Yesterday was a busy day. It started with the San Francisco Lower Haight Art Walk where various musicians and artists are sponsored by the local businesses in Lower Haight. They either showcase their art in the store or perform at the door. Overall, a positive vibe and it brings a lot of energy to the neighborhood. And the best part for me was that I got to contribute to that energy.
Thanks to Manny I got to drop a 30 minute set on behalf of Black Pancake Records. It was a short set, so I thought I should go all out and make it as energetic as possible. My thoughts were this: only a handful of people would sit and listen to the whole set, and that the majority of folks would just be walking through, hearing only bits of songs that I play. In which case, I might as well go full blast so they will start bobbing their heads regardless of what song they walk through. I tried to pay attention to the crowd to see if this strategy was working and it seemed like it actually was. Some people even started dancing for a few seconds as they walked across the street. One memorable moment near the end of my set was when I played “Suddenly It’s Yesterday” by Freda Payne and the three guys that were setting up to go on after me all lost it at the same time. They started dancing, laughing, and singing along and I got some high fives for dropping it. It definitely felt good to get a reaction like that from listeners. Big thanks to Manny for letting me rep Black Pancakes.
Afterwards i went over to Rooky Ricardo’s to have a back and forth with Dick. I’d play three records from my collection and he’ll hunt through the store for two songs with a similar sound. This turned out to be an interesting challenge for me because I had to group songs by what I thought was the same “sound”. The back and forth lasted three hours and near the end of it we were both burnt out. Dick beat me to it and took a nap on the store couch. I continued to play records and tried to keep a lounge-like vibe in the store by playing songs like Joe Simon’s “Drowning in the Sea of Love”.
Dick then woke up, refreshed, and asked me to fetch him the Joe Simon box that was stowed away on the high shelf. He started digging through it and pulled out a half dozen songs he thought I should have. He then told me to switch places with him so he can man the table. Not being one to argue, I dropped down on the couch and tried to catch some Zs. Dick, masterfully, played the perfect series of songs to lullaby me to sleep.
By the time I woke up, I saw that Dick added records that he was going to give me as gifts to my already tall stack. They were the songs that he played while I was snoozing plus a few others. Needless to say, I was ecstatic and thankful. I got on the turntable and started playing the Joe Simon songs Dick picked out earlier and ended up getting these as gifts too! The man really knows how to take care of his friends.
And now it was closing time and, energy-wise, I wasn’t one hundred percent yet even though I took a nap. But I was happy because I got to leave the shop with a stack of 40 new records, two pretzels, and good feeling. I had a lot of chores waiting for me at the house and needed to rest up for an underground farewell party at Koko Cocktails.
Six hours later, around midnight, I left the house with Moses towards Koko’s. The first thing I saw when I got in was Armand playing 45s on the tables by the door. I greeted him and asked him for information about Madrone. He said he’ll be playing there this coming Saturday. I’m hoping I can get in this time. The vibe on that level was cool and shortly thereafter, Gabe, the third musketeer from our household, who just landed at the airport on a trip from the East Coast, met up with us. But what was really cool was the underground space Koko’s revealed.
I guess this was their last event at this location before moving on to a new location on Pine and Polk and they were going all out. The rule was that they’d stop letting people enter after 2am and the party would go on until 6 in the morning. The basement was separated by color, blue for the makeshift bar and red for the dance floor. Also I bumped into T.O.D., the DJ who let me spin at his happy hour gigs and also let me team up with him on Mama Knows Best; I got a lot of appreciation and respect for this man. And not to mention Manny was there, supplying that crazy thumpin’ music that made the crowd go bananas. I was vibing out and dancing house all night until 4am. And suddenly it’s yesterday. What a busy, busy day.
(Note: I accidentally deleted all of the pictures I took yesterday from my camera! And I had some great shots too…)