There is a little bar in Issaquah, WA called the Rolling Log. I had never heard of it, mainly because Issaquah is to the east of me and I normally head west, toward Seattle, when I’m looking for fun.
A friend of mine whom I play poker with on Monday nights, said I should come out on Sunday nights for Open Mic Night. Last night, I did just that.
He is a drummer, so we picked a couple songs we both knew (Smells Like Teen Spirit and Enter Sandman) and I set up my equipment. I have this little Peavey Studio Pro amp – a 60W single speaker affair – that I lugged out there along with my Ibanez guitar. I’ve owned both for about a decade now, but I’ve never played them in public so I was curious how it would go.
It was a very fun disaster and learning experience.
When I arrived and opened my guitar’s gig bag, I found that the B string was busted. Not a huge deal, I could still play, but the guitar felt very weird without it. I play several times a week – hard – and almost never break strings. Next time I’ll bring a back-up set, though.
When I went to set up, I was very worried that my amp wouldn’t be able to fill the bar with enough sound, so I turned everything up to 11 and hoped for the best. After SLTS the sound guy told me to turn it down a bunch, because the PA couldn’t keep up with it. Oops!
During the first song, they had put the mic stand right next to the PA speaker. All I could hear was my own blaring voice in one ear when I was singing and when I wasn’t, the deafening screech of feedback. But, since my amp was turned up so loud, no one was able to hear me fumble some of the lyrics. I guess it worked out.
For Enter Sandman, we turned down the guitar amp and moved the mic stand over between the bass and guitar amps. Now all I could hear was loud bass – from a player that didn’t really know the song we were playing. Awesome! I sang loud through the first verse, because I couldn’t hear myself. Then the sound guy ran up and turned my mic on. He had turned it off when he moved it and I didn’t realize, because I didn’t check, I just started playing. Now I could hear myself a little, but I didn’t care. Its almost better if I can’t hear the monitors, sometimes. I get to distracted listening to my own voice – like I did on Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Anyway, I was nervous, played too fast of a tempo for both songs, fucked up a bunch of lyrics and missed a few notes on the guitar – but no one really seemed to notice, or care. Got to love Open Mic night, expectations are always low :)