Maybe rock ‘n roll is for the young -- not those who are only young at heart. That thought occurred to me more than once before, during, and after playing at the Davis BrewFest. Massive Delicious and ZuhG are bands with younger -- and extremely --talented musicians. They did not seem to be the worse for wear after lugging equipment out of the ZuhG trailer to the stage less than a half hour before the scheduled 2:00 start.
Then again, once the basic stuff was on stage, the time was pushing 2:00. The Pups still had to set up to play. No time for rest. Two amps. Instruments. Plugs. Cords. A dead battery in my wireless -- or at least no signal. A short in Sue’s connection to the PA. No time for real fixes. I pulled out the fluorescent yellow cord and remembered this time to plug it into the guitar. We unplugged Sue from the PA and ran her into one of ZuhG’s amps.
Sweat was dripping off my face and head. Robert was feeling woozy after departing from his healthy eating regimen for a brat during the wait for the ZuhG trailer. Until the amp change, Sue would hit a few notes followed by spitting and fizzing through the PA speakers. In the midst of this chaos, Glenn had adjusted the drum kit to his liking and was waiting patiently for the rest of us.
The temperature did not live up to the forecast -- a mere 97 and not 102. But it was hot. Fortunately, the event was not out in the open sun. Instead, the stage was set up under an overpass, which provided shade for us and the more than 1,000 folks in attendance. Breweries were serving their hand-crafted beers in an area crowded with people eager to taste. The heat and close quarters fueled their thirsts.
When the siren sounded to start the BeerFest, hundreds of people were still out in the sun and in line. And the picayune problems that piled up pushed our start time off. Earlier in the day, I looked forward to an orderly set up around 12:30, sound check at 1:30, collecting my thoughts, and coming in after Glenn, Robert, and Sue in “Penetration” shortly after 2:00.
Well, you know what happens with best made plans -- or expectations. We started at 2:10, which was not bad considering that the back line was still in the ZuhG trailer at 1:30. Minimal sound check and no time to collect my thoughts in the face of feeling the effects of the heat. Trimming our set as we played to finish by 2:50 or so -- our designated ending time.
Despite the heat, the chaotic set-up, changing our set on the fly, a crowd more interested in beer than four middle-aged folks playing music, and whatever else seemed to happen between 1:30 and 2:50, we had won over some young adult -- twenty-somethings -- fans. “Hey, that was great!” Exchange fist bumps. “Man, we love that sound and energy!” “Where can we hear more of that?” And in homage to the average age of our band: “Music has no age barriers.”
As I loaded guitars and couple of amps into the back of the Prius while talking about guitars with an hobbyist luthier, I realized that I was exhausted. My thoughts wandered off to the need to be rejuvenated -- to rekindle the fire for playing -- to return to the invigorating pure fun of playing.
Whether the heat or the chaos generated those thoughts, Sierra Surf Music Camp is less than a week away. That probably is the perfect prescription at just the right time!