I’m writing by light of the Christmas tree while my husband is in Astoria at band practice. A lot of good things have happened this week, but like any good busy week, it’s left me exhausted…hence why I am happily snuggled under the afghan my mom made us.
Anyway, since our final gig of the year is coming up next weekend, I thought I’d discuss what makes this gig a little different from our previous shows. Instead of our usual loud and boisterous antics, we’re doing an all-acoustic set. We retooled a bunch of old CTA favorites, along with some newer stuff, for this. Sometimes, it’s proven really easy and been a fairly seamless transition. I’ll be honest, though: most of it has been quite the opposite! Most of our stuff sounds wildly different without amps and effects, and so we have had to accommodate accordingly. As much of a pain it has been at times, it has made us a better band and helped reinforce the idea that we should be thinking critically about how we play, how we interpret the work, and the content itself.
Here are some reasons why I think it’s a good idea to do something like this if you’re a musician:
1. You can’t hide. …behind effects and stuff, that is! You might have some light reverb or delay glossing your sound a little, but that’s it! It’s a great opportunity to brush those chops up and work on your precision as a player.
2. Dynamics. An acoustic set requires different dynamics than a plugged-in set, just as dynamic requirements vary from genre to genre and venue to venue. If you’re not good with volume control, now is the time to get good.
3. Percussion. As the drummer of the band, I had to condense drum parts that usually use 8 pieces all the way down onto the goatskin of my djembe. Again – an opportunity to serve the music better was made, and I was remind of just how many sounds you can make with only your hands and the skin of a single drum.
4. Beginnings and endings. For those of you planning to attend, you’ll see that some of the songs will begin or end a little differently than we normally do them. Sometimes, screaming opening arpeggios don’t translate well to a mellow acoustic guitar!
5. General Critical Thinking. Retooling and reimagining a song will force you to be honest with yourself on what works and what simply does not. Simple.
All of these things, overall, make someone a better musician. A few projects ago, we used to play several different versions of songs, just to see what version would really bring out the best in the song. It was one of the most important things I learned from that project, and it makes me happy that we decided to implement it in this project.
Lastly, all of the information is on the flier up top, and it was designed, as usual, by Christina! We hope to see you there, one last time, before what promises to be a crazy 2016!