302 West, Audio Kickstand, Bear Bonz BBQ, Black Mountain Arts and Foliage Festival, Bretton Woods, Carl Iacozili, Heather Pierson, HEPINATO, Maine, Mount Washington Hotel, music, Nate Towne, New Hampshire, Norway Open Mic Night, Red Parka Pub
It’s a gray, rainy Monday morning and I have every intention of spending as much time burrowed underneath blankets as I can today. Not only am I having a hard time staying awake at the moment listening to the drizzly tire treads going by the house, but having this cold completely sucks.
Even with a cold, though, I still had a great weekend. Thursday night at Bear Bonz was pretty fun. Not too many players, but Krister showed up with his little Ashbory bass and wow did that thing look and sound cool! Steve of course was there too, with his homemade Blu Mojo cigar box guitar played through a Pignose. I really hope more players start showing up on Thursdays. It’s a fun little venue to play, and the manager, Bob, is a laugh riot.
Friday night was Norway Open Mic Night and a lot of the usual folks were there. Claire sang a beautiful song that she wrote about fall, and there was a great jam at the end with Nate, Al and Big Bob. Nate did a version of California Dreamin’ that was the best I think I’ve ever heard. Fantastic!
And that fantasticness was just a prelude to Saturday night at the 302. After being at the Black Mountain Foliage Arts and Music Festival all day (which was great fun, by the way – thanks for a kick ass day, Shawn!!) I showed up feeling a bit tired and sniffly and, truthfully, not really in a mood to play. Nate showed up feeling similarly – after a long studio session on Wednesday (which also was great fun and very productive – I haven’t gotten his new tune “The Visitors” out of my head since then!) and then playing both Thursday and Friday nights, he showed up feeling, in his words, a little “crispy”. But, the show must go on, eh? We set up and soundchecked, took a little break to get our minds focused on the gig, during which time I spoke to Shawn and found out that Audio Kickstand had a fantastic set at the Festival and had fans cheering for more more more even as the headliners, Rustic Overtones, began their set! 8:30 came and Nate and I took the stage: “Hey everyone, we are HEPINATO!” and went right into a rockin’ version of Deep Elem Blues, and from that moment, the crowd was hooked. There wasn’t an empty chair or bar stool to be found, and they all stayed and screamed and cheered after every song. During each song, you could hear a pin drop. They were pickin’ up what we were puttin’ down. Bob even moved some furniture out onto the deck to make room for folks wanting to dance, something I’ve never seen happen in all the times I’ve played at the 302. We played a 90 minute first set and then took a break for 20 and then played straight through til 11:30. In short, it was one of the most satisfying gigs I’ve played in a very long time – folks really listening, really digging it, Nate and I played really well off of each other and my voice held out beautifully. Not the night either of us was expecting to have! Just proof positive that rock ‘n’ roll will never die. Not when the stars are aligned such as they were Saturday night!
Sunday was a long day. Church gig in the morning, and then a fun trio gig up at Bretton Woods last night. The foliage up there was amazing! When I came out at the top of Crawford Notch, I was stunned at the display of color they have up there right now. Brian said it literally happened overnight. I played pretty well, and we did really cool versions of Norwegian Wood and Little Wing, among others. We even got to leave at 9:00 after the dining room cleared out. The way I was feeling, though, I was glad to be going home early and curling up warm and snug for the night.
Tonight I’ll be pitch hitting for regular host Carl Iacozili at the Red Parka as he prepares to leave tomorrow for a vacation to the Rockies. Time to get some more shut-eye so I can make it through tonight without sniffling too much. I’ll be in the studio tomorrow morning recording some more instrumentals and I’ll be hitting Hoot Night tomorrow night with JD and Al, and Bruce is going to play sax with us. Making music and a living at the same time – how did I get so lucky?