The Gainesville End, Day 2

I didn’t bother writing notes for this return to my home Open Mic. So lucky you, it might be a shorter post! Albert and Julianne returned with another friend, Ashley, in tow, providing me no shortage of nervousness. Tom opened the night with a set of
bawdy dark humour jokes. With the realization that he might be a clown, he announced a hiatus on his “No clowns, jugglers, or mimes” rule, and with the Reverend Angel Dust missing for a consecutive week, a trumpet toting man with all the appearance of a long and trying life permanently hunching his back made his way up to the stage to open. And oh, did he surprise all of us. Eric played us a rendition of Under the Boardwalk interspersed with his own absolutely hilarious drug and sex filled lyrics – all delivered a capella with a crochety seriousness in a brilliant use of the apparent dissonance of his look and soul. Ashley asked me if I was as good as this guy, and I had to admit that, no, in fact, I was not.

The stunners continued as Tom called me up next. I’d never played before 11.30 before and this caught me entirely off guard. Add on the silly nerves, a half formed set list, and an last minute decided new song opener – I flubbed my Aussie song entirely. I couldn’t remember the lyrics after the first chorus, tried to keep going, continued to come up blank, and essentially melted at the post. I haven’t played it since, and I wonder if I should keep it? And if so, if I should rework it entirely. I think this moment I realized that my creativity dried up over the past months as I strive too hard to make songs demanding and complex. My lyrics remain natural but the chord structures and melodies emerge contrived. Also, I’m probably too damn happy to be particularly inspired.

So I had to follow with somethings strong – Stamsund. My confidence renewed by this, I played my cover of Collide while large patches of people filed out. I don’t know if my song choice, performance or the show in general prompted this, but the message I received at the time read “You’re not good enough to keep us around.” My performance, especially my falsetto, suffered. I couldn’t go out on this note. Tom called for an encore, and I played my Squirrel Song, safe with the assistance of audience participation.

Wahoo sang a few oldies once again while Albert and Ashley threw quizzical looks in my direction (I did not hazard a glance to my right lest I fall into a fit of staring admiration). Dave performed his hand dancing in front of a projected purple background, and with Chase’s audible appreciation of the beautiful silhouette’s created, he performed an encore Bad Romance in profile. The shadows entranced for but a little time, as I preferred the communication he achieved with facial expressions and the visual flourishes intended for face on viewing.

As tradition seems to be, Chase followed his brother with his standard not-quite-karaoke, joined by his goth teen twig of a daughter for his final numbers. His daughter kept the stage for a painfully nervous recitation of, well, a 14 year old’s poetry. It took me back to a time reading my own particularly poor verse at Oak Hall Assembly years ago. I think I called that poem Rain. At any rate let us return to the show. Which went outside. __, well known as “the helicopter guy” shared his passion for flying remote control helicopters with rotary speeds that might literally take one’s head off. I watched safely behind Albert’s six foot plus frame.

And finally, the most bizarre part of the night. Chase’s daughter wrestling Mystic Mike on stage. Apparently they hate and love each other intensely and wanted to settle something. Chase decided to volunteer this feud for our “entertainment”, making odd bets on the outcome while commenting on his own parenting prowess. Even me, veteran of so many shows, found this intensely disturbing. So we watched, but watched each other’s faces more keenly for reaction cues, surreptitiously trying to glean the appropriate comportment from each other and upon realizing that no one knew quite how to take it, settling on utter confusion.

Wesson arrived just before the show ended, in time to start a trademark wandering, ear-splittingly loud performance. Maybe my allergic reaction to Florida (and I have one) made my sensitive lobes that much more delicate. I couldn’t remain within as my tablemates watched in that “is-this-for-real” awe particular to Wesson’s performances. On return we turned to, and the rulers of string theory decreed me the winner once again. I used a dollar of it for tea this night, and couldn’t fathom how I could possibly finish off the remaining $49.

Earnings: $25.00 tab, 15 minutes
Song of the Day: Stamsund – Terrence Ho

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