We honestly weren’t sure what to expect from our show at Beefeaters. We knew it was going to be an entirely different kind of show than the one we had at the Model T, but it was the same town and so we just kind of expected maybe something similar. We were wrong. And in the best way!
Before the show, Jared and I spent over an hour on the phone with a representative of an entertainment agency that has been kind of pursuing us since last November. It’s nothing to go into detail about at this point, but after we dropped Rudy off with mom and dad for some Grandma and Grandpa time during our “kid-free” gig, we were in a kind of emotionally crazy space. That kind of feeling going into a gig can go a couple different ways, depending on the crowd, the sound system, the load in…I mean, it really all contributes. So, to get a “perfect” night where all the elements line up is really something.
We both had our game face on. We got to play inside where the humidity couldn’t touch us, the bugs could take a flying leap off the face of the earth, the service was given with a smile (even when it got busy and they said we brought the biggest crowd), and the people were kept drinking, comfortable and entertained. There were some repeat fans from the Model T, but 3/4 of the crowd was new. Some were there to see Jared because they were old school friends/acquaintances/fellow sports mates/band friends/or they knew his family somehow. Others came out because they just love live music and Beefeaters usually has good live music on Thursday nights.
It took about 30 minutes to get a solid read on the people. We eased them in with some softer CS tunes like Blanket and Stronger, but then started to pick it up a bit with Take Me Down and eventually closed set one with Fallin’. By then, they were at least interested enough to stick around, order another drink, and see what happened next.
We sold some merch after our first set, and people seemed generally pleased, but I still felt like, it being a work night, most of the audience would start to head out. Quite the contrary. More people began to filter in! Tables filled up, people who really wanted to listen moved closer to the front, and the bar staff started hustling! The crowd truly started to sink into our show and loosen up, laughing, nodding, crying and hollering back at us! We had them. The relationship solid, we began to let our true selves out more and more. By the end of the night, we had people holding our hands, begging us to come back, buying t-shirts and modeling them around the room, taking selfies and pictures, buying us drinks and leaving overflowing with a full heart of an entertainment feast. To give you an idea…usually I do one really big “show” number like Elixir Salesman OR Minnie the Moocher. I had already done Elixir and had gotten a standing ovation, but, when our show was done, we got another standing O and a demand for an encore. We just looked at each other and knew it had to be Minnie. We brought the house down. One of my favorite things that people say is, “I’ve paid top dollar to see huge stars and entertainers, and you guys are every bit as good, if not better than them!” Obviously, we feel honored to be included in such company, but I also think it’s really cool that we bring the level of entertainment and energy that you’d pay for in an arena, but the intimacy and still, quiet moments you may find in a small, underground jazz club in NY that’s so exclusive that only 20 people know about it. I’d like to say we do it every time, regardless of the crowd…but, I don’t think I can, honestly.
Again, it boils down to relationships. If you are trying your best and hardest to have a conversation with someone who keeps ignoring you, or talking when you are, or leaving during some point you’re trying to make, or any number of rude things, it’s nearly impossible to have a good relationship with that person. Now, imagine the audience as the other “person” in a relationship with us. There are roles we each have to play. Sure, it’s different each time, and that keeps it fresh and exciting. That’s why Jared and I haven’t had a set song order for several years. We listen to our audience. We see how they look at us and try our best to feel what they are asking for or giving us. Sometimes, it’s a very dainty signal, and other times, an obvious and bold request. Either way, it’s a delicate balance between both parties, and it must be navigated carefully to produce the best results. Now, I’m not going to give away all our secrets, nor am I going to take all the credit…I mean, sometimes, there’s just straight up magic in the air. Maybe this was one such night. Either way, the crowd was incredible and we were flying. The absolute best way to bid our farewell to Jared’s home town of Bradford…
Jared here: I’ve been to Beefeaters a number of times. Most recently, for a class reunion a couple years ago. But the last time I played there was as a trombonist for my high school jazz ensemble. It was quite a trip to be back there playing in this capacity. Okay, back to Jessi.
Except we weren’t done. Remember, Rudy stayed with Grandma and Grandpa??? Well, as we stopped to get gas, we heard some live music coming from a local dive bar that Jared and his buddies used to congregate at upon their holiday returns from college. The Corner Bar. “Hey,” Jared said. “We don’t have to be home any particular time, and we’re kid free adults tonight! Wanna go out for s beer?” Do I???? An impromptu date night with the most handsome man in the world. Yep!
So we headed over and got just outside the front, and….”Hey you…” some very drunk people approaching and pointing. “Hey. You’re…you are Champ…you are Champagne, aren’t you? Champagne Sunday?” One of the girls had gone to school with Jared. He knew her immediately and said, “Yes we are!” She said, “You have no iddeeeaaaaa who I am, do you?” He rattled her name off right away, shutting her up as kindly as he could, while her friend kept trying to get me to sing with the poor guy singing some cover tune inside. “No thank you,” I said. “We are just on a quiet, non working date. But I’m flattered.” As we all walked inside, their attention turned to beer and we were safe. As the artist said his goodnights and thank yous, someone yelled “Brown Eyed Girl”. He kind of smiled, put his head down and said, “Ok.” with a pretty damn good attitude. As I sat there and watched him do a really great job of the song, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed and grateful for the way our night had gone, and what a true joy it is to do what we do. It NEVER escapes us that, somehow, we have made a whole career never, not one time, having had to finish any of our shows with an encore of “Brown Eyed Girl”.
We finished our beers, chatted with the musician a bit, then headed home. A full and happy couple, proud of our hard work getting us where we are, but also excited to know there’s so much more work to do.