We got a great parking spot for downtown on a Friday night and as we approached the bar, I saw a guy wandering down the block with an open Mac, searching for wifi, which I thought only happened on TV commercials. As we got closer, I said, "Tony!? What are you doing?" Tony is Steph's bf and a fabulous musician. Turned out he was trying to book a nice hotel for a stop on his next tour--but he gave up and followed us in.
Steph and Keith played together the first set, with him doing electronica beats and prerecorded backup vocals over Steph's solo playing. It doesn't sound very exciting in print, but it was amazing. And Keith was so cute, sitting here in front of his Mac, a skinny white guy with a little gangster knit cap with a brim, rocking back and forth, pushing buttons and adjusting levers. I suspected, and later confirmed, that the vocals were being mixed in on the spot, which upped the cool factor by about fifty.
Steph kinda ruined their cool rock star image though when she shared the details of their recording environment. They record in the basement of Keith's house, which is pretty standard, but above them is a house full of children, wards of the daycare run by Keith's wife. So after laying down some really sexy track, they go upstairs and wait in a line of three year olds for the bathroom. Ah the life of an artist.
It seems like it's getting to be tradition for me to get a little drunk when I go to JM's to hear Steph. It's always preceded by a full day of working on my dead mom's house, which seems like as good an excuse to drink as any.
The first time was six months ago, and I'd been working on sorting out the many boxes of stuff in the basement. Jess, who drinks occasionally, ordered a margarita and when I started taking sips, suggested I get my own. I was pretty cranky at that point, so I did, figuring it would mellow me out.
We had a large group and the waitresses had been rude to us from the moment we walked in, which didn't help my mood. It took thirty minutes just to get my drink. When it finally came, all eyes were on me while I sipped it slowly. "Areyoubuzzedyet, Areyoubuzzedyet, Areyoubuzzedyet?"
"No, I don't feel anything." I said.
But about halfway into my glass, my brain got fuzzy and my mood got much better. Everything was suddenly hysterical for some reason. I proceeded to become a textbook first time drunk, talking loudly, laughing hysterically, and announcing my condition to anyone who would listen.
I immediately understood two things: A) Why I hadn't done this before and B) how people get very hooked on chasing the buzz. It was a nice reprieve from my mood, but as a coping mechanism, I thought my usual brownies and ice cream was probably a more economical choice--and certainly kinder to my liver.
Though we'd ridden our bikes to the show, Jess threatened to make me ride home in the car with my sister. I suggested we kill some time by walking (unsteadily) over to Cacao for drinking chocolate, which we did. By the time we came back to our steeds, I had sobered up enough to ride and still beat Jess up the Interstate Hill.
So here we were back at the Mak after a day of contractor estimates and looking at carpet samples to replace the smoke stained mess in mom's bedroom. Our friend John made a reservation and invited us to join his table, and J's friend T as well so we had a great table facing the stage just a few rows back. We're pretty sure that John is a lesbian trapped in a man's body, cause he loves hanging out with us. He's pretty fun to be around and it's always nice to meet cool guys that don't creep us out.
I decided twice a year was probably an OK drinking schedule so J and I ordered something called JB's Live which involved raspberry vodka. It was sweet, which I like in a drink and we split it about 60/40. Since Jess was driving I felt I should take one for the team and consume the majority of the alcohol.
My goal this time was to play cool once my buzz hit and I succeeded pretty well. I did give a big "WHOO HOO!" when Steph forshadowed the first few chords of "Guilty" but was quick to assure everyone at the table that I would have done the same thing sober.
Everything was on the D.L. until about halfway through the second set. Stephanie was getting ready to play "Salty Blues" but she was sick of telling the story.
"I've told this story way too many times," she said. "I'm sure there's someone here who can tell this story."
And before you could say 'impaired judgement,' my hand went up and I found myself volunteering. "I can tell it!" I announced boldly.
Steph was thrilled. "Kronda! Great, I trust you. Tell the story."
I stood up, thinking to myself, you are so drunk. This is a really bad idea. But it was too late. I tried to pull my thoughts into some sort of coherence. Keep it simple.
"Well, Stephanie had this boyfriend, and they broke up," I started.
Steph laughed. "That seems to be the beginning of every story," she deadpanned.
I went on. "And then she got a pocket phone call from the the guy, does everyone know what that is? It's when your phone dials accidentally 'cause it's in your pocket and it's really tight..." I saw heads nodding in recognition so I went on. "So she listened in--but not that long--maybe 5-10 minutes tops, right Steph?"
The whole audience burst out laughing. Oh yeah, I forgot that part was funny---
"And he was on a date! And he was being really charming and saying all this stuff he never said to Steph." OK, wrap it up before things get out of hand... "And the moral of the story is, don't piss off a song writer. Hit it Steph."
I sat down. The whole thing had probably taken just over a minute. I was quite pleased with myself for not having rambled and felt like I'd gotten away with smoking a cigarette* without my parents finding out, but I shouldn't push my luck. People were applauding and Steph said I was hired to come to all her shows and set up songs. And that she'd buy me a drink later, which I was sure I didn't need, as we had finished the first one and moved on to a margarita when I started to lose my buzz.
The song was lovely as usual, one of my favorites. I sat quietly for the next few songs, keeping a low profile. And then, in the silence between songs, Steph suddenly called me..
"What?" don'tpanic don'tpanic don'tpanic...
"I'm gonna go set up for the next song. Tell the story."
Oh crap. It wasn't so much that I was scraping the bottom of my margarita by this time as that I couldn't really remember the story that well. She was headed for the piano, which I knew meant "Professor Sunshine" was next. But my mind was a fuzzy drunken blank. "Uh..I don't really remember..."
"You can do it, I'll help you," she said as she walked back and started adjusting a mic.
Clearly I couldn't let her down so I stood up. "Um...it's Amelia right?" I started.
"Uh...so there's this dancer named Amelia--except that's not her real name, Steph made it up. And she disappeared." I knew I was missing something important. "And um...this professor, he came to see her all the time but one night she didnt show up and never came back. And this is Steph's version of events."
I sat down, feeling unsatisfied with my rendition, but everyone applauded even more than the last time. Steph added what I'd forgotten--that the club was a 'gentleman's club' and the dancer nicknamed the guy "Sunshine," so everyone called him Professor Sunshine. It's not known if he was actually a professor or not.
"I'll do better when I'm sober!" I said, feeling bad.
"You did great," she assured me and started the song.
I wasn't called on again, much to my relief and my buzz was wearing off by the time the show ended, although I still felt pretty wobbly. I had a ton of fun though and I can't wait for the new record to come out.
My designated driver got us safely home and I woke up the next morning, none the worse for wear.