Fall Back Fest 2019

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Fiesta Red, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,903
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    Fall Back Fest (Part I)

    This is a long read, so please be patient and see it through to the end...I don’t know if there’s a payoff, but...

    A friendly acquaintance of mine throws a little invitation-only music festival on his rural property every year on the day before we set our clocks back one hour; it’s had varying degrees of success in the four years he’s hosted it, but has been something I’ve looked forward to—especially for the last two years.

    This is truly a DIY festival...the first two years, he had power problems—he overloaded his circuit and threw breakers in the middle of sets...it’s also BYO—chairs, food, beverage, etc. He set up a few gas grills for folks to make brats, burgers and hotdogs, and we communally brought sides and condiments.

    Somebody accused him of throwing this festival just so he’d never have to buy mustard, since the leftovers get left with him. He’s a bachelor, so there may be some truth to that statement.

    A huge bonfire off to one edge of the property adds a bit more ambience...

    In 2018, he invited me to put together a band and play a set. I volunteered my daughter to play a small acoustic set between two of the electric bands. He assured me he’d fixed the electrical power issues (and he had).

    My daughter’s set went off pretty well; it was one of the largest crowds she’d played to in her personal performing “history” (around 150-175 people). She did a couple of songs solo (acoustic and vocals), one ukulele & vocals tune, one song with an electric slide player accompaniment and a final song of her and I—she on acoustic and me on harmonica...half of her set was originals she’d written herself!

    I put together a band from the Panther City Syndicate—our own little “Wrecking Crew” of players we know and/or have played with over the years. I invited a bassist/vocalist and a guitarist I’d worked with for a couple of other projects in times past, and my usual drummer, who I’ve played with for almost 20 years.

    We put together a set list I wasn’t completely happy with—a mixture of originals (which made me happy) and covers (mixed emotions). We were playing to the strengths of each musician in the group. The bassist was/is the most talented and capable of all of us, especially on vocals, but he chose music that I (generally) haven’t played before and (probably) won’t play again, unless he and I formed a band, which wouldn’t work long-term. So we rehearsed a half-dozen times (something else I generally don’t do) and were set to set the stage on fire.

    Maybe some Higher Power didn’t want us to set the stage on fire, because in the middle of our 4th song (12-song set), I felt a raindrop on my arm. I glanced at the other guitarist, who looked at the sky and started shaking his head...we cut the last verse off the song, said thank you and rushed to strip our equipment (and the PA, which belonged to the Host of the Festival) off the stage, just in time for the heavens to open up and drench us completely...thankfully, no equipment was damaged

    Half of my band, plus my daughter’s accompanist reconvened at my house for coffee and a half-acoustic/half-electric jam as the storm raged on through the night.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  2. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,903
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    Fall Back Fest (Part II)

    This year, he asked me and my daughter again, this time giving her a full set and making me the headliner—which was strange, because his own band was playing (as they had every year prior) and they usually headlined.

    I agreed to perform wholeheartedly.

    This time, my daughter assembled a group from the Panther City Syndicate with a harmony vocalist/fiddle player, a second harmony vocalist, my drummer and the same electric accompaniment as the previous year (he’s a close family friend and an excellent guitar tech). She wisely chose my drummer to be her Musical Director, due to his wealth of knowledge and experience, and the fact that he’s a diplomatic dictator who can get people to work together quickly.

    She called her group Sheena and the Sideshow...(her name is not Sheena; she got that from the Ramones song). She decided that, rather than trying to find space within each song for every single person, she’d have the core group start off and have added vocalists and instrumentalists come on and off stage for their particular songs.


    Her group started off with a lyrically-sanitized and funkified version of Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl”, took a hard left turn to Johnny and June’s “Jackson” (with me providing the male vocals), then a fun version of Hank Williams’s “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do”...an a cappella version of “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” (the traditional song most famously heard in the “O Brother Where Art Thou” film) with her two harmony vocalists was followed by the core band slamming through a ripping version of the Artic Monkeys’ “Old Yellow Bricks”...

    ^My daughter in the middle, with the other members of her singing group “Rift Valley Fever”...they sang “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” in the middle of the Sheena & the Sideshow set.

