Posts Tagged ‘live music’

“Music, musings, motherhood and my every changing mood” is the tagline of this blog. Sometimes my ever changing mood makes it impossible for me to pick a direction and stick with it, which is where I am at in my life at the moment. So, since I cannot seem to concentrate long enough to jot down some musings, here’s some music. This song is older than my youngest son (who turns 7 this year). Glad to get it out in the day light.

He’s riding on nicotine
Jacked up on adrenaline
And he can’t stop talking
He’s telling his life story
Well I’m sucker for an almost-was
True believer, crusader for the cause
Tell me everything that there ever was
In your days of glory
Well give me a hit of your cigarette
It makes me high, yeah it get me lit
Everywhere you’ve ever been is everywhere
I’ve been trying to get
But that don’t matter somehow
‘Cause we’re both here now

December morning just a little before 3
And all the stop lights are blinking off and on like Christmas tree
But I’ve got to get home to my family
So you walk me back to my car
I know in a month or two
You’ll be sick of me and I’ll be bored with you
When I’ve heard all those stories a dozen times through
And I still won’t know who you are
Well give me a hit of your cigarette
It makes me high, yeah it get me lit
Everywhere you’ve ever been is everywhere
I’ve been trying to get
But that don’t matter somehow
‘Cause we’re both here now


I mess around like this all the time but rarely bother to record it. I’m not sure when I filmed this. Based on the length of my hair, probably a year or so ago.

For the gear heads:Korg Kaossilator Pro for drums, Moog Little Phatty run through a TC Electronics delay, Yamaha CS2x and a loop pedal.

Hope you enjoy it!

I do not have a direct line to the  music god(dess), but I am lucky enough to be acquainted with some who do.  Karina Denike and Lily Taylor are two exceptionally talented people who create amazing music and perform it effortlessly.  While they are both strong solo performers, together they create something absolutely magical.



  My personal footnote – Karina Denike is an excellent vocal teacher who coached me through all the recording sessions of my solo CD.  Lily Taylor does amazing things with a keyboard, a loop pedal and effects pedals and inspired me to experiment with a similar set up that eventually lead to my own solo performance set.  Guitarist, James Frazier, is also an audio engineer and helped me out a great deal on the final production of my solo CD.  


We had a fun little show at 50 Mason Social House on Friday, Dec 20th.  Here’s a clip of “Say Anything”, written by Pauli Gray.

Shot in the DarkWe’ll be back there in March, so stay tuned!



It will be loud.

Join us!

Just a quick post of some videos to illustrate my summer.

First up, two clips from the Debora Iyall Group at the WorldOne Festival in El Cerrito on July 4th.  We opened the set with a song called “99″ which is off of Debora’s solo CD Stay Strong.


We recorded the Elvis Costello tune, “Watching The Detectives”, as part of a compilation called Beyond Belief: A Tribute to Elvis Costello. The song worked out so well for us that we’ve added it to the set list.


Finally, here’s a video I just completed for Zoid.  I really enjoy the creative freedom involved in doing these videos.  Nate Toutjian, the main force behind the band, will give me a few suggestions, some video of himself singing the song, and the rest is up to me.  The music is so different from my typical listening fare, and also so evocative, that I find myself coming up with visual ideas that seem out of the realm of my usual repertoire.  Hope you enjoy it!







Saturday, May 18th marks the debut of a side project I’ve been working on with guitarist, Pauli Gray, called Shot in the Dark.   Pauli comes from a hard rock/punk perspective in his guitar playing and I of course am all about the synthesizer. We decided to meet in the middle with out influences, and so we’ve put together songs built on an electronic rhythm section with hard rock guitar to roughen up the edges.  Vocals tend to be a bit punk and we’ve got touches of dark wave and industrial thrown in for good measure.  The goal is to keep it high energy and fun.  It all takes place at Wild Side West in San Francisco with a start time around 6 pm.  It’s also a fundraiser for AIDS LifeCycle.    It would be great to see you there!

*Nevada City is . . .

