Sometimes something reminds us how much fun playing live is. Last Saturday was one of those sometimes. The Pups returned to Safetyville USA for the firefighter chili cook off.
The stars and planets must have been aligned just right because potential stumbling blocks seemed to melt away throughout the day. The 5 was a parking lot headed downtown. But I saw that while heading home from the Saturday morning stitch ‘n bitch with the Wiki Weekend Warriors. Surface streets and call to Glenn meant we both arrived on time at the Doghouse to load up. The 50 was a parking lot in West Sac headed into SacTown, and Safetyville was on the other side of downtown. Despite an SPD road block, surface streets allowed us to avoid that 50 morass.
We had no schedule for playing other than be ready by noon and take down at 4:00. We had no set lists. Given my need for structure, that was a possible stumbling block. What's next? When? Loyal readers can see me screwing that up. The scheduled emcee did not show up -- another potential problem. While Safetyville’s staff scrambled for a solution, we played. Who needs a set list and schedule anyway? We played. Sue called out a tune, and we played. Spontaneous Pups!
As our energy greeted the guests, one of the chili tasting judges became emcee. And she was great -- totally comfortable with a wireless mic. By 12:30, the volunteer emcee and the Pups were perfectly in sync. Sue named a tune, and we played. We then looked to the emcee, and she yakked -- mentioning sponsors and drawing times for raffle prizes. She looked to us, and we played. The only schedule needed was the times for raffle drawings, the chili judging, and the grand prize drawings.
The afternoon flew by. Chili tasting, iced Starbucks, and kibitzing with the guests occupied our off-stage time. Robert provided drum rolls for announcing the chili cooking winners. Kids and adults danced occasionally to our music. The firefighters chili cook off was totally what our garage surf is about -- fun and frivolity for all. By 4:15, the 600 or so guests had left Safetyville. Firefighters, their cooking teams, volunteers, and the Pups loaded up to leave, but not before grabbing an ice cream sundae from the only booth that remained open.
By the time that I headed home from the Doghouse, the highways were clear. Traffic was flowing as were my thoughts. The chili cook off had made for a pleasant afternoon of playing music. The entire band had fun. Firefighters, chili, and the Pups were the right kind of combination to melt away any obstacle. I then reflected on how much fun we had performing in KDVS’s tiny studio A -- sweat, garage rock, and a good time.
Then a big-picture thought reared up: Playing live has taught us to have fun and roll with the punches; maybe we are embarking on a new phase as a band. The adventure continues.