My best friends came to town for Memorial Day weekend.
The good news: we had a blast
The bad news: I lost my voice
I thought I had been pretty disciplined throughout the weekend, lip-syncing jams in the bars instead of scream-singing them like I usually would, but somewhere between long Islands and tequila shots the rules got a little fuzzy.
The problem was, I had TWO shows the following weekend. Okay, no big deal. I should be plenty healed by then.
I talked as little as possible that entire week, which was a struggle. Reminded me of a psychology project we had to do one time, not talking for an entire day. It was kind of cool to be an observer, from an artist’s standpoint, but also awful because I am such a social creature.
This was leading me to a lot of stress. I was already pretty down after my friends left, because I miss them a lot. I don’t realize it during my day to day, but having them here and feeling their absence afterward definitely left a void for the next couple of days, and not being able to speak on top of that made it worse.
Two days before the first show, I could still barely talk let alone sing. I met with Elizabeth Bee in the Bar Louie Parking lot to go over the songs for the set, and even softly, I could barely muster out the low notes. I felt at this point, that I would be able to sing at half capacity at best by Friday.
That day at work was awful. I hadn’t slept the night before because I was anxious, and frankly, all I wanted to do was go to bed. I almost wished I had canceled the shows ahead of time. All I wanted to do at that point was get through it so I could go home.
The Place was called the Bowery Vault, and it was impossible to find at first. Thankfully, (I’ve learned to do this over the years) I gave myself ten minutes of buffer time for me to get lost or something to go wrong. I found myself driving back and forth between a carwash and an Italian restaurant, neither one resembling the venue. What a perfect ending to a perfect day.
Alas, I finally found it, and I should have realized my luck was turning around when I pulled up and miraculously found a parking spot nearby.
I scrambled in, apologizing for nearly being late, and made my way up to the stage. When I settled in and looked around, something in me changed.
The stage lights came on, I could feel their heat on my face, and suddenly, all the stress and worry faded away. I felt happy. I felt energized. I felt ready.
They even had a fog machine!!
The theme of the Night was “Songs of Bravery” and the challenge was to perform songs for the first time. I talked to the audience about the songs and what had stopped me from playing them before. It's a really hard feeling to explain. In real life, vulnerability is not my thing. It's just never been who I am. I like to tough things out, and put on a brave face no matter what is happening. Anything other than that feels like weakness. In this kind of setting though, it feels like strength. Especially tonight, it all just felt right.
The Bowery Vault is a really intimate venue. It's one of my favorite places in town to play. They have a little bar in the back (and they also sell some food, like delicious tamales) and a little clothing store on the side. Then, there's a sitting area with tables in front of the stage. The stage is lined with pairs of boots. Throughout the show, the owners do an amazing job helping to keep things visually interesting with the lighting and fog machine, and the sound is great too. Overall, no matter the turnout, they are so kind and professional. It was a great experience and I'm glad it wasn't the last time I got to play there.
Side note, to the aspiring artists out there, the Bowery Vault will let you book your own show there. You can inquire about a date through their Facebook page. I did my showcase there and it was awesome.
Back to this one though, after we were done I thought it was my best performance yet, and I think it is because I felt the most comfortable. My on-stage banter is still something I'm working on, and tonight, every bit of it felt authentic, and it flowed nicely. I even got the audience laughing at my jokes.
Moments like these remind me why this is what I was meant to do.
I had some notes on the next performance, so I am going to include some of those highlights real quick.
The following day, I performed at the Hendersonville Main Street Porch Fest. This was really cool because all of the stages were on literal porches of these big mansions.
This performance didn't go as smoothly. I definitely did fine, but I found myself fighting with the elements, mainly the wind and sun, and It just was as seamless as I would have liked.
After I was done, I walked around saw other bands. I stayed pretty much the entire day. Hearing from other artists is always a great learning experience, but I found myself being a bit jealous as well.
I can't explain in great detail because some time has passed and I'm writing this based on my notes. But I can tell you watching these other artists I wrote that I was "Itching to do music full time." I still feel that way. It's only a matter of time.