Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Flow Of A Show

Like Rob Gordon says in High Fidelity:  "The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules."

When you play for 3 hours, timing and sequencing are everything.  Acts like Bruce Springsteen, Phish and Pink Floyd are masters of their craft, the Flow.  Springsteen uses the spiritual power of rock 'n' roll, Phish uses the power of the unknown in a jam (read: drugs), and Pink Floyd tell stories, but it all comes down to a few things.

The live show is the same.  Pull them in, then keep them near climax until the finale.  Sounds like sex?  You're a perv.  Head out of the gutter, please.  Get them on your side, then toy with them.  Play two fast numbers, then when their eyes are open wide, hit the breaks.  Play something in 12/8 and get the asses on the dance floor.  Let the band vamp while the singer talks about how much he wants his baby back.  "Oh darling, you hurt me so bad.  I'm comin' to you, crawlin' on my knees, baby. All the men out there know what it's like, and all the women have heard it one hundred times..."

See when the audience is getting restless, hit them with something well known; "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" or "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?"  Something they can all sing and swing their beers to.

Also, know something from every genre.  If a drunk yells out, "Play something country!" and you can do it at the drop of a hat, you have won that drunk's favor and maybe even a few bucks from him.  Know at least one country tune, maybe "Stand By Your Man."  Know one blues tune, or at least something bluesy, like "Cocaine."

If you've got a good frontman, he'll work his ass off to sell the song, which always helps:

Next time: Rehearsal?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What Makes A Good Show?

902s CD Release show
When you are a gigging band, some things are laid out in front of us:

How long we will play, what we get paid, the typical audience.

Some things we just pick up on:

The audience that night, the stage, the scenery around us.

Its all subtle:

So we get in at a bar we've never played at before.  We  have an idea of the audience, we see old tin signs on the wall and a decent row of Harleys parked in the street.  Tonight we play loud.  We probably aren't being paid too much, but we can pass around the tip jar.  Some bar crowds can be very generous, others not so much.  Our job is to make them generous.  Gauge their reactions, go from there.  They liked our over of Dwight Yoakam?  We'd better play some Graham Parsons.  They liked our cover of Springsteen?  Better play some Mellencamp.  Your audience on that given night is more of an influence than anything else around you.  Always keep them in mind.

Next lesson:  The flow of the show.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One CD release down, one to go.

Saturday was our Louisville release show.  The fantastic Levee Bar and Grill was kind enough to host us once again for quite possibly our best show to date.  We fired up at 9.30, and didn't stop until damn near 11.  We stuck mostly to songs from our album, Cold Friday.  We threw in the covers we love playing, and the crowd was on our side the entire night.  We had so much fun we got back up and ripped through another hour of songs for the hell of it!

We can't thank our fans, friends, and family enough for supporting us the past 5 months as we have been putting this all together.

This Friday, Nov. 19th will be our Bloomington, IN CD release show at 902's.  We are very excited to bring our show to Bloomington with the full band, and 902's is the best venue we can think of to put that show on.  They have a great stage, lighting and sound setup, and it is an amazing venue for fans.  From the second floor balcony, feel free to stare down our low cut shirts, and from the main floor, feel free to stare up our short skirts.  The lovely and talented Kristy Brannon will be opening for us, so come and check out The Acquitted and Kristy Brannon for only $3.  For this show only, you can pick up Cold Friday for a cheap 7 bucks, so you'd be a fool not to buy three.

See you Friday night!

Monday, November 1, 2010

T-Minus Two weeks.

Nov. 13th. It can't come too soon. We have been working the much less fun side of the album now. Templates, files, typefaces, proofs. Thursday we shipped the album off to DiscMakers in New Jersey. We have approved the proofs, the images they send us verifying what we want. Now we wait...

We have it on good authority that we will have "Cold Friday" in our hands the 11th. Let's hope that is true.

The 13th is our release party in Jeffersonville, IN. The Levee will be hosting us, and we are grateful to them for all the help they have given us over the past year. We are very excited for everyone to hear what we've been working on for 3 months! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Cover Art!

Piggybacking off of the cover art post, we had a photo shoot on Thursday. Boy god, someone is going to see us on our album somewhere. Brian and I again worked with Eric G. Hanus, and we had a great time. We shot at three different locations; we shot with and without guitars; we got something that might just be worthy of the back cover of Cold Friday. We have something like 600 shots to look through. One day at a time, we get closer to a release...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Time To Decide The Cover Art

We are getting to the point where art is our concern.  We want an image that expresses the sound of our band, the sound of our record, and pulls emotion out of the listener before they even hit play.  If it looks nice, that is a plus.