A.)   Deceptively not in Nevada

B.)    California’s most well preserved Gold Rush Town

C.)    A little strange after dark

D.)   Where I found myself last Saturday night playing a gig with the Debora Iyall Band

E.)    All of the above


I love a good road trip, but I rarely take to the open road alone.  Still I found myself cruising down I-80 E towards Grass Valley with nothing but my keyboards and some new music this past Saturday afternoon, headed for a show with the Debora Iyall Band. While the keyboards didn’t do much more than occasionally rumble around in the back when I hit a rough patch of highway, the music turned out to be a great companion.  The road opened up to rolling, barren hills beneath an ultra-blue sky as lush as the  synth sounds on M83’s “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming”; the rustic countryside of Highway 49 provided both a compliment and stark contrast to plaintive vocals of EMA’s Grey Ship.  “When you see that ship, it is the ship you can see, when the grey ship calls it is calling for me.”

Pit stop on the road, and the end of the line for someone’s yellow plastic shades.

It was a good drive.

When I arrived in Nevada City I was  taken aback by the quaint nature of the town, but it soon lost its appeal .  Any meditative state the solitary drive had afforded me was quickly broken by the number of tourists darting in the path of my car as I crawled up and down the main street looking for Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center.

Cool stuff from Gold Rush Days

Thanks to bassist, Dave Wenger, I soon found the hall and a primo parking spot.

Dave Wenger, bassist extraordinaire!

We were there to play Nisenan Heritage Day, an event that celebrated the indigenous people of Nevada County.  The event included speakers, dancers and craftspeople.  Live music was an end-of-the-day cap off, so in the meantime I had a chance to walk around the downtown area and check out some cute jewelry shops as well as some historical artifacts in the town square.

Then I headed back to our makeshift green room and hung out with Debora until it was time to get on stage.

The stage at Miner’s Foundry is a good size and has hosted a wide range of musicians from Zepperella to The Dark Star Orchestra to Johnny Winter.  The sound was amazing, but leave it to me to be freaked out by the loudness of my own keyboards.  The set went off pretty well, but I had a couple of instances of stage fright where my mind drew a complete blank .  Still, the audience was appreciative.  Particularly a boy named Tyler who was dancing his heart out at the front of the stage and later made the effort to introduce himself to the band and offer us some chai tea.

We played two short sets and then it was time to pull it all down and turn things over to Shelly Covert & UnderCover, an amazing cover band that sent most of us back to our formative years with tunes from Heart,  REM and Georgia Satellites.

However, I was pretty hungry at that point, and since my fellow band mates had already wandered off on the quest for dinner, I took a late night stroll through Nevada City after dark.

Nevada City was a pioneer town and it has held on to the identity, if only for the sake of the tourist trade.  At night its quaintness take on an eerie quality, which was accentuated by a man in a black cape and top hat leading a crowd through the streets and telling stories of ghosts.  Certain alleyways were completely deserted, while other areas bustled with life; young people crowded around open storefronts like moths flocking to a flame.

One thing that has most definitely changed since the Gold Rush days are the prices.  I had a hard time finding a decent place that wasn’t in the $20 and up entrée price range.  I finally settled on Lefty’s Grill and had a yummy flatbread pizza.

Back at Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center, Shelly Covert, who has a phenomenal set of pipes, was heating the place up pretty good, but my band mates and I decided it was time to head out to our hotel, the Northern Queen.

Our drummer joked that we could trash the place as all true and good rock stars do.  I thought perhaps, since this was our first time out doing such a thing, we could simply set our TV sets outside of our room doors, rather than throw them out the window.  It’s good to have a goal, but to break it into smaller steps.

We checked in without event and I was just about to settle in when I realized my leftover pizza was still in the car.  Who doesn’t love some good leftover pesto pizza around midnight or so?  On my way out to retrieve said pizza, I ran into Steve-the-Guitarist and Rob-the-Drummer who asked if I wanted to go back to town for a drink.   Now I’ve heard the sirens’ call many times (it usually sounds like my cell phone ringing and when I answer they say, “Hey, Paula, why not come on out to this big rock and get smashed.  It’s pretty cool. We think you’ll like it.”   They’re usually right.)  Going back into town at 11 PM “for a drink” was a bad idea, especially when I was hoping to get an early start home in the morning, so of course 15 minutes later my pizza was safely in my room fridge, and I was driving back into Nevada City.


First we hit the saloon at The National Hotel. It’s the oldest bar in Nevada City and supposedly haunted.  It was full of the spirit of karaoke when we arrived, as evidenced by a young man doing his best at Train’s “Meet Virginia” while an older couple danced cheek to cheek like they were on the Lawrence Welk Show. Not long after that we found ourselves down the street at The Mine Shaft Saloon.