    They looked and—more importantly—sounded great. Everyone (audience and musicians alike) agreed that this group could play gigs and easily draw a crowd...when my daughter returns from Peru (doing missionary work from January to March) she said she’d consider it again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
    boris bubbanov and nojazzhere like this.
  3. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,903
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    Fall Back Fest (Part III)

    When we were invited to play for the 2019 festival, my drummer and I considered reuniting the guys we’d played with the previous year...however, I didn’t have the time or inclination to rehearse a lot, or to learn any new songs, or play anything I didn’t *really* want to play, so we thought about recruiting another bassist or guitarist who would be capable of sitting in on our normal set list with minimal rehearsal.

    Several years ago, our original bassist (who moved over to guitar after a few firings in that position) had a stroke; he regained most of his function, but his timing was gone. The replacement bassist (original bassist’s brother-in-law) kinda wandered off...therefore, we’ve mostly recorded (at the fantabulous Shotgun Studios in Arlington, Texas) and continued to perform (live) together with other people out of the Panther City Syndicate, albeit usually not under the “Screamin’ Armadillos” moniker.

    I wanted to play our songs and the obscure covers we enjoy playing...songs that we generally don’t have to rehearse extensively, because we’ve played them so often over the years. There were one or two guys who were able capable of doing this, but they weren’t available.

    We got the idea to simplify the arrangements of our songs and do a Black Keys/White Stripes/Flat Out Duo Jets/Boogie Chillun drums-n-guitar duo...so I simplified the arrangements, boiling them down to the most minimal rhythm-and-riff versions of the songs we’ve played for the entirety of our friendship.

    With two rehearsals (mostly the solos, which can thin out the sound of a band if there’s no backing instrumentation), we felt pretty comfortable, even though I ended up staying (mostly) in the first position throughout the songs.

    Back to the Festival:

    By the time we hit stage, it was a balmy 38F...now, I’m a native Texan and my drummer is a native Mississippian (and Texas resident for the last 40 years), so we aren’t made for this weather. Even though I have worked in construction for the last year and a half, I don’t dig (or tolerate) the cold very well...he’s retired, so he doesn’t step outside the house unless he wants to.

    We had planted ourselves near the bonfire prior to our performance, so we’d at least be thawed out enough to function...even so, both of us had a few technical difficulties...I could barely feel my fingers, and hit a few sour notes here and there, but ended up making it work. Sid (drummer) was similarly afflicted, but we’re (overall) happy with the results and may do more “Dirty Duo” performances in the future...

    We started out with some Open G slide songs;


    From a raucous “Move It On Over” to the self-penned “Panther City Blues” to a John Lee Hooker-meets-ZZ Top-meets-Slim Harpo fuzzed-out version of “Shake Your Hips”; the first section of our set rocked steadily and got some butts shaking and boots scootin’...for these songs I used my main pinstriped Telecaster, “Big Tex”

    I switched guitars (to a ‘72-reissue Telecaster Deluxe) and tunings (to 440 Concert Pitch) and dove into a Phase 90-soaked version of “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”, (replacing Hank’s name with Waylon), and then slipping even deeper into Outlaw Country mode with the Stones’ “Dead Flowers.”


    We took it back into the Blues with the originals “Can’t Remember How To Smile” and “Shotgun Confessions,” the latter of which was a duet with my daughter singing the 12-gauge-wielding-female part(s) of the song (a narrative of a wife threatening her husband to tell her what he’s been up to when out of her presence).


    We closed out the set with a HIGHLY experimental thing—me on harp (harmonica) and him on drums. No guitar, no vocals, nothing. We played a song I wrote 20 years ago called “Harp Thang”, which we’ve recorded a couple of times and performed dozens of times with a full band...I was surprised how well it went over, and it was a great way to end the set.


    I’m looking forward to next year.


     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  4. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,217
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Location:
    IL, USA
    Nice thread. What great fortune for you to be able to share something like this with your daughter!
     
    boris bubbanov and Fiesta Red like this.
  5. Guitharley

    Guitharley Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    735
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    So awesome........great snapshots,you all sound great just even in the still pictures
     
    Fiesta Red likes this.
  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,903
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    Thank you!
    I’m trying to get some sound snippets together. The best sounding of these was just from people’s cell phone videos—our “from the board” recordings redlined/clipped (we didn’t control the board, obviously) and sounded pretty meh, audio-quality-wise.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.