Wow. First gig on the tour and I'm in heaven, transcending through celestial continents of inner spiritual mindgames and joy of musical wanderings. It didn't seem much on the outside, but doing a gig at Read Street Books Cafe, Baltimore, just blew my mind.
It's been a trippy day. I'm starting to feel like we are attracting the right things from the universe that we are supposed to attract. Firstly, waking up on the futon in Susan Souza's downstairs pad was delighful. I hankered for a Starbucks GTSL (green tea soy latte). I think Susan has a mapquest addition, because she dutifully gave us a map with directions to a Starbucks down on the other corner. "If you drive here, then here, left there, then right there.. it's right there". Ok. If we walk? Well if you walk, it's right there and then it's there." Ok. We walked. But it wasn't there. Just a house. We walked some more. Ahh there it is.... No sooner had we swung the doors and stepped inside, that we found out they had run out of soy milk. Biscuits. That's Melissa's expression for a swear word. I like it. I demanded a free drink coupon (they complied) and we hauled ourselves up half a mile to the next one. Why am I going through all this? Because the fact of the matter is going for the 3 mile walk (that's about the total of it after we finally got home) got us out and about and exercising, so that we wouldn't feel guilty about our day of internet affixiation on the couch where no muscled spasmed for about 5 hours. We were thankful for the morning walk.
6pm, we leave the house and head into baltimore on the I-83. We had another serindipidous moment when I ordered the Nachos at the City Cafe, round the corner from the gig-to-be, and after 20 minutes of waiting the waitress sauntered out and happened to casually mention, "oh I'm sorry, but it seems that oddly enough our chef has run out of corn chips.". Run out? How can you run out of corn chips. Soy milk, corn chips, what next. I was getting all excited over the ideas of cheesy chips to whet my palate for some musical warblings.... Oh dear. So I chose the clam soup.
Oh.my.god...What a soup. It was deliciious. You see, if there were corn chips, I would have never had the experience of the delicious clam soup. There is always a reason for everything....
I feel like i'm in Darlinghurst Sydney in this Baltimore spot. The clientele were similar too. Check this out... Susan was setting up the PA in the book cafe, Melissa was setting up the merch. I discovered right next door that there was a piano bar. Mmmm, seemed like a more interesting spot with a full room to perform to, unlike the cafe that seemed void of humans, at least when we first arrived. I walked in and felt immediately intimidated by the onslaught of testosterone energy in the bar. All guys chatting, drinking beer. I could feel their eyes undressing me, and already i knew my skirt wasn't long enough for the moment. I chatted with the manager about playing there, "yeah, sweety, maybe next time you come through town", and headed out hoping my but didn't sway too much. Sitting back in the cafe getting ready to perform, I happen to overhear someone say that the bar next door was a gay guy hang out. How stupid I felt. Ha ha. Here i was worried about being oggled at by a bunch of men, when in fact they didn't care about my presence at all! They probably were wondering why I stepped in. Funny moment.
Crystal moment: meeting Lizette and Chris, two power-house women in partnership with Read Street Books, the quaintest book store I've ever visited. Three levels connected by a spiral metal staircase, and the top 2 floors for reading and flopping down with a good second hand book that they sell on copious shelves, this tiny book store has more nooks and crannies than Melissa's tour mobile.Stop press, Read Street Books will soon be a tour stop for travelling songwriters, and a home for our Baltimore Songsalive! songwriters showcase! Yay! Lizette is very keen to make this Cafe the spot for acoustic original music, after an hour of marketing brainstorming amongst the girls. We think it could blow up if the word gets out that this place caters to singer songwriters. They even have a futon and a shower for the traveller. Love that idea. Stage is a nice size, with an upright piano, and a natural breeze through the back gated door that avoids any need for air conditioning on balmy fall nights like tonight. I have this idea, to compile the Songwriters Guide to America, where I list all the best acoustic original gig spots that provide a clean bathroom, shower and a futon bed. This has to take the cake!
There wasn't much of a crowd, but there was lots of love. Tina Ward, a songwriter of the area who is playing tomorrow night at the cafe, happened to come by, and after i sang a few songs, then Melissa, then Susan (who really is so groovy and rhythmic, she's great), Tina got up too. She is like the Picasso of love songs. She takes the subject of love and splits it into all ways of seeing, like a good Cubist painting.
Lizette got excited. We motivated her about some branding ideas for the cafe, and with the music and fun, that she decided to make us all rum and cokes. What a nice way to enjoy singing songs of past loves, broken loves new loves and loving rum and coke. I think all of us sang of love tonight, with all our own take on the meaning of love and why love is love. More rum and coke. She bought 6 of my books at wholesale to sell to the local arts college and we parted with an awesome plan to reinvent the music hub at Read Street Books. Stay tuned at songsalive.org for more on that outcome.
Susan and her partner Kristen invited Melissa and I for a drink at the piano bar next door after our 3 hour round robin songwriter sharing show. Why not? I think I can take on the boys this time... Some dude was doing his best effort on a Frank Sinatra tune in the corner on the 1929 baby grand, and we all sipped drinks musing over the perfection of our evening. What a way to start the tour! Couldn't have been better.
Just before final call happened and house lights went up, a friendly clientele lost his friends and sat down at our table, introducing himself as a master of music calligraphy. I think he was on prosac, but we enjoyed our conversation until I couldn't see past my nose, and we all ventured out onto the pavement to bid goodbye to this evening, and onto another day.