Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Janeen Leah Band Live at San Francisco's Red Devil Lounge, April 20, 2013

The Janeen Leah band made its triumphant return to San Francisco's legendary and esteemed club Red Devil Lounge on Saturday, April 20, 2013!  Last time we played there was back in November 2012 shortly after Thanksgiving.

Bay Bridge traffic was horrible, so we were a little late for set up, but early enough where we got the equipment set up just fine.  This show also marked the debut of Cold Planet's new singer Chris (after an acoustic teaser at The Bistro in Hayward a few weeks ago).  Cold Planet is Michael Burke's high energy Rock band.  Michael plays in Janeen's band as well.  Since Cold Planet went first and Janeen second, we were able to share some of the equipment, including my trusty old Peavy TKO bass amp:

My old, trusty Peavey TKO, who sleeps no longer!

One thing that was different this time than in November is that Jacob, the Red Devil Lounge's sound guy miked the amps instead of cabling them directly to the PA system.  I think, at least in my case, the bass sounded better in November than this time around.

Cold Planet played a blistering opening set.  Here's a picture I took of the band in action (Videos from this performance can be found HERE):

L-R: JD (bs), Chris (voice), Scott (dr) & Michael (gtr)

After the opening set, Janeen and band took the stage.  My fingers were cold!  I should have warmed up a little while waiting for the set to begin.  We played a great, fun set, if a little too short.  My fingers were beginning to warm up when the set was over!  The crowd was great and some got up to dance!  This show marked the San Francisco debut of an unreleased Janeen song called "If You Love Someone".  I really enjoy playing this song since I came up with a really cool bass line for it.  Here's a video of the performance.  Too bad the bass is pretty much inaudible, but it's a great song.  I hope I get to properly record it someday:

The show also marked the San Francisco debut of the full band performance of Muse's "Super Massive Black Hole".  Again, I think I have a pretty cool bass run at one point during the song, but you can't really hear it:

I think I speak for all - Janeen, Michael, Art, Mike and yours truly - when I say that we had a blast performing at The Red Devil Lounge.  The weather is getting warmer and summertime is looming.  We hope that along with the great weather, summer brings many opportunities to play for as many people as possible!

Have you been at a Janeen Leah band performance?  Where else would you like us to play?

L-R: Alfredo (bs), Mike (gtr), Janeen (voice), Art (dr) & Michael (gtr)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Adventures of a 1968 lefty Fender Stratocaster Reissue (Part 3 - Epilogue)

Last time I wrote about about my lefty Strat, I had decided to leave it as is and sell it.  That was my intent and came really close one time, but unfortunately, the guy had to back out of the sale (nice guy).  I looked into a couple of ways of selling it, but didn't go beyond that and the guitar stayed in its case all these months.

About a month ago, I finally decided to get rid of it, so I took it out to clean it up and see how the strings were holding up.  I plugged it in, and man!  What a sweet sound it has!  I hooked up my Uni-Vibe pedal and started noodling with it, not really playing anything because I am not ambidextrous!  At that point I changed my mind.  I had to keep it and play it!  There is a place close to where I work called San Jose Rock Shop, which is really a cool place, so I took it there to see about the bridge, nut and strings.  They did a great job.  Very thorough and uber professional for a very reasonable price!  When I brought it back home... wow!  It played like a dream.  Very smooth, like buttah!

The positioning of the cable and knobs is taking a little getting used to, but it's not so bad since I don't move around a lot when I play.  It sounds great.

Back in December, I got me an Ibanez GRG120BDX for Christmas.  It is a really awesome guitar that feels and sounds great and is really easy to play (Wizard neck?)!  I may have joined a band as a rhythm guitarist, so if that happens, the Ibanez will be the one I take with me to gigs and use as my workhorse, but last week I took the Strat to practice and it sounded really great!

"Lefty" and "Wrath"

I've been playing the Strat a lot (considering the very little free time I have) and subjecting my poor family to interesting versions of Robin Trower songs!

Here's me taking a break from doing taxes on Saturday, April 13.  In order to just not post an old boring picture, I used a Photoshop 5.0 preset to touch it up!

 So there it is!  Right or wrong I followed my muse and now have a very nice looking and sounding 1968 replica Fender Stratocaster! Yay!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Back to The Bistro – GREAT Gig, But Boy! What a Trip to Get There!

