I got there around 6 or so Friday night, got my badge and went to opening ceremonies. There was the usual sort of stuff and the the Trans Iowa Canal Company did a parody of the Lord Of The Rings in various styles, including Warner Brothers cartoons, Marx Brothers, The Matrix and others. It was just wonderfully funny.
I got my gear and guitars and stuff up to the music room around 9 for my 9:30 show. It was another one of those shows where folks didn’t start showing up till a ways into it. Still it ended up being a good crowd and a good show. Some of the folks who were there last year showed up again, which is always a good thing. Thanks to the folks who bought CDs, I would have paid for the weekend if it wasn’t for all those other darn performers whose CDs I bought.
I’ll post a set list tomorrow, I made up one and stuck to it pretty much. The highlight of the show as the final song Hides. I asked Lojo Russo up to play and she just blew me away. I am hoping that the recordings that Josh did came out. If it sounds half as good on the tape as it sounded onstage it will be incredible. If it came out I’ll post it on audiostreet.net. More on Hides later.
Anyway, this is where the good stuff starts.
I had never seen Sandy Andina before but I am a fan now. She is a wonderfully sharp and silly singer/songwriter from Chicago. I didn’t see a lot of her set (I was selling my CDs and chattering with folks who were at my show) but what I saw was great, and I spent a lot of time with her in the circles and panels the rest of the weekend.
After Sandy was the inimitable Lojo Russo. Now I think that it is obvious for anyone reading my journal by now that I am a major Lojo fan, and this weekend only increased the general level of fanboy ranting that I could do. Her show was wonderful, silly, tuneful and fun. About half way through the show Trevor and Adam joined in and the show just got more fun. As I will discuss later Adam and Lojo are a real bad influence on each other.
This led to the first song circle. This consisted of …
Andy (all three from Riverfolk)
Oh, and some comedic hack from Iowa.
Man talk about being in over your head.
That said, this was the most incredible couple of nights I have ever had playing music. And most of it was just spent watching (and occasionally playing along) with some incredible folks. I couldn’t tell you what everyone played (or what I played for that matter, I think it was Trophy Wife, Almost Beautiful and a couple of others) but that’s not really the point. This was the most glorious moment. I don’t feel like I belong many places, but I feel like I fit in here. From the reactions of the other folk there I think they think so too. Wow. I had missed the feeling of community that I had in the 70s with the punk scene. I think I might have found a place that I can feel that way again.
I sat in the circle till around 3 in the morning. I stayed at Josh’s house both nights and I think I finally got to sleep around 4am.
I got up and went in search of guitar strings for Chaz. I stopped at my favorite music store (which didn’t have any of the kind he wanted, my buddy Dirk called a bunch of places, but no one in town had them … weird).
I got back to the con in time for my first panel, Humor In Music with Sandy and Lojo. We got a little silly. Ok we got a LOT silly. We talked about audience reaction, writing, inspiration and lots more. We managed to stay on topic for most of the panel and all did a song at the end.
I went off to see Riverfolk play. I have never seen the entire group play, but I can’t imagine them being better than Chaz, Becca and Andy. The way that the two voices interact and then the way that Andy floats mandolin and violin lines over what they are singing and playing is just too lovely for words.
I forgot that I had another panel right after and stood and chatted with folks for awhile, meaning of course that I got to the drum panel late.
I haven’t been a drummer for years really, but they wanted me on the panel anyway. I talked a little about what makes up the modern drum kit and where it came from (combining things so you only need one drummer rather than two or three). The rest of the panel was a drum jam that most of the folks took part in. WAY too much fun.
I tracked down some friends and went up and crashed in their room for a couple of hours (and spent maybe 5 of the 10 minutes that I had with Polyfrog this weekend, that is a major bummer).
So I went to watch the Amalgam concert with Emma Bull, Lojo, Adam Stemple, The Fabulous Lorraine, Trevor Hartman and Paul Score.
Words cannot do these folks justice. It was 2+ hours of rampant unrehearsed insanity that sounded like they had been playing with each other every day for years. High points for me were Adam’s songs (dark and odd), Lorraine’s fiddle tunes (gets your feet bouncing) and the interplay between EVERYONE. The stage was filled with such joy. These are folks who love being on the same stage. They have so much history and we saw most of it last night. An amazing show.
I went upstairs with the band and hung out in the music room while they sold and signed CDs. After a bit I went and got my guitar and the music circle started shortly after I got back.
The night is a bit of a blur. A lot of great music (and some stuff I did too). The best moment though. Sometime around 3am I decided that I was done, but I had to do one more song. I started retuning, looked over at Lojo (who went, OH, OK) and started into a really jaunty version of the song. Andy started throwing fiddle lines over the guitars and Trevor added in some drums. Moments like these are why I am a musician. 4 people all locked into the same moment. It was glorious.
I got back to Josh’s house and crashed hard (after being called rude things in cat language, his cats got more and more mean to me as the weekend went along).
I got back to the con around 1 or so, just in time to see Nate and Louie’s set. I need to hang out with them I really do. They choose really interesting songs to play and Nate writes some wonderful stuff.
And the end of the weekend.
Decadent Dave Clement is a singer/guitarist from Winnipeg Canada. I suppose that I have seen a handful of people who inspire me to be better and he is certainly on that list now. Dave is one of the warmest and most charming performers I have ever seen. He is a folk singer in the classic sense in that he does songs he thinks are great. And he does them incredibly. I have seen few finer performers.
I went to the closing ceremonies and headed home.
This was the best weekend of music I think I have ever had. I didn’t think that Marscon was top-able, but it happened.
All the credit has to go to Josh. He brought an amazing bunch of musicians in. They did good for him.