Fiction School

Fiction School
Check out the podcast I host with two other writing professors

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Open Mic Tour 2012: Jody and Dave do the Weird States


After twelve years playing music in our living room, my partner Dave and I have blasted out on the road to play our songs for a wider audience—meaning someone besides our cats. Max and Fang show precious little appreciation for what we do, and even have the nerve to yowl in bitchy protest when we experiment with dissonant harmonies. We’ve been traveling for a week now, and have hit the following venues:

1)    College of the Redwoods, Crescent City, California: Played one song at the culmination of the Redwood Coast Writers Conference. It’s a little awkward singing a honky-tonk song in a library, but everyone was very supportive and sweet.


2)    Wild Goose Cafe & Bar, Ashland, Oregon: Had a great time playing with a small group of very accomplished singer-songwriters as well as a motley crew of poets displaying a wide range of mental health conditions. Check out the video of Michael Jackson Montgomery, country singer satirist who made up for somewhat primitive guitar skills with serious bravado. His showstopper? A song he claimed was scientifically proven to be the ideal pop country song; its only words were “ice cold beer and a pickup truck.” 

3)    Pub at the End of the Universe, Portland, Oregon: Um…wow. This place was dank, stinky, depressing and filthy, but we heard some talented, eclectic musicians. Also in the lineup: two jugglers and an autistic rapper. Awesome.

4)    Station Bistro, Auburn, Washington: This was a first; when we mentioned our tour, the enthusiastic host proceeded to interview us like we were on the Today Show, in spite of the fact that the place was virtually empty. Very surreal. There were literally five people there in addition to us: some young, adorable teen musicians, two aging hippie guys on electric guitar, and our host, Tim, who did some gospel tunes and then surprised us by reading a few poems in a British accent. Check out the video. Definitely memorable.

5)    Sean Kelly’s, Missoula, Montana: This Irish pub in downtown Missoula hosted a vibrant, well-attended open mic filled with wholesome, college-aged music lovers. In fact, despite showing up an hour early, we almost didn’t get to play because performing here is so popular. Our waitress told us the sign-up sheet goes up at 10 a.m. and fills by 10:15. Only by begging the host with a desperate story about traveling hundreds of miles just to be there were we able to secure a spot. Hooray to Mike Avery for his kindness! Highlights of this gig: a brother-sister band from North Carolina doing kind of a White Stripes thing with her on drums, him on guitar; this was the only other male-female duet we’ve seen so far—actually, the only chick we’ve seen perform at all! They were very hip, complete with ironic aviator sunglasses and hints of southern attitude. Another major perk of this venue: we had a long talk with a Choctaw-Swedish-Gypsy “minstrel” in his seventies who’s been playing Flamenco guitar for fifty-eight years. His favorite phrase? “I’m an asshole, not an idiot.”


6)    Zootown Brew: This spacious, well-lit gallery-turned-coffee shop became the location of our first full-on gig. When we called to see if they planned to host an open mic they said, “No, but you’re welcome to audition.” Voila! We played for a full hour to an almost empty room. Our audience included a couple watching YouTube videos, a guy with headphones on, and James, our very sweet and accommodating barista. Oh, and a guy in a bandanna we thought was drawn by our dulcet tones, but it turns out he just wanted to use the bathroom. Aw, the glamourous life of touring rock stars!

2 comments:

MOTHERLOVEBONE said...

Comment love. ;)

You guys are so awesome. I love that you are doing this. xo

Jody Gehrman said...

Miss you, K! I was just thinking about your motherlovebone identity the other day, and of your own cross-country adventure. We MUST have a beer soon!