Last night Arcati Crisis played our first true headlining set inside of the Philadelphia city limits, in a fantastic space upstairs from Zot Restaurant, sharing the bill with our good friends Lindsay Wilhelmi, Andra Taylor, and Nate Dodge.
In my increasingly frequent travels in the Philly music scene I often feel like an amateur, and in open-miking I still am. There are Philly artists who have honed the art of open mike to a fine, fine point, and are able to score kudos from a crowd of strangers on every outing.
I’m not that. But, I am a communications professional, a project manager, a Lyndzapalooza organizer, and a reformed amateur theatre junkie, and I brought all of those experiences to bear on what turned out to be an amazing show. I designed the flyers, I worked with all of the performers come to a consensus on our schedule, I provided a sound system in a pinch, and I refocused lights and worked the crowd throughout the night.
I don’t mean that to sound like I take credit for our night, because if I had done all of that of that for a four-hour solo Peter show I wouldn’t have garnered nearly the same amount of support or success. Just as there’s something magical about the harmony of Arcati Crisis, there was something special about sharing a real bill with Lindsay after how hard we’ve worked on our music together over the years, and about sharing a stage with our new friends Andra and Nate, who energize and inspire us with every performance.
Would the flyers have been as cool if I hadn’t been designing on their behalf? Would the schedule have been so intuitive without their brains? Would the PA have been worth carrying up the stairs without Lindsay to strike a balance on the initial mix? Would the lights be worth refocusing without a bill of compelling performers to watch?
I can’t take credit for combining the four of us – to that we owe our thanks to David Simons of Five Year Plan Entertainment, who gave us all the chance to be heard, and to be heard together. It was a rare bill where I could cross-promote every artist with the confidence that our audiences would seamlessly overlap.
My dad arrived to the show early and held court at the bar for the duration, and every time I stopped by he was ready with a polite litany of ways we could improve for our next show. We need a bigger board with an off-board equalizer, and maybe a compressor. Sandbags for the bottom of mic stands. Better eye-lines. Performers closer to the audience. Stop by ahead of time to check out the lighting situation.
If you’ve followed my history with my father at all, you know that it’s rare for us to find an intersection of interests, and it was fascinating to hear him so effortlessly detail all of the credible, tangible ways we could improve for our next show.
At one point in the conversation I interjected.
“Dad, we will do everything you just said. But, realize that it used to be that we had no mic stands to even sing into, so I bought those. And then we didn’t have mics that were good for Gina and I, so I bought those. Then Lyndzapalooza needed a PA system, so I bought that. And, Gina and I couldn’t get anyone to pay attention to us without quality recordings, so I bought a digital recording interface and spent the last year mixing and burning demos.”
My point was well-taken, just as his was by me: success requires steady progress; milestones require constant motion.
It was a year ago today that Arcati Crisis made our Philadelphia debut at the Tin Angel, playing three newly learned songs in a brief set during a lineup of almost a dozen other performers – mostly strangers. As great as that felt, and as inspiring as the support from friends and family was, I don’t think we could have imagined that a single year later we would be playing for five times that long to twice as many of our dearest supporters on a bill of talented friends.
I am truly blessed to be a part of a community that continues to support the evolution of our music. I will continue to do everything within my power to make sure it gets heard.