I met Suzanne and Michael a few months ago at Red Devil Open Mic and we’ve become good friends since. Their band Sugar Ponies is comprised of some very seasoned and creative musicians and I was exceptionally privileged to play with them – let me toss that out immediately. I had previously asked them if I could play with them as I do really like their music. The liked the idea and sent me some chords charts and recordings and I went to town on learning them.
I’ve never really practiced with a metronome nor counted more than the start of a song – I haven’t been someone who would tap out a whole song while playing it. I kind of just incorporate the pulse into the accents with the strum of my right hand. I went quite a few years without actually playing with a drummer and it morphed and evolved my right hand technique to be a lazy sort of metronome. So when it came to one of the songs that had to be accented on certain beats, I had to work for it. Fortunately for me, none of them had really played the recorded version with two guitars in some time and they had to do some modifications to the structure of the intro to get it going smoothly with me. I think it turned out quite well and I really enjoyed playing with them.
This was the first time I’ve been back to 50 Mason since they had the open mic and I was really happy to see that they now have a much better sound setup and they take credits cards via Squared. The CC upgrade was a major boon to me since I don’t normally carry much cash nor every really see it like I assume a lot of people these days. I might be a little more so than average since I rarely get outside the city and I have a motorcycle. I can pay a lot of parking meters with a CC or I park in a spot where there’s a car with the meter paid or the greatest one is to find a handicapped spot where they park for free all day – yeah that’s lame but it’s FREE PARKING. I honestly see nothing wrong with that. Berkeley will ticket you in some areas if you try the spot sharing – the dicks.
Back to the show – I was happy to see 50 Mason had grown and was even better than before; they even had my current favorite beer: Speakeasy Payback Porter. So I knew I was at least going to be able to drink well and of course I knew most everyone who showed up or had met them at least at some point in time. There were a few people I didn’t know but I try!
The first act was Sean Tabor and I know I’ve seen him before at Red Devil Open Mic and maybe somewhere else – really nice performance from a talented songwriter. Secondly Sugar Ponies took the stage and played about 8-9 songs before I joined them on ‘Love Song’ along with Alan Monasch on keyboards. They played a few more song and then I joined them to play my last song with them on ‘Kiss Me’.
Brent Newcomb – Brentando was up next and in classic form, he kicked much ass. Brent is a bad ass singer and songwriter – he’s rock solid and his songs are great. I especially like his song ‘Bona Fide ‘ as do most people with good musical taste 🙂 He also give a mean bear hug and has a great NE US accent when he drinks a lot. Speaking of bear hugs – Liz O (Elizabeth Oehlschlaeger) was up next and with her adorable and enthralling personality, rocked out in her unique way. But to get back to the bear hug reference – Liz likes to bring stuffed animals to the shows and brought along a giant teddy bear that everyone posed with – I think I was pretending to make love to it by the looks of the picture – those Speakeasy Paybacks pack some kick.
Another fantastic performer whom didn’t play but was there hanging out and doing awesome Deliverance impressions, was Ben Brown. Ben’s a pretty wicked performer / singer / songwriter and he and I have similar tastes in classic movies – we worked on our pig squeal imitations and my voice was actually a bit sore from doing them so I think I might have been a little drunker than normal. I hope none of that made it into a video…
So the night was great and I had a lot of fun with the Ponies plus learning their music, practicing with them, and then finally performing – even for just two songs. It really felt great to play with more than just a drummer and with some talented artists and friends. This whole experience is just another step in my musical career and I met some new people and grew a little as a musician – I hope to do more of these things in the future as well as hopefully get to play with Sugar Ponies again.
Below I’m going to list links to all the performers and Ben, because he’s a cool guy – I encourage you to check them out.