. . . keeps the doctor away. (Or was that an apple? Anyway.)
Since the inception of 2011, my lil’ band has been playing a monthly gig at CityGrounds coffee bar in Lincoln Park, every second Saturday. Last month was no different, and following the long tradition of bad weather on gig days, it drizzled rain . . . and then poured rain. As the sun made its descent behind a blanket of dark clouds, Carrie crooned “Stormy Weather,” and the rain pattered on the patio, driving people inside. I thoroughly enjoyed the storm–the cool breeze was delightful, and we were safely inside the coffee shop by the time it really started coming down. I’ll take rain over heat any day, and this was much more enjoyable than ending the gig drenched in my own sweat (like the previous month–ay ay ay!).
Unlike past performances in which we’ve played in the upper room of the coffee shop, last month we played downstairs angled against the coffee bar itself, with the pastries to our backs and the whizz and staccato of the espresso machine and steamer as our percussion. It was completely lovely, and it was the most fun I’ve had at a gig to date. The vibes were just . . . vibin’, I guess.
As usual, we had our Tip-Top (an upside-down top hat) on a little table, and welcomed people to contribute to our cause, especially since we’d love to acquire enough funds to make a recording at some point soon.
Guess how much money I made?
Yup. And unless you’re thinking that the crowd was hangin’ on to their wallets a little tightly that evening, that was not the case! We were tipped quite generously, and I’m happy to say that the proceeds finished paying off our current band debt (i.e., the cost of microphones, mic stands, various cables, etc.–though we’re still mooching our PA and mixer off of the generous Petras). So after getting back in the black, $3 remained. $1 for Carrie, $1 for Eric, and $1 for me.
Needless to say, I don’t do it for the money.
Though the money does look waaaaay cooler when it’s posterized and rendered in black and white.
See? All of a sudden that dollar seems so much more . . . hip. And it’s mine. The ring is mine, Sam!
I also experienced less nerves during our last performance than possibly ever before. It is my goal to lose my stage fright by a year from now. And I don’t mean the butterflies–those are fine–I just mean the sensation that I am going to die, or possibly squawk instead of sing (and seems worse than death in the moment). See, whenever I’m in charge of starting out a song or singing the lead, there’s a sinking “whoosh!” that starts in my stomach and moves through my whole body, like the adrenaline rush you experience on a roller coaster. It takes my breath away–and I need my breath to make that first note, dang it! I want to make music unaffected by nerves–I want to be a strong performer. A confident performer. Progress is happening!
And on that note, tomorrow is . . . cha cha chaaaaaan . . . the second Saturday of September! So we’ll be back at CityGrounds. And–no surprise–Carrie tells me rain is in store for us again. If you’re in Chicago, come out and see us! Here’s our facebook event page in case you’re in the mood to RSVP and make our day by saying you’ll come.
For those of you who are nowhere near Chicago, see you Monday, and have a fabulous weekend gals and guys!
Jenna ‘Giggin’ for Dollars’ Schmatterthwaite*
*my husband’s affectionate variation on my last name