I’ve been hearing about this place for a while from my good friends Robert and Kathleen. They’ve seen many a band at this former prayer house and they’ve always said I should be playing there. I never heard about it when I was living up in New Hampshire but then again that was eons ago. We did play there about six months or so ago and we had a great crowd. Now on our return the land is free of snow and ice and the air is just a bit cool but not frigid. It’s the Memorial Day weekend we are entering upon and as we travel from Connecticut to New Hampshire we noticed all the ‘city dwellers’ leaving their concrete jungles and suburban sprawls for the coniferous wilds and open spaces. It’s a route we were to see with frequency for the next few days as our itinerary has us going up to New Hampshire then back down whence we came to Connecticut then back hither to Maine and so forth. Friday’s traffic was just starting to get congested as we were on the loop around the Boston area that is I-495. The flow gets a bit stacked up as we enter New Hampshire on I-95 due to the toll booths but we avoid a complete stop because I signed up with E-Z Pass a while ago and although we don’t breeze through the booths like on normal non-holiday times, we still manage to keep moving in a relaxed procession northward. I have to admit that having E-Z Pass makes the NYC area much easier too. With all the bridges you have to go over it makes the journey quicker. It adds up though, money wise that is but that’s just all part of the biz.
Down at the Church we load our equipment in and we set up. Low ceiling in this place but a good sound system is here and the soundman is more than capable behind the board. There’s also this other aspect of touring that I sometimes make mention of but it’s of a slight importance from time to time; food. The food here is good. Some venues give us food and the offerings are of course of extreme variances from time to time. It can be super fresh and healthy to classic Americana to fusion and adventurous and finally down to all things deep-fried. We often keep notes of the good places and dread the others that are lower on the scale. To the lower places we just give in to insouciant resignation. For the few that are even further down the Palate Point Scale, we just avoid them altogether. There’s some clubs out there that I’ve been playing for years that I’ve yet to even sample the menu. Just not worth the trouble. I’m happy to report that the food is good here at the Stone Church. Upstairs in our green room there is this obscene amount of chocolate that been placed inside. As I’m stringing up my gold guitar with a new set, as I do every gig, I look over and notice the familiar wrapped plastic round balls that are Lindt chocolates. A luxury sweet that I’ve enjoyed from time to time when I notice them usually for sale near the cash registers of pharmacies or upper level convenience stores. Most of time I forgo the indulgence due to their pricey value. You want to indulge and get more than a handful of these delights because it’s good chocolate. The price makes that a bit prohibitive. That monetary barrier stands not in my way in our green room because on further examination of the little sweet spheres I see before me I now discover there’s a mother-load that sits within arm’s length from me. One box weighs close to 20 lbs. We all sample the offerings; one is white chocolate inside, the other is chocolate on chocolate and the third is a white chocolate-strawberry one. The strawberry is the big box I mentioned. We joke about it but then seriousness steps in as we start to stare with our jaws slightly agape at the huge amount of these chocolates that’s with us. I’m sure we all entertained inside our heads the scenario of us eating one after another after another only to collapse on the floor with distended bellies from ‘over-chocolate-fication’, blissful sounding but we know the ‘bad-tummy’ syndrome that is sure to follow this course of action and that thought allows our common sense to win over the deadly sin of gluttony. Right!, onto the show.
Downstairs we go and we assume our stations with our instruments and start in on the night. The sound is still good on stage because the ambient levels always change when people start to occupy the room. From time to time you have to make adjustments to your sound either before or after you start. Some places where I know we’ll have a decent turnout of people coming to the show, I’ll have my monitors on stage a bit on the loud side because the physical presence of people will absorb the sound in the room and depending on the room and its configuration, the result can be quite dramatic. I chose to leave it at a neutral aural point to start with because I wasn’t sure how the crowd would be tonight due to the holiday weekend and with the nearby college being all but dismissed of the main student body in residence. The turnout is a bit lighter than last time but it deters me not from applying myself. Onward my ambition cries and we plunge into a new night of musical adventure.
The show is good and I keep plugging away at incorporating the new songs in the set. Yes they’re still rough sounding on my part but I have to slog through sometimes. I never quit trying. We end in our typical furious fashion and leave on a high-note. We pack up and our local platoons of friends help us get the gear outside and into the van. It’s been fun again at the Stone Church and I hope they’ll keep having us back up here. I love my former home New Hampshire and I love my friends that frequent my shows up here and follow us from place to place for the next few days like we’re a traveling musical show where everybody plays a part in the creating the magical musical moments.
The road goes on forever and the party never ends…..