Living Room Show-Pittsburgh

I played my first “Living Room” show with Common Rotation last night. These are shows that CR books online with their fans. It’s a great idea: CR shows up at your house and you host them and strangers adorn your living room couches and floor.

They’d told me stories about them-like the host freaking out because there were too many people, or the surrealness of waiting in the kid’s bedroom until showtime.

When we arrived at the suburban Pittsburgh home I started getting nervous as I always do. Jory went to check things out (it’s protocol for us to wait in the car until the lay of the land is sussed out).

He came back, poked his head in the car and said, “There’s like 8 ladies there. We’re gonna wait for more people.”

I said, “I feel like Patrick Dempsey.”

Then Adam goes, “We should deliver some pizza.”

More people showed up and we made our way in to the “dressing room” which was the 4 year old’s bedroom. You could tell she had cool parents. She had a plethora of instruments: a wood xylophone, a toy electric guitar, a karoake mike, and some other stuff. And she had a bunch of games that looked like it was her parents’ at one time (Creeple Peeple, Addams Family card game).

We waited and played her instruments. Then, I went to open the show. I tailored my set to fit a crowd that included 2 four-year-olds and a three-year-old. They sat in the front row and I tried real hard to watch my language.

When I was a ringmaster I amazed myself in how I never let out dirty-word during my run. This show, however, seemed a big feat in watching my mouth.

The 3 girls watched and had their ears covered. This usually pisses me off but they are under 5 years of age and I understand. I saw one guy, around 24 years old, hold his ears once and I looked at him and said, “It’s okay, I’m done.” And he took his hands off his ears and I crashed the cymbal as I finished my song. I was clearly an asshole. I respect children’s ears though. And the 2 four-year-olds took their hands off and got really excited when I hit the cymbal.

Years ago, I used to play the birthdays of my old bosses’ kid. He and his wife were good folks and the kid was nice, too. But it was frustrating playing to no one in a living room with kids running around. I remember the bosses’ wife came in a watched the rest of my set. She was real nice.

So, I had a bad flashback of that moment and other moments when kids were let loose at shows. I can’t concentrate. All I can do is look at the kids do stuff and then look at the parents to see what they’re doing and then come back to playing my song.

At one point, I was playing a new song and stopped because I’d messed up and went on. I messed up a second time and just stopped playing all together. I was flustered. I can’t remember what I explained to the audience except that I inserted the word, “awkward”, in there somewhere.

I cut my set short. I wouldn’t allow myself to deal with two shows going on.

So, I played two more songs. Finishing the show, I walked upstairs, and saw the “I’m sorry” faces of CR.

I told them it wasn’t that bad. I felt that I’d failed. They went on to do their set and I sat up in the little girl’s room reading her books.

One book was about this guy who made dinosaur drawings and sculptures at the end of the 19th century. He was very passionate about his work and became very good at it. He came to New York from Britain to work on some pieces in Central Park but Boss Tweed cut his funding saying his work was bullshit. The old man continued building his dinosaurs. One night, some thugs that worked for Tweed, came in and destroyed his work. The old man went back to England and continued painting murals and sculptures of dinosaurs.

I went downstairs and played with CR on their last 2 songs. We finished, packed up and talked to the folks that came. Really nice people.

I needed to unwind so we agreed on Applebee’s, a wonderfully bad dine. I got all-you-can-eat ribs that were terrible and enjoyed sharing them with my friends who had bad mashed potatoes.

“To All My Friends!”