Back From Chicago

My brother and I went out to Chicago this weekend for my cousin Ryan’s bachelor party. The event consisted of golfing, drinking, gambling, and vomiting and I excelled in three out of the four. We had a great time and I’d like to thank Ryan and Jen for letting us stay at their place.

I couldn’t believe how hot it was out there yesterday. The temperature hung around the 100 mark all day, but the heat index made it feel like 112.

On Friday night, we caught the Kelly Bell Band at Grape Street and they sounded great. Strangely, the place was dead for most of their set, so I guess the shore was a bigger draw for most people last weekend.

Open Mic Recap: The Living Room

The Living Room’s open mic was a lot of fun tonight. Jason Wheatly, Roz King, Keith Lewis, and Willie Tapps all put on great performances. Adrien and John blew everyone away with two originals and I’m sure they’ll be playing around a lot. I also enjoyed the guy who went right before me, John Romeo, and pretty much everyone else. The night was so good, I skipped the Crab’s open mic.

I felt like rocking out, so I started off with Gomez’s “Get Miles” and closed with “I Hope I Die on the Moon.” The Living Room always seems to have a great crowd thanks to Jason’s prodding. On a monday in the near future I’m going to be a featured open mic artist. The featured status lets me play for about a half hour at the start of the show.

It looks like the Living Room has settled on keeping the refrigerated shelf in the middle of the counter because it’s still there. It’s so distracting especially when someone opens its door and a blinding light shoots from the inside.

I hope you like this site’s new color scheme. The green looked worse and worse every time I looked at it. I also switched the megaphone icon from the “Random” topic to the “New” topic. Random got the famous chicken head and I couldn’t be happier.

Guitar Images

I added pictures of my guitars to the image page. They came out pretty nice and I should have a few more when Jake finds the time to send them to me.

I also changed the color scheme of the site from green to blue and removed the 3D shadowing from the boxes. I got rid of the shadows, because it limited how easily I could change the color scheme and so far I like the blue a lot better.

As for my “Current” block on the right, I have a hard time keeping up with my “listening” list. I listen to about 10 CD’s pretty heavily, so I’m thinking of changing it around. I also might keep a list of everything that has made the “Current” block.

As for this week, I think I’ll definitely hit the Crab’s open mic on Wednesday since I haven’t been there in forever. The Kelly Bell Band is playing Grape Street this Friday and I might check that out if I don’t end up driving to Illinois.

Open Mic Recap: Ended Up in the ER

Thankfully the smoke has started to clear from all the Canadian fires. This week has been like living in the Denny’s smoking section. I couldn’t even see the city yesterday while driving over the Walt Whitman Bridge.

I figured I’d be waiting by myself for a long time for Grape Street to open so I brought along John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany” since my girlfriend gave it such a good review. I probably wasn’t there 5 minutes when two people got in line behind me. We were finally let in and I snagged the slot right after the host, Tom Gillam. A lot of people don’t like playing first, but at Grape Street you won’t go on until 10:30PM so there is a decent crowd and everyone is bored enough to appreciate the opening act.

There were a few artists there I’d seen before, including the famous Ray Naylor, but I don’t know most of their names yet. I met a few guys from the Next Big Thing and they sounded really tight. Their name gives Tom plenty of corny joke material and I know if I was in that band I’d probably get sick of that after a while. If anyone from NBT is reading this, here’s a free band name alternative from Ben Garvey: The Neck’s Big Thing. Just think of all the cool flyers and album covers you could make with a picture of a neck and something growing out of it. I also met a guy named El who swears his hip hop group, the Wild Bulls, will be out in force at Grape Street next week.

El had just finished his thing when I got a call from my girlfriend. She had to go to the hospital because she messed up her foot at the gym and couldn’t walk. So I drove home and hung out at the hospital until 2:30AM. The highlight of the trip was trying to guess what a bunch of doctors and nurses were looking at in a container at one point. It looked like it could be a little fish or a severed finger, and I got the impression someone had just passed the oddity. We never found out for sure what was in the container.

Open Mic: Grape Street Tonight

I’ll be heading out to Manayunk tonight for the Grape Street Open Mic. I haven’t been there in a while, but it should be a good time. The sign up starts when they open at 7:30PM and from recent experience I’ve found that if you aren’t there before 8:00PM you’ll be falling asleep by the time you go on.

Flea Market Find

Yesterday I visited the world famous Berlin Flea Market with my siblings to find a few odd items for my brother’s new apartment. Along the way I picked up a crummy electric guitar for $45 from a guy named Milton. It’s missing a pickup, has holes all over it, and “Grunge Sucks” is scratched into the side. No you can’t buy it. You can tell it was previously owned by some kid who spent more time customizing his guitar than practicing with his band. My guess is he sold it to Milton to buy cigarettes. It looks like the pick guard was removed and replaced with a smaller one. The head has also been cut into two points, making it looks like a snake’s tongue. The neck is actually in fairly good shape the sound is a lot better than I expected. I might stick in a new pickup and see what I can make out of it.

I also went to see the minor league AC Surf (who I refer to in my mind as the Serfs) play against Bridgeport. I think I might go to see more minor league baseball, especially with the impending MLB strike coming up. I think it’s a good way to stick it to those greedy players. Mitch Williams manages the Serfs and I’m not surprised seeing how they pulled their pitcher in the 3rd inning.

After the game we headed to the Trop to play some craps. Jake and I had about as little fun as $80 can get you pissing away our money at a $5 table. Playing the cheapest tables in the casino will definitely introduce you to a few new smells. The guy next to Jake actually took his shoes off as a good luck charm.

Open Mic Recap

The night started out pretty dead, but picked up later on. Unfortunately, my set was during the dead period. Despite sweaty palms and near heat exahaustion, I ripped out decent versions of Why Now Satan?, All My Dreams are in Cartoon, and the Genius of it All.

“Chasin” Jason was great as always and Roz King played a surprisingly good set. Roz has improved a lot since I first saw him play in ’97. A guy named Andre really impressed me with his 10 minute song about waking up for the Brazil – Germany World Cup Final. Matt did his usual guitar insanity along with two covers. I really think he should consider getting someone to do poetry or spoken word over his “guitar stylings.” It would add a lot of depth to both Matt and the poet.

In other news, the red haired chick behind the counter started giving me half priced Lattes, probably because I’m the only one who buys them in 90+ degree weather. I’m not sure what the owners at the Living Room were thinking, but they moved the refrigerated drink cabinet right into the middle of the counter. It looks really awkward and I hope they move it back to where it was. The new artwork on the walls is a nice addition.

Overall it was a good night. The atmosphere at their open mics has improved 200% since Jason took over the hosting duties.