I braved the snow and headed to Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) to catch Paul Burke's show there. Paul himself stopped by for a while, but he was performing with his other band, other/other/other at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) that same night (in a sadly under-advertised show). Starting out was The Bogs Visionary Orchestra who played a rich tapestry of their modern Americana. Next was Eric the Taylor who I also liked: one guy playing ethereal, meditative, synthesized soundscapes. I'm really glad I stopped by.
Paul encouraged me to go to The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) as well so I went there and caught the tail-end of other/other/other. Next was Cuddle Magic who I hadn't seen before. They are a large band with a variety of instruments. They play what I've come to call "motley folk" like Baby Shiver's Boutique but with their own nearly orchestral arrangement. I was getting tired, and alas, couldn't stay for the rest of the night. I'll look forward to seeing them sometime soon, though.
Ali and I stopped by Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) to see Gaylord. When we arrived, the crowd was unusually sparse, but I figured I had just predicted on the wrong end of things: I commented when we were leaving Ali's that if I get there at 8 p.m., the band won't start until 10:30, but if I arrive at 9 p.m., they will have already played — more often than not, it's the latter case. I even checked their chalkboard schedule and Gaylord was listed — I was concerned that I mistakenly arrived at the other, identically named Boulder Coffee Co. (955 Genesee St.)
Well, we waited for an hour or so, but no crowd began to form. In fact, I saw nobody else who I've become acquainted as friends of the guys in the band. I asked at the bar and was told that Gaylord would not be playing. Apparently every other Gaylord fan got the memo.
It would have been helpful if Boulder had updated their website earlier than today: I last checked it yesterday. It would have been courteous if they had a sign at the bar — or, perhaps, offered the information without prompting. In the past, I have found the serving staff (not necessarily the people working this night) to be apathetic at best and downright hostile toward live bands. They'd turn off the "house" music so the band could play only with great reluctance and repeated prompting (sometimes, not at all). They'd be openly negative about nearly every act I've ever seen — usually making snide comments about how much they suck whenever I'd get a drink. And I've never seen them be supportive of unusual requests, like when a performer would like to extend the night for an enthusiastic crowd. To top it off, the start-times of shows tend to vary, and bands appear and disappear from the schedule at an alarming rate.
But you know, it works from a business sense. After all, if I had known beforehand, I probably wouldn't have come down and wouldn't have spent any money. So thumbs-up to you, Boulder. Good job!
I went to Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) to check out SoundRabbit. The place was dead with just a few musicians, myself, and the slowly building crowd for the Open Mic Comedy. It's too bad there weren't more people because SoundRabbit is a nicely rhythmic, expertly proficient acoustic-driven band. Several times they reminded me of Paul Simon's acoustic solo stuff, but maybe with a country twang. They teeter right on the edge of "jam band" but without the annoying vapid repetition of the latter — they reminded me more of The BuddhaHood than any of a billion Grateful Dead wannabes.
During the show Russ (the lead singer) was having problems with the sustain pedal on his keyboard — it seemed to be stuck. It got so bad he just unplugged it in the middle of the song and tried to hold notes manually — given the staccato style of most of the song it appeared to work. Between songs I dashed up to see if I could fix it. I didn't even make it back to my table when I noticed it had a switch on the side so it would operate as either momentary or push-on/push-off and it was in the undesirable position. They were all very appreciative that I had "saved the tour" (although I think they'd have figured it out somewhere in the van on the road before their next gig) and gave me a free CD.
Afterward I talked with them a little bit before they had to get going — the odd Sunday Rochester stop was a convenient one between Chicago and Boston. Since I've been to Denver quite a few times I'm familiar with Boulder a little as well so we talked geography a bit. Several of the band members are from Massachusetts originally so they were doing a stop at Mom and Dad's for the night.
Anyway, we also talked a little about the RBT Backstage program. Basically they invite fans to join the backstage program for $20/year and in exchange, they get access to all the music recorded that year (and presumably before) to download along with other perks — if you're "in" the backstage, then you get access to everything, and if you aren't, then you can go to shows and buy CD's like anyone else. What they then do is to donate their merchandise sales to charity rather than trying to scrape out a tour on the often not-so-deep pockets of people at the shows. I imagine it makes for a more relaxing tour — they said the travel money was mostly already budgeted with a few major college shows to cover the rest — so it's never an issue of selling enough stickers and T-shirts to fill the van with gas.
I'll probably send them a message tipping them off to the idea of Creative Commons licensing so they can make a (theoretically) legally binding agreement that their works are copyright by them and they license their works freely under certain circumstances — like to share in a non-commercial setting or to remix the works given the same license is provided.