Friday, November 4, 2005

Not a test

My wife Elaine and I had a wonderful time last night doing the "open mic" at Jackson Avenue Coffee. With her violin and my guitar, we did two songs from the 1930s--"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "On a Little Street in Singapore." (Two's the limit.)

As a musician, I'm mostly in the closet, so to speak, and sitting down to play in public has given me great angst (though I've played in public anyway). This time was different: my angst went on all afternoon, and while playing at JAC I felt amazingly relaxed. Elaine's a professional musician, so she understands what it's taken me a long time to figure out--that playing in public is not a test.

Elaine has written about the JAC audience on her blog, and I'll second what she says there: that it's a pleasure to play for people who are really listening, whether the music is familiar or not, whether the performers are vets or novices. And it's a pleasure to play and listen in a place that's designed on a human scale. We didn't even need microphones. Thank you, Jackson Avenue Coffee.

comments: 1

B. said...

I agree completely that the best shows are with an attentive audience, sans mic. This week, Scott & I picked up a series of Friday night gigs at a small, unknown bar where the audience claps along to the beat and talks to us between the songs. There's no need to plug in, and the shows always elevate our mood. You and Elaine are right - playing live isn't a test, it's a confirmation.