It’s definitely been a long, but productive summer for my band, Greenfoot. Since the beginning of June we have played 10 shows throughout Denver and the Front Range. We seemed to be playing 1 show at least every 10 days, with a few shows being only 2 days apart from each other. This tends to ware on a band where all members have day-jobs, families, business & family trips, and numerous other summer activities. We’ve seen a lot of success as a band this summer and have accomplished a lot. Nonetheless, this summer has definitely been a trying one in our struggle to balance our time.
Throughout the winter and spring our practices were loosely organized, but productive. We spent rehearsals balancing practicing established songs, writing new material and working on covers. When our aggressive summer schedule came about, our practices became very focused, centered around preparing for the next show. While these practices were productive, it was definitely a radical departure from our previous rehearsal format.
After a while, it’s easy for the shows to start blurring together. We had some pretty rocking gigs, but we also had shows where our sound just wasn’t there, or we struggled to get things together. In my 15 years of drumming I’ve performed countless times, but it still seems hard to shake off a tough show and not let if affect you. Due to my travels, I had a tough time logging practice on the drums or with the band and ended up knocking off rust while playing at shows.
As easy as it is to get disparaged by tough shows, having a good gig can be just as powerful – and that’s what happened last weekend.
A friend of the band asked us to provide music at their company picnic, and we graciously accepted. Original music artists don’t get too many opportunities with these kind of gigs, especially one that delivered a decent paycheck. As the show was approaching, I was beginning to experience doubt about how we’d be received. Would this group like our music, would they feel alienated about not hearing our songs before? Would we have enough material to last the picnic? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant and cautious about this show.
We arrived at Maple Park in Golden to a beautiful summer morning, and there was just an aura of relaxation that filled this place. We got in early enough to take our time setting up and making sure everything was just right sound-wise. This was a stark contrast to 2 nights before when we rushed on without even a sound check.
With our relaxed setup experience, we also took a relaxed approach to the show – almost a healthy form of apathy. We realized that people here don’t really know our music and don’t really have high expectations as compared to a night-club experience. When you’re playing a bar, you’re often the focus of the venue – many are critically judging you. However, here at the picnic, people were just looking for some good background music to help them have a good time. This freed our minds and our music, opening up an awesome musical experience. We jammed out, enjoying ourselves and having a good time. We conveyed our relaxed state of emotions through our instruments, and this resulted in the tightest show that we’ve ever played. We were on fire – everyone was locked in, our solos were pretty raw and you could hear the joy coming through our music. Incidentally, we got some of the best fan interaction from this show. People sought us out to get more info on us and get a CD, instead of us placing them on a table and hoping they get handed out. A lot of people asked about our next shows and said they look forward to hearing us again.
This may sound cheesy, but on Saturday in the park, under a gazebo – we fell in love with our music all over again. We also learned a lot about us as a band, and with this great show we were able to constructively apply the tough lessons we’ve learned with our bad shows.
Although we do have one more show left, I consider last Saturday a great way to wrap up our summer. We’re going to be taking some time off “in the basement” and regroup ourselves for the upcoming months, but now we’re fueled with energy to plot our next goals and develop a plan to attain them. This is why I love playing music.