3.21.2016

Weekend in Review: Bos Show, Songwriting, and "Real" Tofu

This past weekend kicked off with a rocking, albeit modestly attended, GUPPY EFFECT show at the Bos Meadery* on Friday evening, right after work (actually, I had to leave work a little early to get there and set up). I realized too late that I had poorly promoted the show to friends and fans. Nonetheless, a fair number of people had resourcefully gleaned the info elsewhere and it ended up being a fairly full room for most of our 90 minute set of original tunes (we threw in a couple choice covers to fill some time). Everyone had tables and chairs from whence to view the band and imbibe Bos' priciple beverage option, mead (you can also order PBR tallboys there, which seems oddly contradictory to me, for some reason).

I live streamed the show using the "drummer cam" format, whereby the HD camera is placed next to the drummer so that viewers can have the quasi virtual experience of drumming for one of Madison's most rocking original bands. The microphone was of course strategically placed for optimal sound capture, near the sound board. The down side of "drummer cam" format is that the viewer only sees the backs of the musicians in front of the drummer (and only the occasional peripheral shot of the drummer). However, those that would prefer "audience cam" format, viewing the band from the front, can always simply transport themselves to the venue and watch in person, is how I see it. Basic operant conditioning. It was a free show after all.



The "drummer cam" format was mainly intended for GUPPY EFFECT fans who have small children at home, and thus can't easily get out to see live music, even at a "child friendly" hour. They can instead put the kid(s) on a well formed stool in front of the TV or computer screen and mesmerize them into a trance-like state by letting them sense what it is like to be an amateur rock drummer. While the children are enthralled, the parents can go about doing things around the house while listening to the good music in the background. As an added bonus, if the kids are bored by the vicarious sensation of being a rock-n-roll drummer, then the parents can breathe a sigh of relief that their child won't someday ask for a drum kit and pound out cacophanous noises that annoy the neighbors. It's win-win.

The early evening "happy hour" time frame of the show was conducive to the band grabbing a bite to eat at the Julep, right next door to Bos, post show. Whilst there, the bartender, who recognized me as a former member of the PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND, told us that the whole area around Bos would be developing and gentrifying in the next couple of years. The charlatanic Frank Productions, a large monopolistic Wisconsin entertainment group, have bought up a bunch of real estate for music venues in that area that will probably suck live music business from the smaller mom-n-pop venues like High Noon Saloon and the Brink Lounge, as well as Bos. Conversely, a new brewery is going into the same building that houses Bos, so on the bright side there may be more accidental foot traffic encountering local live music at Bos. I want the Bos to succeed as an alternative live music venue, with it's good acoustics and classy decor, as well as the earlier show times and unlimited supply of mead.

On Saturday morning, Stefan and I attended a songwriting workshop in McFarland, hosted by the Madison chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, a group I used to belong to, but found the dues to high for the return on investment I got out of it. Notwithstanding, we had our song "Roundhouse" reviewed by the group and a pro songwriter who had Skyped in. We got some good feedback. Later in the day, I went to my Rock Workshop class at the Madison Music Foundry where my group tightened up some of our existing songs and developed some new ones.

On Sunday, I had planned to attend the weekly open mic at the Bos in the afternoon, followed by the open jam stage at Funks Pub later in the evening. However, the Funks jam was canceled due to "sportsball" and so I decided to make Sunday a free day for mindless R&R. So I opted out of the open mic at Bos. I put in a couple hours on my guitarist buddy Stefan's photo project from noon to 2, then spent the rest of the day galavanting around with Deborah. We went to lunch about 2 pm, whence I made the horrific discovery that the Flattop Grill at Hilldale Mall is no longer with us (out of business; for lease sign in the window). We ate at the Great Dane Pub across the street instead, even though the latter may have contributed to the Flattop's ultimately fatal loss of market share.

We discovered an impromptu art fair going on in the mall itself and scored Deborah some nice jewels there. We rounded out the day by shopping for "real" tofu at the Asian Market, and then watching "The Walking Dead" on Netflix after a nice dinner at home.

It was a pretty fun weekend.

* It is pronounced "boss," not "boze," as I have been incorrectly calling it for some time, and will probably continue to do so, because old habits die hard.

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