Country Band Road Gig

DRIVEWAY THRIFTDWELLERS, the country band I perform with, had a couple of good shows this past weekend.

On Saturday, we road tripped to the Minocqua Brewing Company in northern Wisconsin and played there for a decent enough crowd. After about 11, the crowd kind of petered out, so we did an all acoustic set for the handful of people who stuck around until the end. Our demographic seems to be a slightly more mature music fan, over 30, with a curfew. They really seem to enjoy it while it lasts, but at some point they get sleepy and go home, so it works better for us if we can start playing earlier and hit our best material before everyone bails. We had a cadre of younger 20-somethings there too, but this demographic never seems to be musically sophisticated and this was evidenced by the fact that most of them left mid-way through our show to go and party at the more “uncivilized” local dance clubs in the town, because they wanted stuff you could “shake your booty to,” as one girl put it. There was nothing stopping them from shaking their booties to our music, but they had different tastes in live music. That’s OK. We want our fans to appreciate our music and we don’t sell out to appeal to unappreciative audiences. That’s a no win situation.

After the show, we overnighted at a nearby cabin owned by the proprietor of the brewing company, I believe. We camped out on the floor and I got a decent night of sleep. In the morning, we went to the Black Bear Bar and Grill in Minocqua for a greasy spoon kind of breakfast before we all headed back down to Elkhart Lake WI, near the Fox Valley, to perform an early evening show at a tiki bar on a lake that was part of a resort complex known as Victorian Village.

We played from 4:30 to 8:30 PM. There was a nice breeze coming off the lake and as people got done with their water sports, they started rolling into the tiki bar. We had hired a sound crew for this show and they did a great job making us sound good, except for a couple episodes of minor feedback. Because of the earlier time slot, there were a lot of people there, many of them good and saucy from a day of drinking on the lake. Our music was particularly solid and energized because we had essentially live rehearsed it the night before in Minocqua. So people loved it and lots of people danced.

After the Victorian Village performance, I drove back to Oshkosh, where my buddy Todd was dog sitting my Boston terrier Foster for me for the weekend. Since it wasn’t a super late night, I had planned to drive back to Cambridge after picking up Foster. But when I got to Todd’s, I realized I was quite tired from the long weekend of road tripping and rocking. So Todd let me stay overnight to rest up in his guest bedroom. I got up early and cruised back to Cambridge with Foster, grabbing some much needed coffee at a gas station along the way. One of Todd’s friends has a parrot and I got to meet it late on Sunday night. It was pretty cool.

The Victorian Village tiki bar show was the superior of the two shows because of the time slot and the high appreciation of the crowd for our music. It’s great when an audience appreciates your brand of music without a lot of presumption or expectation. That’s priceless. But we also made a decent amount of money for the weekend too. Granted, after mileage costs at the IRS rate, which I have to log in my spreadsheet for accounting reasons, I think I netted $86. But that is better than nothing, and definitely better than losing money, which tends to happen at low paying gigs around Madison WI. I don’t play those gigs anymore, because I am in bands that are excellent and draw good crowds, so I don’t have to settle for peanuts.

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