mrcBass and Hey Monkey @ Rocklin Brewfest 6/1/2019

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by mrcbass, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    As usual a bit long .... recap at bottom.

    The Sacramento area had our first taste of heat this weekend and I got to experience a lot of it. Friday, I volunteered at a golf tournament that benefits veterans and was outside most of the day. Even though I was in the shade most of the time, the heat (90s) kicked my butt. Had a few beers throughout the day and plenty of water, but I didn't hang around for the after dinner stuff, because I was just worn out. The weather for Saturday was supposed to be about the same.

    I'd been looking forward to our gig for the Rocklin Brew Festival for several months. This is an annual event held by the Rotary Club of South Placer to build up funds for various charity endeavors. We played the gig gratis - supposed to get paid in beer. The even had over 40 beer vendors providing appx. 2 oz samples to people who paid $35-40 to gain entry to the event. They were expecting over 2500 people, so we kind of expected to have a sizable crowd most of the day. We never expected to have 2000 people cheering us on or anything - we knew the crowd would be transient and more preoccupied with beer than us, but I know I sort of expected there to be a couple hundred folks somewhat engaged with the band at any given point.


    WE were scheduled to play between 1pm and 5pm but were told to be there at 9am for load in and sound check. They had us set up in a tent that was closed from the sides and rear and they were going to supply a stage. We got thee and the stage guys were just laying stage slabs on the ground and they were about to leave for their next thing. "Whoa dudes, this is not even close to level" (there was about a 6" slope from left to right and probably 4" form front to back). "Do you have any adjustable risers?"

    They did sort of - two sized 12" (+ about 3") of adjustment and 6" (+3"), but they did not have enough of either for the whole stage. So we made a little lemonade and crated a two tier stage using the 12" risers in the back and the 6" risers in the front. On top of that, Frank had his "bucket riser" for his drums so we had a three tier stage!! We still couldn't quite get the left to right totally level, but it was a lot better - of course my station was at the part we couldn't get level. Was never really an issue, but it just felt a odd all day. All in all it was a great stage for us - all the cables were off the deck and we had lots of room to roam.

    Adding to the reasons I'm leaving (well I guess "have left" now) is the BL's insistence on trying manage things he has no clue over. We were ready for sound check by about 11:30. I actually took my mic stand out in front of the stage about 40 feet so I could check all the moving parts. Since we didn't have customers yet, I was trying to do a proper sound set where we build up form the drums. Where is the drummer? I turned around and he was 100 feet behind me worried about how far the sound was carrying. "Frank, let's get our mix right and then we worry about volume." 10 minutes later he finally caught on and using my tablet I was able to dial in a good mix for all instruments an vocals (mine included for change! :hyper:). By noon sound check was complete and we had some time to kill. I waited as long as I could before changing into my big boy pants and stage clothes. :(

    Here's our stage before sound check. Jon and Shannon taking care aof a couple last minute details and Gayle is just chillin'.


    A little cleaner shot of the stage and our sweat lodge.

    My station du jour (added back a little pedal board, mostly for my new band, but did use it a couple of times on Saturday for a little color)...

    My rig (Fender AmPro 5 String P (black) with next to my Squier backup (red). Using my new 500 watt GK MB500 amp for DI (I'll be using that amp with my new band). My new 6U rack also houses my IEM, bass wireless and a power conditioner. (If you look real close you can see the little sample glass they we giving us on the top left corner of my rack unit.)

    So we were slotted to start at 1:00, but they don't start pouring until 1:30... hmm when are we supposed to collect our "pay"? The BL had this grand idea to start early - "Frank they're not even letting people in until 1:00, what is your deal?" We talked him down from that, but we did kick it off right at 1:00. Two songs into our first set we get the "shut up" signal from one of the organizers - they were just then letting folks in and had some stupid ribbon cutting ceremony before everyone dashed to the vendor area. We continued and played the rest of our set to a big empty grass area. Everyone was hanging in the vendor area or as far back as it took to find shade. I kind of expected that the crowd would liven up for our second set, after the beer started kicking in.

