAR The Who had to cancel several dates and cut short a concert in Houston Wednesday. Seems Roger Daltrey has bronchitis. Pete Townshend took to social media to address the canceled shows here. There's also an excellent blow-by-blow account of what led up to The Who calling it quits in Houston here from Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog.

If I'm a Who fan in those cities, I'd be ticked off. There's a lot more than just going to the show - it's the enormous cost of tickets, getting to and from the venue, and even finding people to watch the kids as Townshend jokingly (not really) says. Then again, these are human beings and we fail to appreciate the grind of the road. And at least give The Who credit for coming right out and explaining the situation. There wasn't some vague press release or rumors flying around about somebody dying. At least that we know.

I don't play in a traveling and touring band. Yet being a Weekend Warrior can be challenging enough. I don't recall ever canceling a show because I was sick, but I remember losing my voice before a show in Keokuk about 10 years ago and croaking my way through it. "Nobody cared," Sheryl reminds me. She's right because it was all about the party, though we do want to sound good.

Last Friday after work I wanted to hole up and watch lousy college football after a long week in the store. Cori and I had a gig at Red Light and it turned out to be a great night with our friend Kyle Trudell. There was a small but enthusiastic crowd and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a great example of an audience pulling us through and making it fun.

The next night The Cheeseburgers were back at the South Side Boat Club in Keokuk. Now we love Keokuk and the SSBC, and we've always had good shows there, and Saturday night was no exception. But it was just one of those nights, for a lot of reasons. I felt like crap all day Saturday, mostly from being up too late the night before. It's not an excuse and I should have behaved myself a little better, so that's on me.

When we showed up, we couldn't set up because there was a massive steak dinner taking place. Do you think The Who ever has to wait until people are done eating? The SSBC folks wanted us to play outside, but it was muggy and buggy and there was still a threat of rain, and last time we were up there we got hit with a violent storm an hour into the gig and had to tear down and set back up inside.

This made some of us crabby. Then somebody (I won't mention his name but his initials are Rodney) plugged a cord into a monitor the wrong way. Then something else didn't work. Then we got rushed to start on time. Then the monitor mix was way too loud and was screaming back at Kirk Gribler, our drummer. I had to turn down my guitar amp and never did hear it the rest of the night. Our energy was low and I thought we struggled.

The crowd at SSBC thought otherwise. They danced the night away and repeatedly told us how much fun they were having. When we were done the bartender was very complimentary, as were several others. We had an off night but we still sounded good and we still put on a show, and that has to say something about us.

When you are hired to play, you are hired to work, and we take it seriously and bust our collective asses to be the best band or duo we can be, no matter how we feel or the circumstances.

Saturday night HartLyss is back at Bricks in Hannibal, one of our favorite places to play. A week from Saturday HartLyss plays in the afternoon at State Street Bar, and the Cheeseburgers have a huge show that night at Red Light, the one-year anniversary party.

I'll make sure I behave and make the shows the best they can be.

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