About sobottabass

Musicians listen to and play a lot of music. Go figure. This is my attempt to document the gigs and albums that my eyes and ears are taking particular note of at any given time.

Izzy and the Catastrophics, mid-tour

Well, it has been an interesting few days. Got into Chicago on Sunday afternoon, met the band at the airport, and was happy to find they were all great guys–very cool, very welcoming. We went to a band friend’s house to rehearse for a few, then over to the club (Smoke Daddy BBQ–a very typical juke joint-style bar/restaurant). The other bass player played most of the set so I could watch and check things out, though I did get to sit in (mostly successfully) on a few songs in each set.

The gig ended relatively early (11ish), so we headed over to The Exit afterwards. The bar is billed as Chicago’s first punk bar, and it fits the description. Female bartenders dressed like KISS, bondage/burlesque/fire show upstairs, KISS/butt rock karaoke downstairs. Needless to say, it was not an early night.

Mon. was a travel day, so we hit the road and drove to Cincinnati, where Chapman’s (trombone) parents live. Mon. & Tues. were sort of catch-up/relax days, and then a gig at MOTR Pub downtown on Wed. night. It went extremely well, and I also had my first chance to drive the van (albeit for a few blocks).

Thurs. ended up being a bit of a mess. Due to a late start out of Cincinnati and incorrect gig start time info from the band’s booking agent, we ended up missing the gig we were supposed to have in Toledo. Fortunately for us, Mikey, the band’s drummer, had met someone on Wed. night who worked at another bar in town. She had expressed interest in having us play there at some point, so Mikey called her up and set up an impromptu late-night mini-set. It ended up being lots of fun (gigs where you don’t really care often are), and at the very least, we recouped the cost of the gas.

Today is off to Charleston, WV. After the gig tonight, the gang drops me at the airport and I camp out there until my flight at 8 a.m. back to Seattle.

It has been a great tour, but I am definitely ready to be home. Lots of catch up with things I haven’t had the time or means to get to, and of course time with family & friends again.

Oh, and of course, a gig in Bellingham, 2 1/2 hours north of Seattle, tomorrow night. What a way to come home.

Izzy and the Catastrophics, pre-tour

So this Sunday, I will head out on a short tour with a rock n’ roll/blues/country/swing/other stuff band called Izzy and the Catastrophics. I’m excited, as well as a bit anxious, as this is the first touring gig I’ve done since playing with Three Beers ’til Dubuque back in Wisconsin, and that was at the end of college over ten years ago. Should be a great experience, and a chance for me to hang out in the Midwest for a few days, if nothing else.

The plan is to do some blog updates while I’m out on the road. Stay tuned!

Fitz & the Tantrums – Pickin’ Up The Pieces

So we all know that Trent Reznor had a woman (or multiple women, if he didn’t pay attention) do some really bad things to him, and that he exorcizes those demons through Nine Inch Nails. Well, imagine that Trent decided his feelings were best expressed not through industrial music, but Motown. Do so, and you have a lyrical idea of where Fitz & The Tantrums are coming from.

That is not to say that FATT is negative music–it’s actually pretty uplifting, because while Fitz and the gang are singing about the ends of relationships, it comes very much from the “light at the end of the tunnel” point of view. “Pickin’ Up The Pieces,” to me, is that moment of clarity that you have after that messy breakup. You know, the one where they break up with you, lead you on for months, then drop the news on you that they’re in love with someone else and act genuinely surprised when you take said news badly. Not that I would know about this experience first-hand or anything…

What is especially interesting to me about my enthusiasm for Fitz is that I never listen to lyrics. Never. It should not be surprising to know that lyrics and vocals to me are what the bass is to most people: you know it’s there, and you know it’s important, but you couldn’t really identify what’s going on there unless you really, really tried and had someone there who could explain a lot of it.

Beyond the lyrics, though, The Tantrums are a HELL of a band. The bite from FATT’s website is a pretty good encapsulation of the chops in this group: “Funky drummer John Wicks is a Motown B-side aficionado and prolific session player, Jeremy Ruzumna manned the keyboards and was musical director for Macy Gray. James King backed De La Soul and bassist Joseph Karnes is a well sought after session player.” Fitz did his homework, or at least whoever put his band together did. Pocket pocket pocket.

Check this record out–you will not regret it, and it may just help you out of some rough times.