    90+ is not particularly hot for Sacramento, but the first couple weekends of the heat are always pretty tough on us. Usually this happens in May, maybe even April, but we've had a very long winter and even a noticeable spring for a change this year. So having this event on the first hot weekend for us was brutal for everyone (would have been a great evening gig!). They did have misted fans all over the place and even one that kind of pointed at the stage. But it was off to the side and far enough away (didn't want the mist all over our electronics!) that it was pretty ineffective and where I was, it didn't hit me at all. I did have my little mic stand fan clipped on which I didn't think was doing much - until the battery ran out in the second set. It was helping quite a bit actually. Every chance I got (whenever I didn't have any vocal duties), I was down on the lower tier trying to get a little bit of breeze.

    During the break, I went scouting for a sample I'd enjoy (I'm not an IPA fan at all and that seemed to be what most vendors were pushing), but I did find the Firestone-Walker tent and was expecting them to be pouring one of my go tos: 805. "Nope, they market that separate and we're not allowed to pour it here?" "Huh?" I settled on their lager (which was pretty good by the way) and spent the rest of my break scouting for something in the amber ale category. I never found one. One of the event staffer was going on about the beer before the gig, and I mentioned that we weren't going to see much of that. The beer lines will be crazy when we break and they're not pouring before or after or gig. "Oh don't worry, we'll see that the vendors take care of you." I kind of expected that they'd pour us out a pitcher or a growler to enjoy after the gig, but nope. It's not like I wanted to drink a lot of beer, but it sure would have been nice to have had at least one full beer!

    We kicked off the second set to pretty much the same scenario. OK, so nobody really cares that we are here. Great. 90+ degrees in a sauna tent for no pay, with little to no crowd interest and I can't even get a decent beer. Ughh. I think if they would have had a big tent up for shade, the place would have been rockin'. On our second break, I went back and got a couple of shots of the lager (shot one down before she could even open the next can and held it out again for a refill) "Don't mean to be rude, but I'm in the band, I don't have much time to be here and this is my pay." I took my second poor and sat down in the open shade for a few minutes.

    Here's a few shots from the stage during the third set. The closest we got to a dance floor was the group that used the area for Frisbee tossing (dude in red tank), and yes, it the Frisbee did find it's way on the stage a couple of times and even once on top of our tent which reminded me of an old joke" "I'm a Frisbeetarian - when I die, my soul gets stuck on the roof and nobody can get me down!"


    We wound up playing a very short third set - they did last call and then we wrapped up. The beer vendors were gone before we could even unplug our guitars, so no chance at any after gig refreshment. So my "pay" for the gig amounted to about 6 oz of beer.

    All in all, a very disappointing gig. I must say between the dead crowd and knowing it was my last gig, I was bit distracted and didn't play great. I played better than my last showing, but I was mentally ticking off all the songs that I "never have to play again" and trying to deal with the suppressing heat. This was the first time I had any issues with sweaty hands and arms on the bass and it was distracting as well. One kind of funny band melt down was during "Pour Some Sugar On Me". The song had a very thin sound when just Gayle was singing the lead, so they had me double the vocals to thicken it up. Half way through the second chorus she forgot the words, which threw me off even though I was reading them off my tablet (I refuse to memorize that song) so I just started singing, with the songs melody "This verse is in French, la, la, la, la la ..." until she got back in line. I don't know if anyone else even heard it (didn't see any reaction from anyone), but I cracked myself up if nothing else.

    Getting off track - nobody can say I don't listen to the lead singer when I'm doing my backing. I was doing some post production work on vids from the previous gig last week and we have one song where I echo back the line she just sang. On the third pass, she got tripped up over the words and it came out as complete gibberish: "I nubdo, fos vod" (or something equally non English.) I swear I parroted back the exact same thing even though I know the song better than she does and usually echo the proper words. It just cracks me up every time I watch that section of the song!

