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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fazioli Friends and Bosom Buddies

As recounted in an earlier blog , I played an "Ironsong" (in the round) format show with Emily Bezar and LikeLove (aka Michelle Alexander) in February. We had such a magical night that we had to reprise the lineup. As it turns out, the amazing musician and piano technician maestro, Mark Skowronek, who was at the February show, tunes pianos at Piedmont Piano Company. He got us hooked up with those folks and we secured a night on their calendar of events for August. The deal is, they provide for their shows one of their grandest grands that happen to be in-house. Currently that is their ten foot FAZIOLI! Oh lord. Emily & I went over to the store a few weeks prior the show to check it out.
Thus, on Friday, August 3rd my anticipation was at fever-pitch to get my hands on the Fazioli and play tunes and to hear Emily & Michelle play theirs. The doors opened, our peeps sat down in the folding chairs, and Norm introduced us. We three performers scuttled out to the forest of pianos and each of uschoosing a different instrument to play a fanfare of multiple trills followed by G dom7 chord. And they're off! I had written down more ballads on my setlist than I played--but it was just so fun to play "Syllable" and piano-stompers of that ilk on that beast. Nonetheless, I debuted the completed version (now with a chorus/title) of the previously untitled lament, "Escape Velocity". Plus, I played "Serious Trash" with its new ridiculously catchy (if I say so myself) chorus riff. I think I'm done changing it--this being the third version and final, dammit, version. Amongst her dreamy dreamy adventure-song offerings, Emily had two brand-new songs to share-- both gorgeous & haunting--and as Michelle pointed out, they're keepers. Michelle played her madly spare spin on The Beatles tune "I will", her indescribably hilarious take on, "Summertime", and a selection of her own post-pop gems. So, so good, y'all. Seriously. We had a little wine & cupcake-fueled reception after the musical proceedings; a companionable mingling, meeting, and chatting ensued. Heather Campbell had arrived at the event with a birthday cake for me (for yes, this was indeed my birthday show!) but she deemed it impolitic, or at least impractical, to undertake its presentation in the somewhat formal surroundings of the Piedmont Piano showroom. She had taken it back to the car. For later. We hastened back to the house for a post-reception after-party and Heather brought out her masterpiece be-decked with live lit sparklers: a chocolate cake in the shape of two boobs with fresh raspberry nipples, in honor of my transition into a brave new decade--and in reference to the now legendary breast-festooned cake that was served ten years ago at Chelsea's birthday party wherein Sarah and I met (in a sidebar of destiny, it's possible that our roommate David Gremard who worked at San Francisco's sexy cake bakery ten years ago when we didn't know him yet, was the actual cake decorator--whoa). As all of Heather's cakes are (and I've had the good fortune to have eaten more than a score of them), it was mind-bendingly rich & scrumptious. As we sat on the patio pleasantly conversing, a raspberry nipple blushed warmly in the tealights, looking as though it were still in a heightened state from playing the Fazioli. I know I was.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fizzleshcwick and other gigs

Hi Gremlins, Pacers, and Dusters. Your disappointingly disappearing docent has returned. So now I can welcome y'all back to the museum of True Margrit. Where, you might ask, was I? While a few days went by on earth, I was transformed and transported into an alternate reality wherein I lived several lifetimes on the dread planet Fizzleshcwick.

Shall I relate?

First off, the sky is yellow there. Not a golden-hour, honeyed warm hue, nor a mustard-esque appetizing ochre...nope. Each day, the overarching dome has a drab uriney tinge from the Yellow Giant sun of their solar system, which casts its malign pessimism upon all proceedings. The unfortunate general populous of the planet toil ceaselessly under this pulsating orb, cracking rocks for the Great Cricket Overlord (and his inner circle) to make building materials for underground insect pleasure palaces. I fomented a workers' rebellion, was incarcerated, escaped, and fomented and fomented again. Decades decanted into the carafe of time. I like to think I did a little to help the good people of Fizzleschwick who now have socialized medicine, government subsidized arts programs, free university educations for all, and they're as happy as clams. Well, in truth, they're happier, as clams are pretty emotion-neutral.

And then it was late March 2012 on Earth in the Bay Area--in which there were two True Margrit gigs. The first was actually a solo gig for me, appearing with Maurice Tani & Corry Dodson at Dolores Park Cafe and we played an "Ironsong" songwriters-in-the-round format. Boy howdy! Those two sure can sing. Check out their tunes right quick, y'all.

The second March gig was with the full band! Andrew came down from Tacoma, we rehearsed in the new studio, learning the new tune, "Love on the Moon", and then we rocked out at Red Devil Lounge. It was Gary's birthday and it was superfun. Also playing were too many bands to enumerate since it was one of those Afton shows (a not-local promoter who books bills with a multiplicity of local bands). One of the other bands was Sit Kitty Sit whom we love. Here's their video of "Purge" that Sarah directed!!! (not to mention, I recorded that track at my studio--Absolutely True Sound . Yes!

I took April off to have an existential crisis. Then in May, I debuted, "Serious Trash" (an ode to the island of plastic debris in the Pacific) for Piano Adventure Night at Monarch in San Francisco. Sit Kitty Sit organized and played--and Major Powers & the Lo Fi Symphony (so AWESOME!!!!), and The John Brothers Piano Company, and Domonique Leone.WHOA! What a night!

Then it was June in which I appeared at Dolores Park Cafe with Kay Ashley & Gary Garrett. We opted to play two rounds of short sets, but within those confines, much music was had by all. Gary crooned in the Don McLean-esque family tree of folkpop. Kay strummed excellent guitar into a sitar-like hypnotic groove and vocalized like a nightingale siren. And I played the alpha version of an untitled new sorrowful song even though the chorus was incomplete. Nobody fomented a rebellion over it. I knew I had lifetimes to complete it. Look what happened in early March.