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I spent the weekend playing out at Higher Ground Festival again this year, with Jeremy Sanoski and Elizabeth Hunnicutt. Both shows were super cool, and the festival as a whole is always a good time. My friend Matt best runs the event, and he’s a solid dude.
Noteworthy moments from the weeknd:
1) Jeremy getting heat exhaustion after our set on Friday and spending an hour and a half in the EMT trailer.
And… I’ve got some footage from the weekend, shot with that awesome Flip camcorder that I bought before the UK Harms tour. Here’s an exceprt from a track on the Sanoski Band’s forthcoming record, and my daughter Betty singing along with Hunnicutt…
I’m playing with Elizabeth Hunnicutt tonight at the Target Center after the Lynx game, and we just got done loading in.
The load-in was more fun than normal because there’s a bat that apparently lives in the rafters of the parking area underneath the arena. This bat – we’ll call him “Duane” – was feeling social and flying around everywhere. As in, I’m walking down the hallway from the training room to the court and Duane is doing laps up and down the hallway, a low-ceiling and narrow hallway, just flying right past me. I was ducking instinctively but I really had nowhere to go. Then Duane hit Liz’s booking agent in the back of the head. And then, as Christian Ankrum and I were walking back to our cars, Duane flew circles around us the whole way, maybe a foot off the ground.
Should be a good show tonight.
I’m playing a couple cool gigs next week that I want to make sure everybody knows about…
2) Friday (3/27) is the release show for Elizabeth Hunnicutt’s new record, On The Way. The show will be at Church Of The Open Door in Maple Grove. Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 the night of. You can hear some of the tracks from this record on Liz’s myspace page and on her new website.
Hunnicutt tour is going well. My friend Christian Ankrum is playing bass, who I also play with in Joel Hanson’s band. Christian’s brother Aaron is Liz’s normal guitarist, but he couldn’t come this time, so Jeremy Sanoski came out for the tour. He’s another solo artist who’s band I’m in, so the lineup turned out to be a cool clustering of guys I play with all the time. It’s a lot of fun.
We’re in Spokane, WA right now playing for a women’s conference. The conference put the whole band up in the luxurious Double Tree Hotel attached to the convention center. Last night Christian and I made a video to showcase how nice the place is, and it’s pretty funny. Check it out.
So I mentioned in the previous post that I’m in the midst of a short tour with Elizabeth Hunnicutt right now. Most of the gigs that we’re doing are in small venues, where the natural drum volume is too loud. Dowel sticks (I use the brand ProMark “Hot Rods”) make this problem easy to get around. But… rods have quite a different timbre and sound from normal sticks – they aren’t just a softer volume. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned when using rods:
1) Buzz rolls, although possible with rods, don’t sound very good.
2) Toms also sound bad, but using rimshots on the toms can make them sound more like normal.
3) Non-rimshot snare hits have a unique tone to them, but they are not just a little quieter than sticks, they are A LOT quieter. If you’re going to use that sound, you have to back way off the cymbals to get a correct blend.
4) Along with the point just mentioned, be careful to note that “crash” hits (cymbals hits with the “edge” of the stick and not the tip) are really the same volume with rods as they are with sticks. So, be extra careful to back off on the velocity of those hits so as to gain a good drum/cymbal blend.