It was drinking as usual after that. Rob- the- drummer dropped a dime in the jukebox (okay, it probably was more than a dime) and put on some Hendrix , Rolling Stones and of course,“Never Say Never.”  A group of young’uns in spandex and big wigs kept us entertained for a good long while as they got progressively drunker.  Steve-the-guitarist questioned if we were in still in Nevada.  Shots of Patron and Jameson’s flowed freely , and the highlight of the evening for me (the designated driver who was not having shots of Patron) came when Rob-the-drummer passionately recounted the music video for Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”.

When last call came we headed out but forgot to leash our drummer and he escaped to the bar across the street, The National Hotel Saloon, where he stayed for a good long while, supposedly ghost hunting.

I got to bed at 2 AM, woke up around 6:30 AM and was on the road by 7:30 AM.  Road trips alone aren’t so bad after all.


* The correct answer is E.





Gina drivesI grew up in Pennsylvania watching  movies about  ordinary girls who run off to Hollywood, get discovered and become famous.  By the time I was in my teens I had decided I would move to Los Angeles as soon as I could, to start my music and acting career.   I finally moved to California in my 20’s, but to Northern California, which is a separate beast from Southern California.  I love the Bay Area and would not live anywhere else, but I still feel a tingle of excitement over the prospect of LA, so when I saw an opportunity to play a show in Southern California I jumped on it.

Nette Radio, an internet radio show dedicated to promoting unsigned female artists, is hosted by Annette Conlon.   Annette has combined her passion for music with her desire to make a difference in the world by putting together benefit shows once a month at The Talking Stick in Venice, CA.  Any artist who submits music to Nette Radio is invited to play a show, and that’s how I came to be traveling down Highway 5 on a Thursday evening with my friend, Gina.

Taking a road trip sans les enfants is a bit hedonistic, so I was particularly glad the show I was playing was benefiting the Los Angeles Veterans Hospital.  That helped balance out the guilt.  Gina had suggested we stay the The Standard, a cool hotel in downtown LA. I had no idea how the hotel was going to tip the scales of hedonism versus altruism way over in hedonism’s favor.

We had an easy drive down to Los Angeles and pulled into the parking lot around 8:30 pm, except I couldn’t tell if this was actually a hotel or a disco because even with the car windows rolled up I could hear the thumping bass of dance music coming from inside the lobby. People in club wear milled about outside while the valets helped us unload the car and take our things inside.  As far as I could tell we were checking into a nightclub.

Once we had our room key we headed up to the 6th floor.  Despite the party in the lobby, the red carpeted halls were deserted. “We need a big wheel to ride up and down these halls like in The Shining,” Gina joked.

Hotel RoomOur room turned out to be quite spacious with a 70’s minimalist flare.  Two mattresses sat atop of dais, a phone sat on the floor between them.  One of the mattresses was just a foot or so from a plexiglass wall which turned out to be part of the shower stall.  Upon further inspection of the sparse, European style bathroom, there were two floor-to-ceiling shower curtains that made up the shower enclosure.  The see through shower wall gave me pause, but upon inspection of the mini-bar I realized my suspicions were correct.  In addition to full bottles of Patron Tequila, and splits of Veuve Clicquot champagne, one could also purchase condoms and scented candles, all at moderately outrageous prices.  Spontaneity is expensive.   It would appear we were staying at The (One Night)Standard.

The Bathroom

Gina and I were starving so we decided to head up to the roof where there was food and drink to be had, but first we had to go back to the lobby and get a wristband to prove we deserved to be on the roof.


I'd like to be under the sea in The Standard's Biergarten in the dark

The rooftop bar provided an amazing view of downtown LA.  There was a pool, cabanas and a large lounge area, all very crowded.  Due to extreme hunger and the need for immediate gratification, we chose the Biergarten.  Yes, I said Biergarten. Nothing says downtown LA like a good liter of Hefeweizen and a bratwurst.   We sat at a white table surrounded by an ivy draped trellis, astro turf beneath our feet, 80’s pop music sung in German blaring from a nearby speaker, and for no reason we could discern, a movie projected on the wall of the parking garage across the street.   It was sensory overload-a-go-go; completely surreal, like Disney World for drunken hipsters.

After our boozy, greasy repast, we headed down the street to catch the remaining few moments the Downtown Art Walk, did a bit of shopping at a nearby bazaar and then headed back to the hotel. I wish I could say we then turned in for the night, but we didn’t . . .  “Early the next morning” describes both when I went to bed and when I woke up.  It doesn’t get much rougher than that.

