Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Retrospective

2017 Retrospective

We had a busy year in 2017. Here are some of our high points:

Year in recap:

  • We played 15 shows
  • We released our debut LP, into the desert
  • We released our debut music video, "No One Like You".
  • We did a livestream video concert where we played some of our favorite covers at Rock Canyon Studios.
  • We lost Nate. But we now have the talented Dean.
  • We started offering lighting at our mobile party gigs
  • We have had two professional photo shoots.
  • We auditioned and became part of the Club 90 rotation
  • We reintroduced keys into our set.
  • We've come a long way since we started in 2013, and it's been fun every step of the way. We put out a lot of media at the beginning of the year, but we were devastated once we lost Nate. It took a bit to get the wheels turning again with our new guitarist Dean, but now we're better than ever, ready to tackle 2018.

What's on the horizon?

We've dedicated the past year and a half to compiling a great cover set-list, and to building our brand as a top notch cover band. While we're going to continue learning more covers, we're going to focus on writing more original content, and defining our sound. We are also going to be focusing on increasing keyboard presence and back up vocals. Expect great things!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

YPO Gold Christmas party at Outfitter's Cabin in Park City

One of Mark's pictures
We were approached by Howard a few months ago to play at his annual YPO Gold Christmas party. We've played a few events for him, so we were eager to play another one.

This was a formal event, where the participants were wearing tuxedos. We were told to wear formal/casual. We decided to be matching, so we all wore black shirts, black pants, black shoes, and red ties. Aaron joked that we looked like the mafia. I countered that black is sleek, white shirts would make us look like we're going to church, and red is a Christmas color.

A picture I took while I had a break
This cabin was kind of hard to find on GPS, but we all made it up there. It was an elegant and charming cabin that sat on top of a big valley, with a beautiful view. We were also fortunate enough not to have any snow while driving there.

This was our third time playing live with Dean, and the first time we played a lot of these songs. We were hired to play for 5 hours, so we practiced all of our material, just in case. In the past, we've mostly been ambiance/background music for Howard's parties, but this time, we had people dancing, so we mostly stuck with our dance songs, and mostly oldies and 80's stuff.

We were fed dinner, and it was fantastic! Several types of gourmet salads, fish, steak, potatoes, and delicious deserts!

One of the GoPro sills
I'm really glad that we started doing lighting at our shows, because we were on the porch, and there were only a couple of dim lanterns out there. I was excited because I had purchased a third light stand, to try and get a "halo" effect by placing it behind us. I wasn't expecting there to be a dance floor, so I didn't bring my derby disco lights.

For the past 40 shows, we've made it a priority to have at least one photo from each show. This night was tricky, because usually we have friends or family come and take pictures of us. I set up my GoPro to get stills, and Mark and I took some photos while we had large breaks on songs.

Overall, it was a great event and we had a lot of fun.

Monday, November 6, 2017

A weekend at Club 90

GoPro view from behind the band on stage
We played Club 90 11/3-11/4. Like always, it was awesome! There was a good turnout, and lots of people were dancing. This gig was special because it's the first time we integrated keyboards since we've recruited Mark. That means I got to play bass! It was pretty fun.

Nate drove across the country to fill in for Dean, because Dean was attending a wedding on the East Coast. It was good to see Nate again and perform with him. He still had his chops and it's like we never had a 5 month break playing with him. Club 90 has upgraded their lighting; and it was pretty awesome!
We live streamed both shows; both trying to capture the crowd and the band. We had quite a bit of interaction on them. The audio quality isn't the best, so I took them down afterwards, but it's kinda fun; it allows our international audience be part of the show.

Enjoy some of my favorite pics from the show!

Special thanks to Kirsten Fager, who always takes such amazing photos!

It was good to perform with Nate again!

Allison having a good time!

Victor the sound and lighting wizard!

Mark and his Korg Kronos

Me playing a Rick.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween Party DJ Gig

Last year, we had a great time playing at a Halloween house party in Sandy. This year, Mark and Dean were out of town, and we weren't able to play the party as a band when they requested. Aaron and I offered DJ services for their party and they accepted. In addition to playing music, and lighting, we did karaoke as well.

Aaron dressed up as Link from the Zelda game, and I dressed up as a lion. (My wife and I were the Lion and the Lamb)

We had a good time. Although, lots of people were dancing and singing, this crowd reacted better when we played as a full live band. They want us back next year, but the whole band. We also met some people at the party who are looking for a band for upcoming parties.

We had such a success, we decided that we might do more DJ gigs when they present themselves.
Aaron with the whole sound and lighting rig
Me with the whole rig.

The backyard where we played last year
They had some delicious food, including this head made of prosciutto 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

We're incorporating keyboards again!

Once upon a time, I used to play guitar and keyboard in the band. Then one day, I just got sick of hauling my keyboard and guitar rig to every rehearsal and gig. Our show at Wasatch Musician was the last time I played keys at a gig. It helped give a unique edge to some songs, by using guitars to fill in keyboard parts. Such as the beginning part of "Don't Stop Believing". We're pretty happy with how it turned out.