    Back to our scheduled program... even though it was my last gig, I still hung out and helped with the loading of the big gear and I was quite happy to be hoisting Frank's 200 lb drum kit case for the last time. At least load in and out were pretty easy - we were able to drive right up to the tent.

    We all wished each other well and no hard feelings. I know Jon is looking for another situation as well and let him know that my new band may get tired of Mr. Late and need a new lead guitar and that I think he'd be a good fit. They seem to think I'll be hard to replace - they liked my crappy backing vox and it will be a challenge for them, because Gayle heads out of town for most of the summer, so it will be hard for them to properly audition bass players. They were talking about maybe bringing back one of their previous guys. Doesn't make sense to me, but whatever, not my problem. I feel bad most of all for Shannon who will go back to being the only person helping with the community load in.

    With that chapter behind me, I reported for rehearsal with my new band on Sunday. A little tired from the heat of the last couple days, but ready to go. We made it pretty cleanly through the first two sets, with set number three on the schedule for next week. This should be interesting - I don't think they've really worked on set three yet, so I'll get a good peek at how these guys respond to being ready. They are very happy with my progress - we got through one song "the best as we ever played it" yesterday and then the lead singer pointed at me and said "It's his fault!" Thanks - I think?

    These guys really do conduct good rehearsals. Last week - my first full rehearsal with them we tiptoed through the first two sets, mostly for my benefit. I made some notes and fixed few issues in my parts (one thing I don't like about using a tablet, is it is cumbersome to make rehearsal notes quickly). This week we pretty much just ran through it as if we were gigging, with discussion only as needed. We ran over a couple points where the timing needed some focus, but for the most part, they were all "close enough" to be respectable. So far it seems like a pretty good hang and the music is fun (not stuff I'd listen to, but fun enough to play). And I was happy to hear some talk about logistics of gig day this far out.

    So my next gig is with the new band "River City Outlaws", about a month away on June 29 at a place called "Ninos" in Modesto (about an hour away for me). Based on yesterday, I see no reason we won't be ready.

    RCO Logo Big.png

    TLTR; Last gig on Saturday with Hey Monkey was long, hot, and disappointing. Rehearsal with nee band on Sunday went well.

    Attached Files:

    ELG60, nixdad, Sore Thumb and 10 others like this.
  2. HA HA Frisbitarian!
    Well sorry it was a bit of a let down...
    nixdad, McG and mrcbass like this.
  3. I hope that with your new act you won't be playing for free tacos!! Thanks for an entertaining read...
    nixdad and mrcbass like this.
  4. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Great read about one of "those" gigs. You survived and are ready for the next chapter. Looking forward to following the Continuing Adventures of @mrcbass :thumbsup:
    nixdad and mrcbass like this.
  5. Admiral Akbar

    Admiral Akbar

    Mar 12, 2013
    New York
    OP --

    Cool to read about a "meh" gig. This is where the real professionalism and dedication for music shines. Thank you for sharing this, as I feel most TB'ers tend to post about "grade A" type gigs.

    Anyone can play a "grade A gig" (cool hang, great music, excellent bread) -- but it's much tougher to hunker down and sludge through the tougher gigs. I believe these lower grade gigs are what separates the pros from the wannabes. And it sounds like you've handled it great, even participating in the load-out with your drummer's 200lb drum.

    And the best is you have new exciting project on the horizon, with a gig lined up. Can't wait to read and see your next writeup!
    nixdad, Sore Thumb, McG and 1 other person like this.
  6. Hi @mrcbass,

    You didn't exactly go out with a bang but you done good. ;)

    With your dedication to your craft, your next project should be much more rewarding. Wishing you well!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    nixdad, Sore Thumb, McG and 1 other person like this.
  7. rjake007

    rjake007 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2018
    Baja, Oregon
    Bummer of a gig, but an excellent report @mrcbass nonetheless. I appreciate that you still put it out there. Looking forward to the tales of your new band.

    nixdad and Sore Thumb like this.