...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Eighth Notes and a Pitcher of Beer

Being Chapter the 16th of the 2010 SXSW Haiku & BBQ Tour..a novella

Friday, March 26th
In the morning we take the liberty of brewing some of Lynn's Taylors of Harrogate tea. Yum. Now, that's a proper English tea. In the resulting heightened caffeine-fueled state I hunker down in my room and finalize some lyrics to a new song: "Comforting the Castaways". For the next album...

Andrew and Gary do some work on their computers. We line up the shower queue, we all get to freshen up, dress for the gig; and before we know it, it's time to hit the 405 Freeway heading for to Santa Monica where we are playing tonight, at our current favorite Los Angeles indie-rock venue: Trip .

I have a little gold-chain necklace which has developed a knot, and I begin to obsess over it in the truck. I seem to tangle it worse the more I labor over it. DAMMIT. We get to the venue. The guys go in. I keep working on the knot. It's rather like songwriting--untying strands of metaphors. Or storylines. Or melodies and hooks and riffs. There's got to be a beginning, middle, and an end. When it describes that arc, well, that's when it's done... I almost have it. As I ruminate over this concept/ chore the dusk thickens and I can't see the damned necklace anymore. I give up and work on a setlist for tonight's show. Gary comes out to the truck to tell me there are excellent sandwiches to be had inside and offers to order me one--thanks, man!

Shortly, I go in to eat my dinner. Gary was right. The sandwich is no joke--a freshly grilled pannini with turkey & pesto & cheese. Hell yeah. Good timing-- I was feeling small and weak, we didn't really eat a meal today.

The first act goes on. There are a few people there for them. The second act goes on--and more listeners arrive. My sister---the amazing and outrageously talented writer, Mim Eichler Rivas shows up! YAY! My very own sis!!! Strolling in soon after her are the wonderful, hilarious, and wise Uncle P, and our dear friend and colleague, Niall Fordyce, one of the few and far-flung guitarists who have played with True Margrit in recent years. Then a whole crew of Andrew's high school friends mustered via Facebook arrive. And then his friend Betsey, who he met at Berklee School of Music, also makes an entrance. And then a standup comic friend of Gary's walks in. YES, now it's a real party! And the bar continues filling up. I have a pitcher of Stella Artois from which vessel nobody else seems to be partaking...what the hell? C'mon, help me out, y'all! But I promptly forget about these libational issues--it's time for us to play! We get up and roar through our first few tunes. Hello Santa Monica! Hello Santa Claus! Merry March! Weeeeeee! We play a particularly snappy version of "Blazing Wheel". Yes. That's right! And then we execute a handful of other tunes with extra gusto. When we get to the spot in, "500 Years" where the meter switches over to 7/8 for a few bars, I see both Niall and Betsey from Berklee looking downright joyous. But then, there's nothing like odd meter for a nice rambunctious statement of fact--like: we could hang out always in drab old 4/4...OR NOT! AH HA!

All too soon, we are done playing and we drag our gear out to the street to tear it down & re-pack the truck. We chat with the whole motley posse and make a plan to meet for some grub at fairly nearby deli (for, it is now hours since the fancy sandwiches). Some of the party falls away, but a goodly portion are waiting for us when we make it to the restaurant. We are a bit slow arriving, what with dealing with our equipage. And though we hardly want to admit it, but of course we got lost on the way there. The sting of the mortification is softened by the joy of communing with family & friends, and is further ameliorated by the matzo ball soup (the balm of generations). A moment of peace.

And I sigh.

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