Post Gig Ponder – Bucharest & Buzau

The lights were on and my contacts were still in my eyes when I woke up from my deep drunken sleep.  Last night turned into a much longer night than I had expected!  Craft beers sure can-do wonders for those hidden party hairs that only come out during the full moon hours.  I expected to go home early and wake up feeling like a king, but things do not always go as planned do they?  Don’t get me wrong, I feel pretty damn good at the moment, but I could go without this slight hangover.  I’m not sure looking at a computer screen is the best cure, but the post gig ponder must happen!  Overall, I felt pretty good about my set.  I think the coolest part of the night was when a fella named Alex said he saw me one year ago and was a fan of my music.  In my mind I was like “I have a fan?  That’s pretty awesome haha” So thank you Alex, Ana, and everyone for the support while I continue to chase my dream.  Alright, back to the gig thoughts.  I opened up my set with a brand-new song called “Northern Queen.”  This song was inspired by a wonderful travelling soul who hails from Sweden.  I love when I meet people on my travels who inspire me to write music.  It is a constant reminder for me as to my purpose on this big blue ball we call earth.

I am usually pretty nervous before most of my gigs, but I was much more relaxed for this one and I am not too sure why.  I did drink a small whiskey to calm my shaky nerves.  I think it was because I did a sound check while the place was empty, and I felt very comfortable with the sound.  I stopped by after work to have the sound check and then I had to go home to grab my harmonicas.  On the way back home, I ran into some friends, Razvan and Ramona.  I dragged them to the gig after serving them some tea at my place.  Just kidding, I did not force them to come, they came willingly after a few minor threats to end our friendship if they did not come and support me ? After a quick rehearsal on the piano and some green tea with ginger, we were on our way back to Londohome for a night of shenanigans.  When I showed up, some people were already there waiting.  If you book it, they will come.  Actually, if you tell them its at 7 and you start at 8, they will come on time haha.

As per usual, I began sweating very quickly into the set.  With my forehead glistening, I looked into the crowed and saw people’s toes tapping, I even saw some folks singing along to certain songs.  When things like that happen, all my nervous jitters go away and I feel right at home.   I need to find a way to capture that feeling and bring it with me to the beginning of the gig.   There is always a small mountain for me to climb until I find the right balance and connect to the safe feeling of home.  I am a good faker on stage, so no one knows I am nervous, and if you are the lucky few to read this you now know the truth haha.

Throughout my set I sipped on an English tea with a shot of whiskey in it.  The Americans reading this will know this as a Hot Toddy.  It is the perfect mixture to keep the vocal chords warm and to take in a bit of alcohol.  I steer clear of beer during my sets because it causes too many bathroom trips and also messes with my throat a bit.  The whiskey tea combination is a god send.  Ok maybe god send is a bit too strong, but I will say its damn tasty!  If you read any of my previous post gig ponders, you will know that I just became a fan of Frank Turner.  During this set I busted out one of his songs called St. Christopher is coming home.  I messed it up a tiny bit, but nothing life threatening ?  I haven’t looked into the meaning of the song from Frank’s side,  but I connect with it because the verses seem to be about missing someone from a break up or a previous relationship while the chorus relates to being a travelling musician who is away from home, but will always remember his friends and they will always remember him no matter how far away from home he is.  Your friends are always your friends, and nothing can change that.

I closed the set with a song called ‘The world needs love.”  This is my hippie white boy song which will be on the album coming out next year.  It has such a skanky ska feel to it, I really hope it makes people want to dance when they hear it.  I know it makes me want to dance!  Before I made it to this final song, I had a few weird cramps in my hand that I could not shake.  Just out of nowhere, my fingers would tighten up and it was almost like they were frozen.  I thought, how can a man this sweaty have frozen fingers!  Either way, it eventually worked its way out, but sometimes the body does things at the worst of times.   Is it bad that after typing “the body does things at the worst times”, the first thought that came into my head was random erections in public places haha.  Nothing worse than a swimming pool woody as a 14-year-old in line for the diving board.  This is me trying my hand at stand-up comedy in blog post form.  All jokes aside, I felt very good about the gig, and really enjoyed the night.

As I said earlier, I only drank a tea with some whiskey during the gig.  The post gig home vibe started with shots of Strohrum, which is basically liquid gasoline for the body.  As opposed to solid gasoline?  If you want to go from zero to sixty mile per hour, have a shot of Strohrum.  This fuel lit a fire in me that turned into a 4am dance fest at a club called Interbelic.  The night eventually ended with me alone in the club after everyone had parted ways.  You just can’t keep track of everyone in places like that, nor do you really want that kind of responsibility haha.  Rather than continuing to dance with random people, I decided to walk into the old city, stuff my face with Gyros, fries, and Ayran before calling an Uber home to being my drunken slumber.

