good friend by my side, wine in hand and Damion ahead of me. That’s how my Saturday was and it was really cool.
I met up with Carrie at a place called the Bernardo Winery (which made me laugh when I pulled up because I remember studying Spanish to impress a Peruvian guy I was seeing and the book had the line “Bernardo no es muy inteligent”. That always cracked me up for some reason. We RSVP’d to see another up and coming band. I’d heard enough to know I should see them and c’mon…they’re playing at a winery…like I need anymore reason to go there??
I was late (as usual) and Carrie was once again stuck with saving a good spot (Sorry and Thanks Carrie~). I did apologize to her and told her I’m working on it (which I have been for most of my adult life so hope no one’s expecting any miracles in that department). Being late has always been the norm for me. Not trying to be rude. As a matter of fact I get all stressed and flustered knowing someone is waiting on me. I have a plan of action but, my mind wanders in the middle of it all and before I know it, the hand of time has jumped skipped and I’m late. That’s why I rarely make plans that involve me being anywhere at a specific time. Hate the stress of it.
Anyway…I got a txt from a friend who lives in San Luis Obispo (where the band is from) saying to tell him they said “Hi”. I like this friend. He’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. He and his wife just emit this great energy that makes you want to kick back and stay for a good long while. He also txted “They’re really good” so I perked up even more because my friend is also a musician and isn’t easily impressed. We shared our picnic table with 2 little girls that were daughters of one of the gals that works for the radio station and was checking in RSVP’s at the nearby booth. They were charming and loved to twirl in cirlces until they got dizzy and when Carrie handed her camera to one to take our pic the other was so calling “unfair” that I pulled out my camera and they both stood back and played master photographers. It was so f’n charming I tell you. I wanted to take their pic for the blog but, Carrie reminded me that some parents don’t like having their kids pics on the internet. Wow…ick but, I get it. So just imagine two latin-skinned girls about 5 and 7 years old with raven hair and big eyes and slim jim from all the twirling they do, wearing these oversized bright blue tee shirts promoting the radio station and summery shorts. Those were our table mates and it was nice until…yup…I saw these two dressed to perfection walking our way…deliberately not making eye contact and then seating themselves down without a word between us and our mates. Fine. But, I looked at Carrie and said “it’s you” meaning…they’re gonna be talkers and guess what…each of those concerts that I went off about the yappy ones behind us…each time…I was with Carrie~ Ahaaaa~ Lightbulb! Poor Carrie. Something about her gives off the vibe of “go ahead, I don’t mind…I didn’t need that anyway”. We’re going to investigate and fix that. Because not more than a few moments later and those two were yapping away about everything under the sun. Granted they weren’t loud and obnoxious like some in the past but, they were definitely distracting. I could tell Carrie was really bummed so I screwed up the nerve and leaned into them “I don’t mean to be rude but, we can’t quite hear the music over you”. To which they both stiffened up like a couple a school girls caught passing notes in class and said in stereo “SORRY”. I smiled and nodded a “it’s all good” and went back to the show. Five minutes later they were back yapping away. I offered Carrie to move over onto the grass but, she wanted to stand her ground. I wanted to turn to them and say “since you’re talking anyway I’m wondering…is it because you don’t find the musicians engaging enough (I read somewhere that’s very important to engage your audience) or is it just an auto response for you two whenever you get into a public place where there’s noise around to muffle the intimate details of what you two need to tell eachother?”. I really was curious but, I decided not to for fear of having repeat of the boat incident (where the drunk obnoxious woman kept blaringly stating “oh whatever you do…don’t talk cuz she’ll get maaaaaad”). No, I don’t know how to handle these people. We made a pact that the next time we’ll stop before they sit and say “wait…before you sit next to us…you’re not the kind that talks throughout the show are you???”. See…we’re not just bitchin…we’re actually looking for ways to solve… I read once that David Gray actually stopped singing and ask a woman to kindly shut the fk up. Whether that actually happend I don’t know but, I’d like to think it did…
The band is made up of 5 players; the lead – Damion, a drummer, a keyboard, bass and a sax. Damion reminded me of a cross between Marc Anthony (J-Lo’s hubby) and John Meyer (who Michele swears is a total…and I quote “douchebag” which I was never sure what that equated to in my book so I looked it up on the Urban Dictionary and here it is: “Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and asshole, however not yet reached fucker or motherfucker”). I’m sure Damion is far nicer than that. We’re merely comparing looks and vocals. At one point Damion even sang a bit of “your body is a wonderland” and I closed my eyes to hear how similar they were when Carrie leaned in and said “yeah, he sounds better though”. I agreed. Their sound was a bit pop a bit funk and they were really tight, like they’d been playing together forever. His look and style was very smooth and he seemed quite comfortable with the stage and all which means I hated him (of course). I hate all that have that comfort level that eludes me. I liked their music. I loved being at a winery, out doors and enjoying music probably more than in a dark theatre. But, I know a dark theatre is better place to connect with an audience. And then I thought about the yappers and if they were in the old theatre and these guys were on stage, would they listen? What if I was on stage? I shrugged my shoulders and thought probably not and hoped no one like them comes to my show.
During the show he told a funny story about his cousin and I think that was the first time I heard nothing but, his voice. Aha…Note to self: people like a good story. Another reminder popped into my head of advice John Shipe gave me…”Be yourself. People can smell insincerity and you’ll lose em in a heartbeat”.
After the show I headed for the area where the band had gathered to sell n sign CD’s. Damion was surrounded by girls and the rest of the band was mulling around the CD table. Carrie reminded me to pass on the “Hi” message but, I took one look at that crowd and thought as much as I love my friend…I’m not going to be in line with those chicas. So, I went up to the bass and said “I have to run but, can you pass on a message to that one?” to which he said “who…you mean Damion?” and I shook my head as if to get the name out (I literally forgot it in that moment) and said “oh right yes, that one”. To which the he gave me a wry, satisfying grin. I smiled genuinely, passed on the message then, patted him on the shoulder and headed off to catch up to Carrie. A performer is only as good as the band behind them I think. This I know and respectfully observe and acknowlege whenever given the chance. I think he has a great band who are disarmingly endearing with their lack of “smoothness”.
What else did I learn? Well the irony is just the day before I had my lesson with Moppet (Russ’ new nickname) and he was struggling to get me to play with a swing in the chord. Odd because I could do that with my voice but, I played like a rythm-less dweeb. I laughed at one point and told him I was nervous. “Don’t be nervous” he says in that oh so Bing Crosby soothing way. “I hate being not good at something”. To which he again said something soothing that made it ok to not be good at off the bat. I barely played Friday night and instead listened to the tapes from our recent lessons. Between that and listening to the Damion Castillo band it slowly clicked in my brain. So, while I was in the shop Saturday after the Concert/class/lesson (Russ offered to re-string and fine tune Martin for Monday) I grabbed a couple different guitars and sat in the back area and practiced while he worked his magic on Martin. When he brought Martin to me he plugged him into an amp so I could hear the sound difference and then I impressed him with the swing in my chords as I played the new rendition of “If He Were Mine”. I love my lessons. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A: I am a lucky, lucky human being and B: that luck keeps bringing me just the right teachers to guide to where I want/need to go.
Life…<big fullfilling sigh>.
Thanks for listening and oh – tomorrow night…the big open mic at Hensley’s…pics n story to follow~ .
In the meantime, here’s a pic of The Damion Catillo band (video clip on the facebook music page).