I played an unexpected concert on the 4th of July.
I bring my guitar with me just about everywhere I go. Parties. Barbeques. Vacations. My default social state is to be idly playing guitar, and I don’t like to subject other people’s instruments to my style of playing and non-stop litany of alternate tunings.
Not surprisingly, I was armed with my acoustic axe in Vermont this weekend. I didn’t expect I’d be performing anywhere, but figured our idle days would leave me plenty of time to rehearse my new AC covers and some newer originals.
Kat apparently took it as a challenge to find me a place to play over the weekend. And, of all nights to find an opportunity, the one she discovered was Saturday night – right on the 4th of July: a local open mic at the Ripton Community Coffeehouse, topped by a performance by local band Twist of the Wrist.
When I first hear about a venue I get a very tangible picture in my head; they are seldom accurate. In this instance I was picturing a small coffee shop – perhaps as a part of a larger general store or community center – with sparse seating and a small riser doubling as a stage. It would be a fun night out. I’d play some newer stuff, and maybe finally play my cover of “Independence Day” live!
Mindful of the tendency of Philly open mics to never start on time, we left the farm on the late side for our up-mountain trek up to Ripton. We arrived at the “community coffee house” to discover it was a converted church, its parking lot overflowing with vehicles. Inside there was a foyer with a box office staffing by a twinkling attendant. The main room had many rows of seats (all full!), a proper stage, a snack bar, and a balcony(!).
Once again, my mental picture was off by a country mile.