Yes, I finally did it! I played two songs at the Arts Café last night. I played “One Great City” by the Weakerthans and one of my own songs, currently titled “Leaving as Enemies.”
I had a couple of friends with me, one of whom also performed. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of the first one. It was just something I had to get out of the way. And now that it is out of the way, I feel comfortable inviting friends to come and watch.
When it was my turn, I felt surprisingly relaxed. I took my guitar up to the stage, and said something along the lines of “This is my first time doing this in front of people. So maybe I should just screw up right away to get it out of the way.”, and then I purposely played some random chord and said “ahh.”. After that, I got some laughter and started with my first song, One Great City. When practicing in front of a friend of mine, I would often forget the words, but on my own I would never have that problem. So the last few days before the show I tried not to think about the words individually, but more of the story of the song, and that seemed to help a lot. I didn’t mess up any of the words, but I remember messing up one small part on the guitar which I was able to recover from. I remember thinking about half way through the song, “Wow, this is awesome. This feels really good.”, and I remember smiling big at that moment.
After the first song, I talked to the audience a bit about picking names for songs. I don’t really have a name for my song, but it feels natural to call it “Leaving as Enemies” because that is how the chorus, and the song, ends. I made a comment on how Nirvana was a big part of my life growing up, and none of their song titles had words from the songs. So I jokingly said I should call it something like “Dopamine.” That also got some laughs. Laughter definitely makes you feel more comfortable.
My friend MAD went up after me. He played one of his own songs, called “Emotional Recall” and an Elton John song called “Your Song”. MAD is a pretty awesome performer. He really has no fear.
I’m working on recording some covers. When I feel comfortable enough, I’ll post them on the blog. Next week I think I’m going to play “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan, and some other song that I’ll try to learn between now and then. This is a good way to force myself to build up a collection of songs to play.
Oh, and if you see my play at one of these shows, feel free to drop me a comment. I appreciate feedback, and I’m always looking to meet new people and make new friends.