On my way to Whip In on Tuesday I pulled up my blog on my phone to remember what songs I had played there last, but I couldn’t find the entry. After looking a few times, I finally ended up Googling myself and did find it, way back in February! Had it really been that long? I guess it had, I’ve just been to the Whip In a couple times since to see shows, and at one of those shows I even ended up hanging out with DC, the Whip In host, so it really didn’t seem like it had been that long!
I had picked out a table by the front, but was asked to move because there was going to be dancing. Luckily a few open mic scene regulars had a spot where I could join them at their table a little further back. They had both done the Kerrville Folk Festival before and gave me some good tips.
It turned out the dancing was belly dancing! There was a group called Joined at the Hip, of 4 hand drum guys and two dancers in full costume, and apparently the dance was improvised, but these women were so in synch you never would have known it. Pretty awesome.
Somehow I remembered that my pickup battery was dead, which is a big pain because to change it I have to detune my strings slack enough that I can reach my hand inside to replace it. I cut my thumb on something inside but got it changed pretty much in time, and thank goodness for my Snark tuner that could tune pretty quietly even during the set before. I still ended up having to tune a little more from stage, because I hadn’t realized my spot was coming up so quick, but hopefully it wasn’t too long. Feels like an eternity when you’re up there!
I was the only girl musician on the list that night, which stuck out at me perhaps a little more because I had just listened to the podcast of a recent KUT special called “Unsung: The Stories of Women in Texas Music”. I do think it’s getting better for women in music, but there were some sad/bad stories in that podcast, that happened in my lifetime, and it’s frustrating.
Afterward one of the dancers, Andrea, told me that their improv belly dancing was kind of like jazz, improvised within a vocabulary of moves. She also told me that I reminded her a bit of Edie Brickell. I don’t know about all artists, but for me, finding out who people hear me sounding like feels like a gold nugget of information. I hate filling out those online profiles where they want to know who you sound like, because sure, I have my favorite people and influences, but I don’t know what I actually sound like, I can’t hear it from the outside! :) Plus DC said he liked the new one, Tom wanted to get the words so he could sing harmony on Keep Telling Me, Richard liked last one, so that means good feedback on all three songs, yay!
Songs: Keep Telling Me, All or Nothing, Shoreline of Alaska
Cell phone photos from one of my favorite parts of SXSW this year - United States of America’s Most Awesome Open Mic of All Time. Or something like that. It wasn’t reaaaaally an open mic, I’m quite sure it was by invitation, but all the super awesome folkies did sets of in-the-round the whole night long. The only bummer was everyone only got two songs, but all of them were great, so even though it wasn’t enough from any one artists, the good stuff just kept coming.
Wednesday was an awesome day. Gilberto came to visit me! I took the bus to meet him at the airport, and when we walked out of baggage claim, the bus was right there again, so we just took the bus home. He came with me to Rubicon where we had a nice catching up with Dan and realized that it had been pretty close to exactly a year since the first time we came down to visit and check out the studio!
We went straight from Rubicon to Backroads. Kind of. The bus was late. Which meant we missed our second bus and had to wait for it to come by again. There was a girl at the bus stop with a black smudge on her forehead. I was debating telling her that it was there, but the placement seemed intentional so I kept quiet.
It turned out that Ana B was on the bus that we finally got, so G got to meet her and we got to chat a bit on the way up to Backroads. A bunch of people got on at the stop by a church, and they all had black smudges on their forehead and it finally clicked in that it was Ash Wednesday! So glad I didn’t say anything to the girl. :-)
It was fun to introduce G to the open mic peeps at Backroads. Fun to sing him the new song I wrote for him live. We both got the 5 minute massages from Ariel. Raul convinced Ana to sing a few songs and her friend Mandy showed up and borrowed my guitar to play for their set.
Harmonies and guitar and piano and cajon, hooray! It was a great show. Unfortunately the kitchen had just closed, but luckily we found some tabouli, dolmathes and falafels in the mini-grocery section, so we still were able to have a yummy snack, just not the country we were expecting the food to be from. ;-)
Another fun thing about the show was Emily was wearing the guitar string necklace I made her and it looked cool! Always neat to see what my jewelry creations look like “in real life”.
It was great to be able to show G so much of what my life here in Austin has been like, from riding the bus, walking to Rubicon, talking with Dan, open mics and shows. Kind of amazing that it all happened to be on the same day!
Songs: Anchor, I Know, Keep Telling Me, Wings
The open mic at Whip In is on Odd Tuesdays. That means the 1st, 3rd, and if there is one, the 5th Tuesday of each month. Which means sometimes you’ll have two weeks in a row, when there’s a 5th Tuesday the week before a first Tuesday of the next month. It’s really not that confusing, it’s just a little odd. Which fits the Whip In.
