Ok, so a lot has gone down with Collins Drive since I last updated this here gig journal. First off, Darrell ended up not working out so we asked him to leave the band. Long story short, things got hairy for a little bit and just a tad bit of drama brought Mike, Allison, and myself a lot closer and had us re-analyzing where we were at and where we were wanting to go as a band. We hunkered down in the rehearsal room, had a few BBQ lunch dates, we laughed, and we worked our asses off only to discover that the magic was in the three of us and only us… but could we pull this off and would it sound good. I started playing electric guitar, I got some cool effect pedals, I started writing more songs and we worked harder and harder until we felt that our sound was solidified. We then went into the studio with our good friend (and Gnomonaut drummer) Andy Snedden and cut our debut four song acoustic EP. It was a triumph and a milestone for us but how would this go over live? We debuted our new power folk/rock trio lineup at Kavarna in Decatur and the feedback we received was mindblowing. People absolutely loved it and we played with a lot of fire, passion, and energy. I was absolutely floored with how we played that night and how attentive and awesome our audience was. That was really our “coming out” show of sorts and the success of that night just solidified the fact that we were doing the right thing.
Our last show of the year was on December 4th at Moonshadow Tavern and what a crazy night it was. First off, we played 3 sets. I have NEVER played 3 sets of music in all my life. I have played 2 sets before as a solo act but 3 sets? We have 16 songs and instead of taking the easy way out and doing covers, we chose to go up there and rock it out with a night of all original music. How the hell was this going to go? Well, only time would tell. First off, the venue is a Vatican of kitsch. The minute I walked in, I I felt at home. Posters of “The Dude”, Bob Marley, and The Grateful Dead donned the walls behind the stage while Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd albums donned the hallway walls. Even though the smell of cigarette smoke about knocked me on my ass, I still felt instantly comfortable in this lil place. Our first of three sets pretty much told me that this was not going be the kind of crowd to come to the stage and groove. Clearly, this was a place where the live music was merely the soundtrack of these people’s evenings but that was just fine by us. We played like we were playing to a crowd that was up front grooving out and dancing and song after song we just poured out everything we had. We even took advantage of the opportunity to experiment with jamming a little bit and even changing up some songs by playing a 3rd all electric set. This was really fun for me because, again, we were able to play with a certain level of creativity and freedom that you usually can’t do with an uber attentive crowd.
Sometimes the applause was very minimal after a song, sometimes it was great, and sometimes it was non-existent. Regardless, we knew we were playing REALLY fucking good so we knew that this was just the nature of the crowd. The real magic though was when I made my way through the room between sets. This is where I REALLY got to hear the impact of our music. First, this table of guys told me that we reminded them of The Band and that they loved it and proceeded to buy me drinks and talk about The Last Waltz. Another table was a couple from Buenos Aries and were seeing their very first American rock concert. They smiled, spoke very little English to tell me, “You, Bob Dylan. Very good. We like!” That made me so happy. The real highlight came from our waitress who stopped me and told me, “I really like your songs a lot. I can really relate to a lot of those lyrics.” This… THIS… This is why I do this. This was biggest compliment anyone could have paid us that night. So much for an audience not paying attention huh? Wow. It just made me realize that you don’t need to have people up front, screaming and carrying on to be making a connection with them. This was a truly magical night for us and from what I hear, so many great things were said to the venue about us that we may be invited back. Again, I couldn’t think of a more amazing compliment and again, it just reminded me that not all audiences are created equal.
I think we’re really on our way! What a great way to close out 2015! I can’t fucking wait to see just what 2016 has in store for Collins Drive!