I suppose it all started as far back as Thursday afternoon, March 28.  The Janeen Leah Band was all set and ready to play a show in Modesto on Friday, March 29 at Theater 417.  I was excited since I’d never been to Modesto before (and it seems everyone else has).  I was as excited about going as I was way back in the day when my friend Vic and I finally made it to Alviso one day! (inside joke).  To make a sort of long story short, there was no gig and it was postponed.  There is still hope, so fret not Modesto fans!  We'll be there before you know it!

After the bad news of not playing in Modesto, our efforts were fully focused on our next gig – a return engagement at The Bistro in Hayward on Saturday April 6.  We played there back in November 2012 and it was a very enjoyable show.  For me, it was all planned out.  I was going to have a little practice of my own on Friday night to tighten up some bass parts, and then on Saturday I was going to buy a shirt for the gig (decided not to wear the Van Halen t-shirt again!).  The gig was a double-header with Michael’s band Cold Planet, featuring Chris, their brand new singer.

We found out on Thursday afternoon (4/5) that due to a scheduling hiccup, the show was going to take place on Friday and not Saturday.  Consequently Mike was not going to be able to make it, and none of the Cold Planet guys (with the exception of Michael) were going to be there either.  Michael, Art and I decided to resurrect “The Art Williams Experience” (he still doesn’t like the name, but he won’t read this, so it’s OK) and do a set.  After our regularly scheduled practice on Thursday evening (minus Mike since he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the show), the three of us quickly ran through a quickly made-up set of 3 originals and 3 standards.

So Friday came.  I took the bus home from work and it took me a while in Friday night traffic since I work in San Jose.  I had just enough time to have a quick dinner, load up the equipment in the car, get ready a bit and head over to the gig.  The City of Hayward has recently changed the direction of some of its downtown streets, and I think it’s an improvement, but can get a bit confusing.  I drove aimlessly for a few minutes trying to find a good spot but ended up parking two blocks away, which is no big deal, just that I had to carry my amp, bass, cords, etc. uphill for two blocks.  Janeen, Michael and Art were already there.  Looks like Michael had a scary choking incident as they were getting ready to leave.  Fortunately, he was all better and ready to go, if a bit shaken up.  They almost went the wrong way on a busy downtown street, and although they found a good parking spot, there was some police/fire activity going on near the entrance.

We had also found out that Mike was going to make it after all, which was some awesome news.  Also, Chris, Cold Planet’s new singer, was there also.  "The Art Williams Experience" took the stage at the scheduled time and we went through our six-song set.  It was pretty good considering the amount of preparation we had (none).  There wasn't a lot of people, but it was funny (to me at least) when about a third of the folks there got up and left in the middle of our set.  It looked like they were all together and had to go, so I’m sure it wasn't because we sucked or anything; it just looked funny.  I decided to explore with varying degrees of success some different bass runs for future reference.

After The Art Williams Experience, Michael and Chris took the stage for an acoustic preview of the rebirth of Cold Planet, Mark III (see if you get that reference!).  They played a cool three-song set.  I’m looking forward to Cold Planet’s upcoming show on April 20.

Then it was showtime baby!  Mike got there with basically no time to spare.  Janeen and Art warmed up the crowd by playing a song as Mike set up.  Since I was standing up there already, I very quietly noodled on the bass since I hadn't played the song before.  We got things started strong as always with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”.  In the middle of the song, this guy stands at the doorway of The Bistro and starts screaming “THAT IS NOT YOUR SONG!!!!  THAT IS NOT YOUR SONG!!!!”  Dude was pretty upset about it.  We kept on playing like the seasoned, grizzled road dogs that we are, and the bartender quickly got him the heck out anyway.  I think he thinks he wrote the song or something.  We saw him later having a great time outside!

After this it was all smooth sailing.  We hadn't played together in over a week, but it was all good.  I even broke out some backing vocals to the delight of the audience – well, at least to the delight of two people in the audience (who told me so) – since the extra mike was there from Cold Planet’s acoustic set.  The downtown Hayward Friday night wanderers came in after seeing/listening to the band from outside, and we packed the place up.  As the show progressed, people were dancing, smiling, having a good time and the band was having a blast as well.  After our closing number (a world premiere!) we got some very generous, enthusiastic applause and “ENCORE! ENCORE!!” calls.

We were all happy, and it was the perfect ending to a couple of difficult days.

Chris was nice enough to take pictures and record some video.  When Janeen went to upload it, THE COMPUTER WIPED OUT ALL THE FILES!!!  Unbelievable!

This short clip, uploaded by Janeen, is the only existing footage of that awesome evening!

Janeen Leah's next show:  Saturday April 20, 2013 at the Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco.  Get your tickets early here:

Now that the weather is getting nicer, where would you like to see us play?