Last Friday’s gig at the RAW Artists Showcase was one of those nights that you remember why you pour blood, sweat and tears into your art for the other 364 days of the year. We got to mingle and meet other musicians, fine artists, special effects makeup artists, photographers and dancers, and all support each other in showcasing what we do best. It’s everything Hank and I want to do with our music and our passion – smash it on stage and help other artists do the same while we’re at it.
For the past few days, several friends had been asking me ‘are you excited?’ and the most I could muster was a ‘yeah, sure’. To be honest, I was more stressed than anything else. We’d lost our primary guitarist to a world tour a couple of weeks beforehand (can’t really compete with that) and were subbing back in our guitarist friend, Sean Chris, with only two rehearsals. We had to set up merch. We had to do a video interview and get photos taken. Our band had to get there by 6pm so we could sound check. At some point, I was hoping to warm up my voice and my saxophone so I didn’t croak or squeak in the middle of a song, and get dinner too. Being excited wasn’t really allowed within the schedule.
However, walking into the Cutting Room and seeing the epic guitar light fixture on the ceiling, and the huge stage with the RAW logo behind it, I got excited. All the details would work themselves out, and we’ve been doing this indie band thing for long enough to be able to roll with the punches when things (inevitably) go wrong. Such as the drummer getting stuck on the way to the gig and not arriving until 7:30pm, losing us our sound check. Whoops.
Hank and I arrived at 4pm, having legged it out of work early to be there for the band’s ‘official’ call time for video interviews, photo shoots and the venue walk through. Doing my makeup in the office bathroom before I left was an amusing experience – all my coworkers and bosses are very supportive of my career, but putting on a bright blue sequinned tank top and all the eyeshadow my lids could take at 2pm was a surreal feeling. Once we were there, everything went smoothly (other than the lack of sound check, but hey – this ain’t our first rodeo) and we even had time to mingle with the lovely friends and Coyote fans who had turned up, dressed to the nines, for this special night.
Before we knew it, our turn was up. The great thing – no, the best thing – about being a performer is that when you get on stage, or in front of the camera, you have to let everything else go. To be fully present in the moment of performance is what makes a show exciting for the audience and for you, and for that brief period of time, nothing else matters. It’s something I am striving to do in every moment of my life, but for now, I know I can find that feeling on stage.
The set was a brief 20 minutes, but it felt like we truly made our mark in that time. The audience were loving the fast-paced, bluesy opening number (Bettin’ Dirty Water) followed up by our classic rock tune Carefree Livin’. As always, alto sax genius Sergio killed it on the solos (and won the award for best shirt), and having Sean Chris back on lead guitar was awesome.
We then turned up the intensity, but turned the tempo waaay down with our blues track Please Let Me Know. It was a risky move, perhaps, to change it up so drastically in the middle of a short set, but our drummer Yahoteh and bassist Darren absolutely nailed the tempo and the vibe, so we never lost energy. We rounded out the set with our anthem, Music Every Day, and our amazing trumpet player Richie literally blew us away with his virtuoso solo to finish the song.
Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us that night, especially Spencer Morin and Sarah Engelke for killing it on the merch table, and Jane Stein for the rockin’ photos. All the staff and crew at RAW Artists were a delight to work with, especially the sound engineer who worked wonders so we could hear and be heard, and the show director Faith Verrill, who ran the night with a level of calm organization that was impressive to experience. We’re psyched to keep collaborating with RAW Artists, so look out for exciting announcements in the future of the next city we’ll be coming to!
I agree 100% w Rachel. It was a lot of amazing people that came together to make the show happen. The same goes for the event and everyone connected with it. And yeah, like Rach, I was way to stressed to be excited…until we dropped the first note. Then we were in the groove that we work so hard to be in “effortlessley”. But the truth is, those moments where we are up there doing what we do best, are why we do this. There is truly, nothing like it. – Hank