CDG has been playing the Hungry Tiger now for quite a while. It’s a long established venue that Don Denley has kept open and kicking with live music and food. Notable acts of national repute play there like Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery and Les Dudek. There have also been some artists on their way up that have played there with frequency too, Susan Tedeschi being one of the most prominent and the late Sean Costello who tragically left us too early. The building is almost like a big converted house and it’s set right inside a neighborhood. Really. There’s a small city park out back with a couple of basketball courts that are usually always busy with pick-up games and other families enjoying the strip of greenbelt with stuff for kids and such. I really like all the wood inside this place because it gives off a warmer sound during our performance. At least it sounds like that to me. I know I’m probably regarded as one of the ‘louder’ acts that roll through here. Fear not my people, with the arsenal I’m carrying on this tour I shall not disappoint nor shall I lose traction with my current reputation. We get down there a bit early to load in and then it’s time to eat. I always seem to get the meatloaf when I’m there. It’s one of the house specialties made from a recipe Don’s father would use and the cook in the small kitchen there, Al, adds his own touch to the offering too. Classic Americana; Yummy.
We come back to the club for our show after a bit of chill time at our hotel. When I first started touring Japan we would just always go to the venue most of the time and set-up and hang there until show time. That’s how CDG used to do tours way back in the beginning. This is before we had a support staff that would get us rooms or other amenities that goes with touring; we were just traveling like a band of gypsies out there. Worry about the rooms after the gig. Then it was usually all of us in one room. Can’t say I miss those days too much but I suppose the euphemism that comes to mind is ‘it was a simpler time’. The Bluestone guys adopted this type of touring where you go to the venue then you’d return to the hotel before the show as ‘American style’. Early CDG wasn’t one of those bands that looked for some fan to offer us their couch or house or whatever to bivouac in for the night. I really can’t recall us doing that at all. It was during Frosty’s tenure on the drums that the separate room policy was adopted. Now I’m kind of used to that and it’s only a handful of times that the rhythm section has to share a room due to the club not providing us each a room or the accommodations do not allow for complete segregation; band house. It does make the expenses go up but sometimes you just have to make the compromise for band unity and harmonious and positive convivial interactions. When you’re in close proximity for a stretch of time it’s only natural that things come up. We’re only human. Tolerance and patience is a true virtue.
Our crowds at the Hungry Tiger have varied in attendance for the past few years. Sometimes we’ll get a really full show and there have been others where it’s been a bit light. Tonight is about right in the middle. I don’t know what it is with the Tiger but I always seem to have pretty good musical shows here. Oh I’ve had some clunkers before, bad singing, mind connection problems, you name it and I’ve had it, but for the most part I can hear everything pretty good at the club. The seating is close to the stage and from time to time people will stand right in front of me. I can also see people swaying to the beat in the back of the room. With the ‘press-the-flesh’ vibe here at the Tiger it can be pretty intense when things are going right in the group with the music. I’m still trying to incorporate new songs in the set, some brand new and others off the Lucky 13 album. The only way they’re going to sound good is I have to get comfortable playing them. The songs need to develop in my head and hands. The guys always sound great behind me but I can hear them adjusting as well and we all grow into the song adding our own characteristics and nuances. We gather momentum as the night progresses and the intensity ramps up more and more. Typical CDG and the crowd is loving it. When the last note is played and instruments are laid down we then begin the post-gig socializing followed by the therapeutic break-down of equipment. At the Tiger and in this region of the country we have a cadre of fans that help us load out. It’s dramatic how fast our load-out can be with an additional 3 to 4 people. Sometimes I just have to stay in the van to facilitate the packing of things. Everything has an order going in. I’d venture to say that the one thing CDG does with relentless consistency is loading in and loading out. We have got that down good. Schlepping our equipment doesn’t bother me a bit. ‘This is how I stay in shape’ is what I tell people sometimes but we’ve got a compact stage set-up to begin with, being just a trio, so it’s no problem. Sure I’d love to make it to the level where I just walk on stage and plug in and everything has been prepared to my specifications but I don’t mind this station I occupy for now. Keeps me humble and I’ve made some good friends and acquaintances over the years with these types of interactions. It’s just all part of the gig and the road.
It’s onward to The Stone Church in New Hampshire tomorrow.
**11/20/14 video courtesy of Mark M (Youtube)