Friday night at the Go Lounge

I played The Go Lounge in San Diego on Friday night. It was one of those shows that’s probably a really great example of what I should be writing about here. It was a Listen Local show set up by Cathryn Beeks. She books several nights in different venues around San Diego and I’ve been fortunate enough that she’s booked me in every one at one time or another over the past couple of years.

The Go Lounge is in La Mesa which is hecka far from all my friends in San Diego. I’d never been to that side of town before. So I arrive at about 7 for the 8 o’clock show (I was on at 8.30) and there’s not a lot of activity around the bar. The bar itself is pretty deserted and the area is not really a hoppin’ entertainment district. So I sit in my truck a little bit before venturing in. I meet Jared of The Mighty Sun. He was going on at 8. It’s us, the bartender, the owner, the soundman and Cathryn. And maybe two guys at the bar.

So I have this feeling that it’s another night in an empty bar. And I’m not dismayed exactly. It’s just… lonely, I guess. I had friends who were planning to come. But I almost felt like telling them, “Ya know, don’t bother.” Cause I’ve played too many of those shows to 1 or 2 friends and I just feel a mixture of guilt and debt toward them once they’ve come out and no one else has. Anyway, I’m looking at it like, maybe a few more people will show up but it’ll be a Friday night in a mostly empty bar and what good does that do me? It’s hard sometimes to fight off that feeling that I’ve spent so much time preparing for a show that when few people are there, it’s not worth the effort I expend on it. But I fought it off.

When several people arrived to see Jared, I hoped they’d stick around for me and I felt lucky that I was squeezed in between two acts. I was wrong to worry about an empty bar. Plenty of people arrived to hang out or see the bands after me. Jared’s friends hung around. My friends arrived. The bar was full when I went on.

Everyone was awesome and applauded after every song. The crowd wasn’t too loud or too quiet. Perfect bar atmosphere. The sound was great and I had a great time playing. A couple of times during my set I got that feeling that I do when I’m firing on all cylinders. It’s not an energy or excitement. And not even a high really. It’s just a satisfaction with what I’m doing. I like that feeling.