AndyO Blog

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chris Mess at the Blue Moon - 9/16

Saturday, Sept. 16 @ The Blue Moon:

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The Blue Moon interiorThe first thing I did when I entered The Blue Moon was step on a dog.

It happened as I carried my drum cases inside the Moon, trying to navigate through the crowd between the bar and the tables. The dog was black, lying on the floor, so I couldn't see him. I apologized immediately, but the owner just glared at me. The dog did, too.

The Blue Moon always brings in an interesting crowd--like what you might see at a Grateful Dead concert. On any given night you can find wifi hunters, hipsters, hippies, bikers, UW students, and drunks in the midst of passing out (or already passed out). 

My band was playing first--so after I loaded the drums in and moved my car, I started setting up my drums. Soon I was joined onstage by Chris and Steve, who also began setting up their equipment. It was only after I finished with my setup that I realized they had blocked me in (once again). I managed to find a way out of center stage to go out into the bar and talk to people.

As usual, my brother had brought an army of friends, including Ginger, Scott, Jess, and others whose names I didn't catch (sorry!). I also had one of my work friends, Charlie, show up. After greeting everyone, I went off  to warm up. I've had a tendency to skip my warm-up, which hasn't helped my tendonitus and other wrist problems of late, so for this show I wanted to make sure I was ready.

I had also warmed up earlier in the day. First, I went to my drum lesson at The Seattle Drum School, where my teacher and I discussed (you guessed it) warming up. Then, after dinner around 7:00, I went down and played my practice kit in the basement for about 30 minutes. Now, it was time to play on the practice pad in The Blue Moon.

As I started playing, Steve sat down next to me. We both checked our watches -- 30 minutes until show time. But then I said to Steve, "Last time, Jason (the booking and sound person for The Blue Moon) asked us to go on 15 minutes early."

Almost on cue, Jason walked over and said, "Hey, get ready to go on in about 15 minutes."

Steve looked at me and smiled. The problem was, Chris had left to do his own warm up activities and wasn't aware of any early performance schedule. By the time he got back, we were running "late."

The set felt really good for some reason. As any musician knows, while you may play a good show most of the time, it's rare that you play a great show. It seemed like everyone in Chris Mess was playing a great show on this night, so I was pleased.

Also on this night, NizTV was shooting a video, which was really cool. You can watch the video here.(Just click the Chris Mess Seattle Live link.)

We introduced two new songs in this set, including "The New Song" (yes, it still has no name) and "Chinese Rocks," the latter being the classic punk song by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers

After our set, I moved my drums out of the way and then watched Matt's band "Supernaughty," a Black Sabbath tribute band with a female singer. They really rocked the house and, as usual, it was great to watch Matt play.

The last band to go on was "A Gun That Shoots Knives." They came out in hilarious costumes (the bass player waring the rocket pack on his back was my favorite), and they were a lot of fun. Their final song of the evening, "Soap," was an ode to the many different forms of soap that you can use (liquid, bar, laundry, etc.)--and was actually quite catchy.

We loaded out after 1:30 a.m., and Chris, Matt, and I went to The Hurricane to have breakfast. While we were there, Chris introduced us to Wiffitti--a communal text-messaging board displayed on a flat-screen TV. People fire their messages to this board with their cell phones. This new technology is being tested in only a few restaurants across the U.S. It's surprisingly fun.

Here's what it looks like: 

This is the last Chris Mess gig for a little while, as we're going to do some recording and take a break. Thanks to all who came out to see us!

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posted by AndyO @ 11:40 PM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 11, 2006

Model Rockets

On Friday I told my son, Cameron, about model rockets that I used to fly in my youth, and he immediately asked if we could get one. For some reason I said, "Sure, we'll go buy one."

After his soccer game, we went to an amazing hobby store in Lake City called American Eagles. Not only did we buy an Estes starter kit, which contained two rockets and everything you need to launch your rocket, but we bought a model of an X-Wing Fighter (not a rocket).

Cameron and I worked on the easier-to-build Astron Outlaw rocket in the afternoon, and he had absolutely no patience for letting glue dry. He wanted to carry around the rocket like a toy. When we weren't working on it, he asked me "Can we work on the rocket?" so many times, I thought my head was going to explode.

When I woke up on Sunday, Cameron came in the bedroom and said, "Can we go work on the rocket?" His mother said, "Cameron, I thought you said you weren't going to bug your dad today?"

I realized that if I was going to get any peace I needed to launch the rocket. So I called up some friends in Carnation, who live by a river and have a farm, and we drove out there.

Our friends have three kids who were just as excited as Cameron to see a rocket take off  in their backyard. After many failed attempts to get it off the ground, I did a cursory "3... 2... 1" countdown and the rocket streaked off into the bright blue sky. I was astounded at how high it went -- almost as if I had expected it only to go up 50 feet like some cheap toy.

But somewhere above 600 feet, the parachute came out and the rocket drifted in the opposite direction than what I had predicted and was heading toward the river. By the time it came down, it had drifted onto the other side of the river and into a bunch of trees and brush.

The oldest of the kids, Alexis, volunteered to go across the river and look for the rocket. But she couldn't find it. Then a teenager, Scott, who was there on the farm with his dad, volunteered to wade up to his chest in the icy warter and help Alexis. It took them 15 minutes to find the rocket, and Alexis had to climb a tree to get it. I owe those kids.

I realized we wouldn't be having any more countdowns on this day -- the wind was too strong and too unpredictable, and the rocket needed more room than I thought.

But for a moment, the kids and I realized how cool it could be to shoot a rocket into the sky.

posted by AndyO @ 12:21 AM   1 comments links to this post