Around this time in last year’s NaBloPoMo Gina and I were just convening for our yearly holiday revue rehearsals, which wound up evolving into full-time Arcati Crisis.
Back then we would break off a set early if our mixing was bad or we biffed a harmony, and we didn’t like playing with other people because it threw off our very precarious musical balance.
Tonight we played three songs with a backing band in front of a modest crowd, rocking two of them quite adequately, and soldiering through a third one despite highly audible technical issues arising from our back line.
Our mixing was middling; no harmony was biffed.
After our set we mingled with various artists up in the (awesome) balcony-level green room, and witnessed a stunning percussion jam lead by our dear friend Dante Bucci and including our new favorite tabla player on the entire planet, Natasha.
Whilst we were relaxing between sets we struck up a conversation with the other performers. I’m always a little fearful of these backstage relationships, because I find them impossible to maintain with tact and grace if I decide that the performer is not up to par (and I’m afraid they’ll have the same issue with me).
One woman in particular was very charming, and we spoke to her at length about our history, how long we’ve known each other and have been playing together, and how satisfying it is to finally be a real band playing music together.
When we asked her about herself she mostly demurred, saying that she had given up writing songs for a while but recently fell back into it. That just made me all the more anxious about the prospects of carrying on a conversation afterward she played, but I put it aside; we were talking to a such a perceptive and personable fellow musician, and I should enjoy that completely apart from her actual musicianship.
As it turns out, she was amazing. Her songs were campy in an intentional, hilarious, genuine way, and her piano playing and singing were both unassailable and sometimes remarkable. Later she complained about a flubbed chord, and Gina and I remarked truthfully that we wouldn’t have ever known had she not told us.
(I need to remember that the same usually holds true for us.)
Nancy Huebner. Keep your ear out.
The moral of those dual stories is one and the same.
If you have something in your life that you’ve always wanted to do – something that you love (or think you would love doing) but never thought you would be good at – do it.
Stop asking questions. Don’t ask questions. Don’t doubt. Equip yourself with knowledge and enthusiasm, work at it until the work becomes effortless and fun, and then have fun doing it in the absence of the approval of anyone other than yourself.
Eventually it won’t matter if your harmony gets biffed or your chord gets flubbed every once and a while, because what you’re doing will be about a lot more than harmony and chords.
It’ll be about happiness.