If you recall, my contacts are still in and most of the lights in my apartment are still on.  Drunk Mike was not friendly to the environment last night.  My apologies for that world.  I will do better next time (I hope).  After a short struggle to gather all my things from last night, including my thoughts, I was out the door to meet my buddy Alin for our Buzau adventure.  We had a gig booked at a Sports Pub there which was located in a hotel.  Thank you Veronica for setting this up!  Alin played a few songs with me during my gig at Absintheria.  He is a beatboxer, and he is damn good at what he does ladies and gentlemen.  His stage name is “All In”  The two of us plan on starting a duo with me on guitar and him on the mouth drums.  We are open to name suggestions, so please comment if you have any!  I will be shocked if we get a comment, I wander how many readers made it this far ?

My hangover is still in full force as we arrive in Buzau from our Bla Bla car.  I hate being hungover when I have to sing.  This was exactly what I did not what to happen in my life, but hey, shit happens as Forrest Gump says.  Thankfully this restaurant served Ciorba, and everyone in Romania knows the cure all for a hangover is Ciorba.  I am pretty sure with the right dose of Ciorba, one could cure cancer!  Fuck Cancer!   Sorry about that.  No more cursing shall happen for all the young sensitive eyes ? After the ciorba and large plate of Romanian meats and cheeses, Alin and I did a bit of exploring the large wonderful city of Buzau.  By exploring, I mean we went to the store down the street to buy waters and red bulls for our hotel room rehearsal.  The waters were for chugging and the red bulls were for commercial making in the mind of Alin.  When we walked into the hotel bar I felt like I was back home in the USA.  Had there been a billiards table present, it would have felt exactly like Colin Doherty or Jimmy Barnes basement back in the Lou.  The shenanigans on the wall were of American beers, golfers, Chevy trucks, and old ladies smoking cigarettes.  I felt right at home!

The bar made a Facebook event, and posted signs that a dude with a guitar would be playing some tunes along with a fella who beat boxes, but Buzau did not expect a sweaty American to sing original music about love, beer drinking, and travelling.  Nor did they expect a man to turn his mouth into what sounded like a DJ with $1,000 worth of gadgets and gizmos.  For the most part, the gig went very well.  We ate, drank, and slept like king’s courtesy of Buzau.

Naturally, I was a bit nervous for some unknown reason which caused me to rush through my set a little bit.  I don’t think I took more than 5 seconds between songs to lay down some good ol stage banter.  I blame the hangover haha.  Restaurant gigs are also tough because people are there to eat and then here comes music, and in my case here comes original music that is not used to being heard….yet 😉   I prefer to play at smaller intimate venues for this stage of my career.  I did the restaurant gigs previously, and I just don’t get the crowd interaction I am looking for.  I make it happen, but it is not as natural as a smaller intimate music venue where people are expecting and are there for live music.  I played a song in Romanian as per usual.  Once I started singing in Romanian, I saw a lady’s eyes grow as large as planets, and that made me smile.  I received a large applause for that jam and a few others.  I played about 8 songs before handing the mic over to Alin who introduced the crowd to the art of beat boxing.  Just like last time at Absintheria, people, including myself could not believe what was happening.  We can all make drum sounds with our mouths, but this guy can play drums, add a melody, and toss in a few transitions with no equipment other than a microphone.  It is truly an amazing art that I am just now discovering.

Once Alin finished his set, we joined forces for a few songs to test out our beat box guitar combo which is still in search of a name if anyone has an idea!  We played a couple of my original singer / songwriter tunes.  The beat box addition really does help fill my original songs out.  It feels like I am playing with a drummer when he joins in.  Sometimes I almost get the feeling a bassist has also joined in.  I think we have a pretty unique combo bringing together the hip hop with hippie white boy music worlds.  We’ve done some rehearsing at my house and it always ends with a feeling of “did we really just create that.”  I only hope our schedules align more in the future so we can really get going on something tangible.

Once the gig ended, we ordered food and a few beers to cap the night off.  We had intentions of going to a club in the city center, but that idea quickly faded.  The evening hours slipped into the morning where some late night lyrics were written.  I would like to end this post with a verse which was written that night.  “I got love like a bullet, and the day is mine.  Let me get to know you, let me buy some wine.  Ask you how you’ve been, and where you wanna go.  Left turns and right turns.  Destinations unknown.

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