…about my show at Veris Cellars last week.
The Set Up
Veris Cellars is a beautiful winery up in Templeton off the 46 West and they kindly asked me out to play live music at their happy hour tasting. I said I’d love to and the plan was in motion.
Now, I’ve had my share of unfortunate happenings - as I’m sure you all have as well – such as : Getting hailed on at a Farmer’s Market show, having a bug fly into my open eye in the middle of a song at another Farmer’s Market show, having drunks try to join me at the mic in the middle of a song at another Farmer’s Market show, et cetera. My wife and I even experienced an unprecedented series of unfortunate events a few weeks ago that included – but was not limited to – 3 flat tires on a Sunday when no repair shops are open, an infestation of bees under our floorboards that necessitated us staying the night in a hotel, and our cat having a panic attack in the litter box that resulted in our house being covered in poo.
So, we’ve been understandably paranoid the last few weeks that another batch of tragedies might at any moment befall us and we’ve been knocking vigorously on wood everytime something bad happens in the hopes to ward off any other bad happenings.
That’s a lot of setup, but there’s a payoff, I promise.
I got to Veris Cellars (which is incredibly gorgeous, incidentally) right on time and started setting up outside on the patio. This was when I noticed the wind was picking up. I didn’t think much of it until I had almost finished and I saw that the wind had blown my CD’s off of my merch table and scattered them across the grounds. The staff kindly offered to have me move inside, so I started taking down everything I’d set up, the speakers, mixer, stool, et cetera, to begin moving inside.
Veris Cellars looks like this, if you were curious. Beautiful, right?
At this point, I was worried this might be the start of another series…
I got a phone call from my wife in the middle of tearing equipment down. We’d forgotten to put a house key on her key ring and she had just gotten home from shopping and was locked out! The nearest spare was in Nipomo and we weren’t sure if she’d be able to get there. I hung up and prepared myself to break the news to the winery that I’d be canceling my show to drive down to AG to let her in.
At this point, I was convinced the Bad Things had begun happening and wouldn’t let up for days. *SPOILER* I was wrong, this is where things turn around, just in case you were wondering.
My wife called back and said the person with our spare key was available and would be able to get her the key in no time flat, crisis number 1 averted! I finished moving inside wtih the exceptional staff’s help and thereby saved myself and property from the increasingly turbulent winds. Crisis number 2 averted!
I started to play and realized… no one was there. The staff was there, I was there, and two (also exceptionally kind) caterers were there, but no patrons. The event had officially begun 30 minutes earlier and so far no one had walked in to sample the fruit of the vine or be serenaded by my dulcet tones. The staff mentioned that the previous weekend (this was a Wednesday night) had been the Paso Wine Fest and most of the wineries were seeing a substantial drop in business as everyone was all “Wined Out”, as they say. I, of course, inevitably felt responsible for my apparent lack of ability to produce an audience…
Now, I played anyway and I played my heart out. The staff was enjoying the music and being very courteous and attentive, and it’s not the first time I’ve played for a semi-empty room. I’m a professional and I played well and we had a lot of fun regardless, I was OK with the fact that this might be “one of those nights”. It’s still kind of a bummer though, to put all that work in and not have any audience to speak of.
Minor crisis, maybe?
Nope! People started filtering in. The room actually filled up pretty quickly, and there was even a familiar face or two in the crowd. I was really happy for the winery and for myself to have the audience and the business, and the night proceeded quite well. Towards the end of the evening (this was a 2.5 hour show) I started to get a little bummed out that no one had yet signed up for my mailing list or bought a CD (though in retrospect, they might have been more likely to do either of those things if I’d actually mentioned that they existed… which I frequently forget to do). It was fun to play but I was worried I wasn’t turning in my best work and that’s why they weren’t signing up. At the end I thanked everyone from coming and started packing up feeling like I’d done pretty well, but worried I hadn’t done that well.
Well, it turns out the reason no one bought a CD or signed up for the mailing list was because they all already owned it and were signed up.
One of the staff members came up and mentioned that she’d asked each and every customer at some point in the night how they’d heard of the event and/or what had made them come out tonight and each and every one said they’d come to see me. Now, that doesn’t happen very often so please understand I’m not bragging, and it was a relatively small crowd, but still! It was such a big self esteem boost to realize that every person there had heard I was playing and had set aside the time and taken the effort and paid to come out and listen to my music.
Don’t get me wrong, my friends, family, and fans come out to hear me at just about every show and I appreciate it so very much and it always humbles me to see people putting in the effort to support me like that and sincerely enjoying the music enough to want to come. It just so happens that tonight I had been feeling a little down about my performance because I mistakenly assumed that I had played poorly and that’s why no one signed up or bought a CD. It was a really nice reversal to realize they all already had it and had come out just for me. And as a side note, the night wouldn’t have been as fun and intimate if there had been a huge number of people in that space, so I’m glad some people were “Wined Out” from Wine Fest.
So the moral here, I suppose, is that all the things I thought were setbacks, problems, or even crises like :the wind forcing me inside, the crowd not purchasing cd’s, the slightly lower attendance than normal, were all actually blessings, huge blessings, that came together to give me one of my more memorable shows and I hope, provide a solid night of entertainment for the audience and staff.
So, thanks to everyone who made it out, and thanks to the staff at Veris Cellars for making it such a really enjoyable night, I’m looking forward to my next show there!
Aside : June 27th, incidentally, is my next show at Veris Cellars
Thanks for reading,