We arrived with a car full of equipment (and Elise) at 7:00 p.m. on the nose to be greeted with a modern, comfortable shop in the capable hands of manager Matthew and barista extraordinaire Becca. Saxbys Abington is located in its own lot, adjoining a Peace A Pizza, which is fourth on my list of consistently favorite pizza, behind La Rosa, Franco & Luigi’s, and – improbably – Powelton.
(Somehow I did not come home with a pizza, possibly owing to knowing how stuffed I would become at the impending Sunday wedding.)
As we briefed Matthew and Becca on our own extensive barista experience they let us move all manner of comfy chairs and high-end stereo equipment to accommodate our PA system and microphones, to only slightly curious stares from the existing patrons. We were tickled to see that Matthew had made a special “music at Saxbys” advertising mat with our promo shot on it, and he further won his way into our hearts by plying us with free caffeinated beverages.
Without describing each minute detail of our set, I can summarize the night thusly:
(1) Arcati Crisis rehearse in an informal, chatty manner (even in the midst of playing songs), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we deliver some of our best performances in the same fashion.
(2) We are much better at playing cover songs than we give ourselves credit for, as long as we count them in correctly.
Over the course of our mammoth 90-minutes of play time we turned in some surprisingly great takes of our own songs, especially our oldies: a very controlled “Real End” and a randomly awesome “Under My Skin.” I also think we nailed our catchiest trio – “What’ll I Say,” “Hyperbole,” and “Fisher Price.”
As for covers, “In My Life” was made all the more lovely for the fact that we had only ever sung it together once before, and “With or Without You” is a testament to how far we’ve come vocally since we last performed it together – in 2001. And, we finally debuted “High and Dry,” after over a year of playing it at rehearsals.
Despite the beautiful weather the shop never entirely filled up, but we played to a fun range of people, including a foursome having a spirited informal meeting, a family passing through after karate practice, and a charming trio of teen girls who actually requested The Beatles, of all things.
(The latter were so nice that I may have promised to learn a Jonas Brothers song for them for our next appearance in June.)
It was altogether a wonderful gigging experience – gracious hosts in a charming shop, us seamlessly running our own sound, and a curious blend of customers who each needed individual charming in order to stick around for more of our set.
We’re looking forward to our return on Friday, June 27, bolstered by our dear friend and top-notch support act Lindsay Wilhelmi.
I, only half-jokingly, have threatened to subsequently engage in a national Saxbys tour in tribute to Hedwig’s run of Bilgewater Restaurants in the film of Angry Inch. We might just start with playing in some of their other local locales, such as a brand new Temple University shop.