Gina in the bathroom

We shoulda been sleeping!

I spent most of Friday morning recuperating, and then finally pulled it together enough to set up my equipment and practice while Gina went to the hotel gym, which is apparently just as surreal and kitschy as the rest of the place.

Puching dummy

Actual photo of Gina's workout. Check out the wristband.

We lunched at The Abbey in West Hollywood, where everyone was fit, beautiful, and potentially famous, before braving the late afternoon traffic over to Venice.  I couldn’t help but feel star struck driving down Santa Monica Boulevard through Beverly Hills, although some of the awe was buffered by not moving more than 15 miles per hour for most of the trip.

I arrived at The Talking Stick a little after 6 pm.  My good friend, Erika, and her family were already there, having made the two hour trek up from San Diego to catch my 25 minute set.  Having both Erika and Gina there to show their support made me feel truly blessed to have such amazing friends.

Erika and Fam

Erika and her BoyZ!

The Talking Stick is a nice coffee shop venue with a full stage, PA and fun ambience.  The tables filled up quickly and I was up first.  One of the biggest challenges I face in my life is learning to speak up for myself and ask for things I need; in this case I needed more of a sound check than the other performers.  The others were using acoustic instruments, save for a keyboard player using the venue’s keyboard.  My electronic instruments are a bit more dynamic than the average acoustic guitar.  When I hit the Roland sampler to trigger the drums for Fulcrum at the beginning of my set, the beat crashed through the PA in an auditory assault, causing everyone to cringe and jump.  This was not my first time to cause an audience to cringe and jump, and sadly it probably won’t be my last.  Still, I lost a bit of confidence right away, which never makes for a great performance.  I did my best to pull out of it and put on a good performance, but my vocals felt off, and when I got to my final song, Fan Fic, the Roland sampler gave me more volume level problems.  In a button-mashing panic to get things under control I screwed up the beat.  I really should have stopped and started over again, but I pressed on, embraced my failure and sang like I didn’t care.  Gina claims it worked, but I wasn’t so sure . . .

Talking Stick

On stage at The Talking Stick

You can watch it all here on Nette Radio’s Ustream channel, as it was broadcast live.

The other performers were very good: Gypsy and the Merry Mystics played some beautiful acoustic rock that incorporated two guitars and a keyboard player who doubled on flute; Ann-Marita used soulful country music to tell stories of her incredible life, having found her way to America from Norway by way of Australia; and The Red Herring wailed out some blues with punk rock rawness on acoustic guitar and harmonica.  The Conlons, comprised of Annette and her husband, Doug, finished the evening with joyful Americana music that showcased soaring harmonies and thoughtful lyrics.

I also picked up a cool Susan Nichole bag which was auctioned off as part of the fundraising for the evening. It was money well spent for a good cause.

Gina and I left the Talking Stick around 10 PM and the night was still young.  We went back to downtown LA and walked around LA Live for a bit looking for a place to eat.  We settled on Trader Vic’s and enjoyed some tropical drinks with our food.

Rum drink

Mai Tai me up, Mai Tai me down!

On the way back to the car we came across a tent city.  Thinking it might be an Occupy encampment we moved in for a closer look.  It turned out to be people camped out for the “Twilight:Breaking Dawn” Red Carpet event that was taking place on Monday.


Occupy Team Edward

Twihard sign

A small percentage of the 99% does this kind of thing

After that we were back at The (One Night)Standard.  Gina and I both enjoy photography (which is not the same as “Photography, know what I mean?  Wink Wink Nudge Nudge”) so we wanted to make use of the spectacle that was The (One Night)Standard.  Camera in hand we went on a photo safari of the 70’s kind:

Organ keys

Vintage organ in the lobby

Playing Organ

And made a friend who was feeling the vibe of The (One Night)Standard something fierce:


After our friend was escorted out by his friends, we continued with the photos:


The next day we woke up late-ish, grabbed some breakfast and hit the road by noon.  I’ll admit I felt just a touch sad that I’d had no brush with fame during the visit; no coincidental chain of events sent Michael C. Hall into the Talking Stick for a soy latte just as Fan Fic began, where his eyes would meet mine as I deftly hit the “sexy serial killer” trigger on my Roland.  . . Nope, didn’t happen, but  a Pennsylvania girl can dream.