But some people mistakenly think of it as “every other week”. Which is probably why when I showed up a little late on the first Tuesday of February, which came after a 5th Tuesday in January, I was the second person on the list, and I got to do five songs. I had been crossing my fingers I’d get to play at all, because other times showing up late meant playing late, even with everyone only playing two songs. Since I was bussing it that night, I had a definite deadline to get home if I didn’t want to walk an hour in the dark.
So it was a treat to not only go on shortly after arriving, but also to get to do a longer set. Better still, there were people and whole tables actually paying attention and enjoying the songs. Partway through, a few other musicians showed up, so it turned out to be a sweet little open mic night after all. Still it was cool to know for myself that if they hadn’t, I would have felt totally comfortable playing even longer!
To top it off, after my set, one of the waiters tapped me on the shoulder, pointed to a couple who had been attentive and appreciative while I played, and said, “Hey, they want to buy you a drink.” I felt a little like a rockstar for a minute, ordered a beer and brought my dinner over to their table to hang out. They were both big music fans and we talked about different bands and festivals and venues and creative inspiration. I didn’t quite catch what she does, but he designs children’s toys and they are pretty darn cute if you’ve got any little ones who need presents! http://giggletoys.com/ They bought drinks for the duo that went on after me as well and we all sat and chatted between songs. One of the gals who I noticed was enjoying my set came up to say so on her way out the door.
All-in-all, a pretty awesome night! It is fun to look back and remember that it was only June last year that I did my first open mic in Austin at Whip In, and how nervous and sick I felt, and how rough that performance went, and that 8 months later people are buying me beer?! Neat! :-D
Songs: Keep Telling Me, Rain Song, I Know, Jonah’s Whale, Sister’s Prayer
Chronicling the final 10 out of 100 Open Mic and Showcase performances I have done since June 2011. This is #93
photo by Amy Zamarripa
When they say “Keep Austin Weird”, Whip In is maybe one of my favorite examples. Perhaps it’s because it was the first place I saw a show in Austin when I came down to check out Rubicon Recording Studios in February. Two of their slogans are “South Asian Food, South Austin Mood” and “Namaste Y’all!” They have a crazy amount of beers on tap and an even bigger selection in bottles and cases, along with a teeny grocery selection in the back. They also have a menu with some typical Indian food and a few Austin twists - they have panini, but it’ll be like naan bread around curried veggies grilled in a panini press.
It’s also the first place I performed at an open mic when I started going out to them in June. June 7th to be exact. My first performance was rather a hot mess - I tripped on the cables, I knocked into the mic with my face, I got some almonds stuck in my throat to the point some kind person had to go get my water bottle from across the room before I could even continue. But after surviving that, and still getting a positive response from people, I realized it was not as scary as I thought it was going to be.
Tonight was a great night, super full list and a bunch of new faces. With such a full list we were only able to do two songs, and I was already planning to have Heidi Nadine sing Jonah with me, so I decided to go for a nautical theme and do Anchor first. There is something pretty special about hearing someone else interpret your song, and we’ve worked out a few harmonies that are really pretty.
It was also great to have a nice balance of men and women performers, some nights I’m the only or one of very few gals.
I couldn’t get a very good picture, but there was a guy there with an awesome sparkly purple guitar:
And this (also rather crappy cell phone) pic gives you a bit more of the idea of the stage area - the ceiling draped in saris, other sparkly fabric, Indian artwork, and posters decking the walls.
The other thing than happened is when I was getting ready to head home, I could NOT find my bus pass! After searching through my whole bag and asking the couple who sat down across from me if I could trade them places back to my original seat of the night so I could keep looking, the man asked me what I was looking for and ended up giving me a dollar when he heard my story. So grateful, that dollar was the difference between a long cold walk and getting to transfer to my second bus! Thanks again Sir!
Songs: Anchor, Jonah’s Whale
Host: D.C. Bloom
1950 IH35 South
Austin Texas 78704
Odd Tuesdays (1st, 3rd & if there’s a 5th week, that too, of each month)
Sign up at 6:45, Music 7-9ish. 2 to 3 songs depending on how full the list is.
Favorite Whip In Eats: Dal Puppies (spicy fried lentil cakes with tamarind date sauce), The SOLA (Mushroom spinach masala, feta cheese wrapped in naan & grilled on a panini press), Chana dal rice bowl with seasonal squash.
Other things I like about Whip In: The beautiful saris draped from the ceiling, the awesome posters, the church pew style benches inside.