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If someone randomly walked up to you on the street and shook your hand you'd probably wonder why. It'd be even more strange if someone walked up to you and handed you a Sharpie and asked you to sign a sticker or a CD case. Admittedly, the first hundred times that happens it is really weird. I wonder sometimes if that strangeness ever wears off.
She Eats Planets has just come off playing an epic night at one of my personal favorite bars in Connecticut, Zen Bar. It's a small venue out in Plainville with decently priced drinks, terrific karaoke nights, and an amazing chef. On some nights the live music line-ups are unbeatable. I'd like to think that last Saturday's show is one of those nights.
We were playing with our good friends and prog-rockers 1974 (www.1974online.com). They've got an hour plus record out right now called 1974 & The Battle for the Lazer Fortress. It's a very solid effort for any band, local or not. They're also an incredible live show making them one of a few local bands that I'd go out and see on one of my off nights. We love playing with them and we think the feeling is mutual and when we double up on a bill with them we have no problem packing the house. And we did on Saturday night.
Zen Bar isn't one of the highest capacity venues in the state. I think you'd be really stretching it to say that capacity is 150 people. She Eats Planets has packed it on a couple occasions—most notably our May 2010 release party for our CD, Liftoff, and this past Saturday with 1974. When you pack a venue the energy is high, the crowd is into it, and as I've mentioned before it really translates into the performance.
Now, I could have certainly done without my own wash of technical difficulties. They ran the gamut from a low E string that wouldn't stay in tune, forcing me to switch from my Les Paul Studio to my Les Paul Junior Special (such a hardship!), and a faulty instrument cable that decided that it was time to act as flaky as possible. It cut out at will and could only be revived by vigorously shaking and wiggling the cable. (I have since ordered four new cables to replace my current road-worn gear). Aside from that, however, the set went off well and once we finished our set we were sieged by members of the crowd before we could even pull our equipment from the postage stamp-sized stage.
After nearly five years I'm still becoming accustomed to the growing number of people who come up to me after a set to shake my hand, say how much they enjoyed the set, and ask for my set list and if I'd mind signing it (at which point I usually corral the rest of the band to sign as well.) The first time this happened it really threw me. It seemed like such a strange thing. I mean, I'm just a web manager at a weekly newspaper who plays guitar in a band in her free time. I'm no rock star. As the frequency of these requests have increased I've started to wonder if, in fact, I am something of a rock star albeit at a lower level than, say, Keith Richards. But the number of people approaching me after a set (even hours after a set) is growing exponentially.
So when I shook about 10 hands immediately after the set (I'd barely had time to set my guitar down) I knew the set had gone well. I knew the band had earned some new fans. And the weirdness sits in the back of my head. Sometimes the weirdness gets shoved aside when someone makes a particularly flattering comment.
I'll leave you with my favorite comment/scene of the night:
Me: (kneeling on the floor, unplugging cables from my pedal board.)
Man: (approaches and reaches to shake my hand). I have to tell you I'm an old guy (Pauses for a few seconds) and I've been around. I've seen a lot of bands but I've never seen a girl playing a Gibson before.
Me: Um, thanks?
Man: And I've never seen a girl playing a Gibson through a Marshall before. I mean, I've seen a lot of dudes do it and, I have to say, you just wiped the floor with all of them. You rock!