Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Ears Eve

The decor in The Space on Front Street where The Swinging Orangutangs jammed in the new year was a visual feast. We had Far Eastern rugs and tapestries. There were ropes of colored lights, candles, flashing stage lighting, digital projectors set on Visualizer, a swingin' 60's gel projector, and even a sliver disco ball. Everyone was wearing their glittery best swanky threads and the dancing, well, it looked like a contortionists' convention inside the WD-40 factory.

But for me the best part of the night was totally aural. We made music that was as transcendent as it was trance-inducing for us and the revelers all 'round us. That is not a boastful brag, mind you. I am simply saying that every once in a great while, the music comes out of you in a natural flow. And if you are tuned into this flow, you know to stay out of the way and let it happen. Because if you mess with the flow, it can quickly become a trickle.

The Swinging Orangutangs have had their fair share of "flow" nights in our 15 or so years of music making. But Monday night's performance ranks right up there with the best ever. And I think the reason is ears—we had 12 ears all tuned in to the same frequency. Everyone in the band listens really well and tries to blend what they're doing in with what everyone else is doing. On New Year's Eve, by the second verse of the second song I knew we'd brought along our A-game. We all felt it, grinned big grins, and relaxed back into the music, letting it take over.

At numerous moments during the night, Andy Hall (drums) and Clay Paschal (bass) were linked up like fraternal twins, utterly locked in to what the other was doing. Five or six times, Julie and Jessica sang some harmonies that sounded so good that I got chills. And Vinnie and I managed to get dual guitar riffs going spontaneously that sounded awesome even though we'd never practiced them and never even thought of doing them until that exact moment.

It was a special night of making music with good friends. And we get to make more this Friday night at The Marietta Brewing Company, starting at 9 pm. Good seats still available, but my guess is the dance floor will be full.

Here are some images from New Year's Eve 2007, captured by Official Orangutangs' Shutterbug Shila Wilson. If you haven't already, check out Julie's blog entry.

And O how they danced. . .

We were dancing, too.

Rock steady Andy Hall on drums.

Clay Paschal (and his giant brain) laying down the Down Low on blurry fiveing bass.

Vincenzo Serephino Mele is anything but mellow on lead guitar.

This was Jessica Baldwin's debut in a rock band. She plays keyboards and sings better than the birds.

Julie Zickefoose (The Golden Larynx of Whipple) was her amazing self, but even more amped up by the vibe.

This is me, hitting the high power chords of "Rewind Myself" one of the original songs we did.

One of our hosts, Zane, brought his traditional Fish House Punch to the party. This is supposedly something they drank in Colonial Times in America where every conceivable type of alcohol was poured into a punch bowl. In Colonial Times the life expectancy was something like 17.6 years. Perhaps we have Fish House Punch to thanks for that. Anyway, I managed to stay away from the punch. However, I witnessed several party people glugging down large glasses.

This probably made the band look to them like this:
The Swinging Orangutangs viewed through Punch Goggles.

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