Events2019-04-07Fine Grind Coffee

Fine Grind Coffee



Something was going on with the sound in the beggining of this set. There was a definite clipping going on with the masterbilt-zenith.

This continued through fly-away, where I reset the guitar. This is unfortunate because this performance is high quality for this era. These performances are not forgettable despite the clipping as there is a lot of good stuff going on.


The masterbilt-zenith has had an ongoing battery issue. The guitar seems to drain through its 9-Volt in an unreasonable amount of time. I have been changing it out at the beginning of each set just to be sure I do not run into any problems.

I thought my issues with the guitar in the mix were actually being caused by a faulty battery, although I had just replaced it before the set. This is why the first few recordings have a clip on the guitar.

Once I noticed (probably during black-and-blues), I started to adjust the mix back to a reasonable level. I have struggled to do this with the onboard volume pots.


There were no participants at this Open Mic, so it turned into a solo set. The shop was pretty empty, however the clientele was very much interested in listening to the music. It was by far the most polite and receptive audience I have ever played for at the Fine Grind.

This factor largely influenced my setlist, and my performance.


When an event is on the horizon I inevitably must switch into 'rehearsal mode'. This practice differs from some other practice variants ('songwriting mode', 'jam mode', 'noodle mode', 'cover mode', 'learning mode').

The defining characteristic of practice in 'rehearsal mode' is recording. If you are not recording you are not in 'rehearsal mode'. If a song has not been rehearsed (recorded all the way through), it cannot be performed.

Sometimes spontaneity calls for this rule to be bent. Perhaps for a brand new song, or a cover which has not a struggle to learn.

This setlist is interesting because only 4 songs rehearsed were performed:

  1. stormy-window
  2. casey-jones
  3. tomorrow-might-be-monday
  4. spike-drivers-blues

I also only rehearsed 9 songs for this performance expecting to play at least double that amount. This along with the crowd's unique attention and scarcity created an interesting set.

Each song had to be delicately chosen for that specific moment. Songs like y-control, electric-slide, boredom, lonesome-whistle, modern-age require a specific energy to work. With the crowd so attentive these songs worked very nicely together. When the songs work nicely together, and feel good in the room, then the performance is good.

The thing I realize as I write this is that this is an essential factor to developing a performance. Some songs like y-control, will just not get the same amount of performances as a song something more versatile like casey-jones. To develop a song like y-control, it needs to be given a chance.

If a setlist is predetermined then the song will almost certainly get the wrong position, and fail. Setlists also create an unnecessary requirement that the songs on the list must be played. As Bill Kreitzman says, 'The situation is the boss'. There are too many factors that play into performance to predetermine setlists.

This setlist was exceptional.

It not only contained two well placed first performances:

  • boredom
  • electric-slide

It also contained two well placed first performances in about a year:

  • fly-away
  • lets-get-deserted
  • lonesome-whistle


In my experience as Open Mic host at The Fine Grind, I found there is about a 50/50 shot that no one will show up. In this case, the event essentially turns into a solo set.

Since the crowd was both sparse and attentive, I was putting a lot into my performance. It required a delicate balance of all elements. I was specific attention to my dynamics, and tonality.

I found myself taking the time to establish a good union between my internal tempo and my physical performance. I found myself adjusting to factors in the room. I found myself adjusting around my mistakes to keep the performance going smoothly. I found myself taking lots of risks.

There are some really great versions of songs here:

  • wander-with-me
  • black-rose

But honestly, almost all of them are at the top of existing recordings.