Eric G. Hanus has been working tirelessly out in the fields of rural Indiana and at his computer getting our images together, and we can't thank him enough. Stay tuned, there will only be more from here...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Late Night At The Levee

Zero for two in terms of spelling, but what can you do?  We had a blast at the Levee this weekend.  We had a great crowd, and we rocked like the southbound trains that they are.  The band started at 11, later than usual, but totally worth it.  The crowd began to pile in just as the tubes were warm and we fired up with Riders.  Three sets of bar music, and they ate it up.  2 AM rolled around, and unfortunately we had to shut down.  We could have played until the sun came up, but the police would not be so thrilled.  Thank you Jeffersonville.  Next show: Sept. 23rd, Muddy Boots Cafe.

The real shame is I never got my fried Oreos.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Message From Brian Johnson

Paste Magazine suspended publication today.  For those of you who don't know, Paste was a fine publication.  It introduced me to a lot of great music and supported tons of artists that I love.  It wasn't sarcastic or mean, and sometimes it could be a little too flattering of musicians that were being showcased; but it was a publication that loved music and it always upheld the notion that all culture was to be celebrated. 

It has always been a secret goal of mine to be featured in Paste and I suppose I won't get that chance now.  I think the internet is a great tool, but often times it lacks the editorial control needed for proper journalism.  A weekly or monthly periodical is considered too slow in this day and age, but too often things are posted on the internet without thinking and quality investigation. 

As a society obsessed with pop culture we must keep in mind Facebook and Twitter are tools of promotion and self indulgence, not real insight.  We must strive to keep alive the methods used to bring us quality, thought provoking articles.  I for one will find another periodical in line with my own tastes, although I doubt I will enjoy it as much as Paste Magazine.

I find it horrifying I must post these thoughts on a separate blog because it is too long.  Too long for the internet, and too long for most people's attention spans.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One week to go.

Rehearsal, Dave's basement.  Amps are fired up, drum heads tuned, mic stands placed.  We discuss any minor business, record update: Mixing begins this week.  Ear plugs are in, and we are ready.  New covers are tried, old ones are finely tuned.  We figure out what works and what doesn't.  Heart of Gold is a great song, but it is still a tad loose.  Stray Cat Strut will give Brian a chance to take a break from the guitar, and me a chance to let a little rockabilly out!  Hey Jealousy will pull in those Gen Xers and Simple Man will get the bikers revved up!

We will see you at The Levee Saturday night!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two weeks before a gig: Countdown

The Levee is our homebase, so it would seem.  We play there about once a month, and we always have a great crowd.  The bar is perfect for live music, though we jam ourselves onto the stage with no room to spare, we do our damnedest to give every ounce of energy to the audience.

Two weeks before a show Brian and I are rehearsing new covers and playing new originals back and forth.  We decide what to try with the band, what needs tuning, and what works well side by side.  The setlist starts to come together, and we get an idea of the flow.

Next comes the band practice this weekend.  We will work out arrangements on covers, decide if they are ready or whether they stew for a few more rehearsals.  Tighten up problem spots from previous shows (I try to record all of our performances, for just this reason).

The camera will be with us while we rehearse, so stay tuned for some footage.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Band

Brian Johnson & The Acquitted
This is The Acquitted.  We rock.  That isn't all you need to know, but it is a good start.  Dave Allgeier is our drummer extraordinaire.  From the bowels of Louisville, he has played in many a band and sailed the seas playing on cruise ships.  His basement is one of our main rehearsal spaces, his kitchen one of our many drinking spaces.  Phil Regan rounds out the rhythm section.  Playing his customized Fender bass, he makes sure your chest rattles with the sound of The Acquitted.  His weakness is Bourbon, his love is cooking.

I don't like talking about myself.  I play guitar, keyboards and sing backup.  I kid myself I look real cool.

Brian Johnson, the man-glue that keeps the band stuck on the path of righteousness, is the lead singer, the lead songwriter, and the leader of this band of misfits.  His place is filled with album covers, pictures with the likes of Gary Louris and Kathleen Edwards.  CD's by Josh Ritter and The Wrens adorn his shelves.  This man knows his stuff.  Picks, lyrics, strings and mason jars litter his floor.

If you are fond of rocking, and aren't adverse to rolling, keep your eyes peeled, and your ears to the ground.  You'll hear us long before you see us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Beginning

We had a great time opening for Heart Of Gold last week.  They have a show in Indy tonight, as well as another Louisville gig on Friday, then they continue on to the East Coast.  Zanzabar had a great stage and a great sound system, as well as a collection of fantastic classic arcade games such as Donkey Kong and a Ted Nugent pinball machine.  The crowd was great to both bands, and we can't wait to play there again!
I personally enjoyed all three.