While we were satisfied with filling in the keyboard parts with two guitars, every once in a while we were reminiscent of how awesome keyboards were in certain parts. We decided against getting a full-time keyboardist in the band, because having more than 4 instruments in a rock band, clutters the sound.
 Recently, we've been playing a lot of modern pop and 80's songs, and Mark has decided to step up and start playing keys. While Mark is a fantastic bassist, he identifies more as keyboardist. So I'll be doing bass, while Mark plays keyboard on some songs.

We'll be introducing keyboard next weekend at our weekend set at Club 90. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Wedding Reception at The Leonardo

We had the opportunity to play at a wedding reception at the popular museum, The Leonardo. We were not only excited to be playing at one of the nicest venues in Salt Lake City, but the museum's Event Planner said that if she liked us, she'd suggest us for future weddings and events at the museum.


Dean really stepped up for this gig. He's still getting up to speed, and he had to learn a lot of material for this gig, and he nailed it! While, we knew all the songs, it was essential to practice with Dean to be able to jive with him.
We learned a few new wedding appropriate songs. The bride and groom requested that we play "I Was Made For Loving You" by Tori Kelly feat. Ed Sheeran. We made an acoustic version of  "All of Me" by John Legend for slow dancing. Also some other love themed dance songs, "Brass in Pocket" by Pretenders, "Lights" by Journey, "Sugar" by Maroon 5, and "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Grand Funk Railroad.
We got the idea of incorporating lights into our shows. Luckily t
here's dozens of videos on YouTube, and my friend Tyler gave me lots of advice and lent me some lights. I'll discuss more details about what we did for lighting in another blog post. But, the lighting was essential to our success.

The Show

Congrats to Kristy & Steve!
The Leonardo has a large event center on the top floor. We setup early in the afternoon, because the room was going to be used for the actual ceremony as well as the reception. Aaron's cousins, the Ohumukini Twins, offered to be our sound engineers and they did a fantastic job. We were given the entire auditorium as our "green room". A room were we could put our cases, and eat our delicious catered spaghetti meal.
The audience was very kind, lively, and receptive. It was one of the most energetic crowds we've performed to. It was awesome to see all the colorful lights swirling over all of them. One of the guests asked to sing a Backstreet Boys song. The whole crowd loved it!
 The bride and groom afterward shook our hands and told us that they loved us.


It was an awesome show, we had fun, the guests had fun, and the event coordinator, Emily said that we definitely made her list for future performances. We also were able to get a 5-star review on GigSalad! Thanks to Aaron's mom, Kirsten for taking some awesome pictures! More of them here.

The Ohumukini Twins

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Utah State Fair 2017

This was our second time performing at the Utah State Fair; we previously played there in 2015. Last time was our last show with Ryan, the previous bassist. This year was Dean's first show with us. He's only been living in Salt Lake for 3 months, and he's already playing his first gig!

Growing up, one of my neighbors played at the State Fair every year, and he made it sound like it was the dream gig; the most high profile gig that any musician could aspire to get.

With that perception in mind, we were disappointed in 2015.  It was on a Wednesday night at 9pm, and we were performing to a nearly empty crowd. We were playing for free. Parking was
$10 for each vehicle, and we had to pay for our family members. And we received no food vouchers. It felt like pay-to-play, as we lost money playing that show.

This time around, it was a little better. We got paid, a modest amount. Almost enough to cover the cost of parking, and bringing in family members. Although it was a weekend, and there were quite a few people who watched us, it still wasn't a great turn-out. Probably because of the late hour, and Saturday is always busier than a Friday.

We were only given one delivery pass, so we met in the parking lot of a nearby grocery store, and crammed as much equipment as we could into Aaron's truck. The rest of us carried the rest of our gear from the parking lot. We got to the stage early, so we wandered a bit until it was our turn to get setup. The band before us was a Beatles Tribute band, made up of some older gentleman with some really cool hippie apparel. While they put on a great show and had every right to feel like a rockstar afterwards, they immediately left the stage to go mingle with friends and family, leaving all their gear on stage. We're only given 30 minutes for them to take down, for us to setup, and soundcheck. Which isn't much time at all. After a few minutes, it was apparent that taking their equipment down was the furthest thing from their mind. I had to wade through the adoring fans and ask each one of them individually to please take their gear off the stage. They seemed a little annoyed, but they did it. I think it was lack of gigging experience, not blatant rudeness.

Their delayed take down, made our setup a little more frantic, but we were able to get started and finish on time. I recorded a FB Livestream on my phone on a tripod. It turned out better than expected. We had quite a few viewers, and interactions. We also got some awesome pictures.

Overall, it was a good show. It was a good motivator for Dean to have a gig to get ready for. Mark assured us that Saturday during the day is much better. It still rubs me the wrong way how stringent they are with performers, they ask you to play for free or at a reduced rate, and then they try to get all the money they can out of you.