Monday, March 13, 2006

The Velvet Wonderland weekend in DC

So Saturday night, at the Velvet Lounge in DC, Analog Jetpack kicks off with what is arguably our lightest (yet pleasing) song, Make It Plane, and the most uncanny of forces caused this mellow number to break the E-string on Dan's bass. Oh, snap.

Broken bass strings are the most rare of rock tragedies, in order with a club fire consuming Great White and crowd. But strangely enough, Dan was prepared. He had the odd intuition to bring extra strings that night.

In jumping on and off stage, however, he drove nearly 180 foot-pounds of force into a two-inch region of his skull by uniting it with the low-hanging speaker cabinet. As I stomped a harmonica field holler with Robby on the kick, Dan stumbled for a few moments and considered passing out. Robby and I move on to ragtime guitar over an impromptu electronica beat, unaware of Dan's plight.

As the bass-string change is dragging on unsuccessfully, Dan rips out the new string and tells Robby and I to just go on. He's just going to play the set with three strings and an octave pedal to hit the low notes.

And he does. The dude played the set flawlessly without an E-string. That's like playing a bassline without a left hand on the piano, or some really hard metaphor like that. I'm strapped for a comparison. Just consider the fact that he's transposing all the notes he usually plays on the E-string to the octaves on the other strings, and you have plainly that Dan Ryan is a genius.

This is fortunate, for it matches Robby Sahm's genius on drums, and my former title of Mac Genius at the Apple Store.

The gig was a trip, lots of energy and fire despite the technical/physiological difficulties. The next night we played at the Wonderland Bar in Columbia Heights, which is also a very cool place. This gig was more laid back, played acoustic with Dan on upright, Robby on kick/hihat/snare and me on jumbo Guild and harmonica. We rocked some alt-country mixed in with our Grammy-assaulting album set.

Mad love to Michael Jantz, who books the place and played before us, for telling us, "It doesn't matter how many people you bring! And you can play whatever you want! That's the best thing about this place - it doesn't f..cking matter!!"

Amen to that.

Keep listening, because our album is going to be awesome. I say that unreservedly.

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