Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 9 , 2009 - Ritz Carlton Chicago

The Ritz Carlton is a wonderfully run venue, with a great, attentive staff who work hard to make the experience a pleasant one. That being said, it is still the absolute worst load in ever. We complain every time we come here, but it is what is. This time around, the equipment transportation/load-in/set-up responsibilities fell to Vince and John because Chris went to Disney.

V & J, being the rock solid dependable folk that they are, left at 4:15pm, hoping to get there at 5:30, after telling the catering staff they'd be there at 5:45, and contracting for a 6:30pm arrival. Get all that? Traffic and rain made travel just brutal, so we got there at 6:45. Thats right, 2 and a half hours to get from Orland to downtown. After a frantic set up, following 4 trips thru the bowels of the Ritz (video here), Vince & John retired to the employee locker room, where John enjoyed a refreshing shower before returning to the ballroom.

As always, the Cystic Fibrosis people put on a great event. WGN's Jackie Bange was the mistress with the mostest, and was a charming emcee. This year's crowd was very lively and hung out all the way thru midnight. Gina Knight rocked the house on drums, Chris Gorcik brought in a beautiful wooden electric upright bass, and the bone section featured the tandem sub duo of Rich and April. We were on, chart after chart, no fillers - relentless swing baby, and the crowd loved it. I will say this, this sort of gig tells me that the Monday night rehearsals are worth it.

So, back to the equipment truck. Vince took a calculated risk and left the truck parked down in the loading area of the Ritz. It was tucked away in an inconspicuous spot, but illegally parked nonetheless. No worries, we came down and found the truck where we left it.

We should have left well enough alone. But no. So we finished loading out at around 1am. Vince, John and Ed decide it had been awhile since a visit to our old haunt, the South Loop Club. We had several delicious beverages and a nice order of cheese fries. Vince played some Little Feat on the jukebox, and then we left.

The truck is gone.

Hilarity ensues as John and Vince realize that the truck, and all the equipment, is gone, and start yelling for Ed, who has walked off the other way. One thing about Outcasts, we are a silver lining lot, so instead bemoaning the fact that we'd been towed, we looked on the bright side and talked about how thankful we were that the truck wasn't stolen. Thanks to Ed for driving us to 17th and Western. Here we see Vince at 2:20am, asking for the '1st Tow Free' special. The clerk was not amused. Talk about a buzz killer.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 5, 2009 - Hackney's Swing Session

Its good to be back, people! Good to be back! We only took the month of September off, but it seemed much longer. Very nice to have young Ms Knight back in the Monday night fold, however temporary it may be. Our thoughts go out to her worthy constituent, Steve Hawk, who underwent back surgery last week.

We played some really challenging material tonight, most notably 'Tickle Toe' and 'Perdido'. Tickle Toe has a wicked, wicked sax soli that we're going to nail eventually. It'll make a great opener. Basie's Down for Double worked out very well, although the bass part was missing a measure or two. And Perdido, well we got to open up on Perdido. Rob Zetl brought home a serious couple of choruses on guitar, and was matched by Terry Connell and Bruce Gibson on trumpet and tenor sax respectively.

Near the end of the night, the pretty waitresses were left in charge of the building, at which point they became convinced that there was a knife wielding intruder hiding in the back of the kitchen, because they kept hearing noises. We left, so I hope that turned out ok for them.

Set 1
Artistry in Boogie, Shiny Stockings, Why Don’t You Do Right, 9:20 Special, I'm Beginning To See The Light, Meditation, I Only Have Eyes For You, Down For Double, Best Is Yet To Come, I Get A Kick Out Of You, More, Moten Swing

Set 2
Tickle Toe, Almost Like Being in Love, Perdido, Boogie Blues, Sway, Lean Baby, Cheek to Cheek, Alright OK