Kirsten Thien and her band are venturing out from the wilds of New York City and it’s friendly environs to cross the great American continent. We are featuring her smart, informal and informative updates from the road as she gets them to us, and hope that you good folks will enjoy these ‘Thien-bits’ and share them with your friends.
Today’s stop is in Proctor (Duluth) Minnesota where our heroine faces certain road hazards not uncommon to many an artist. Check back often as this is a really cool thing that she is doing.
May 10th 2012
Town: Proctor (Duluth), MN
Venue: Powerhouse Bar
We were surprised to hear from the agent that the owners thought we could have been louder at last night’s show. We got to the hotel with 48 minutes to shower, eat, do a vocal warm-up (at best a 20 minute minimum, but better to take 45 minutes to be ready for such long shows), and then run through our 6 brand new songs on the tour. Tough decisions were made under stress, leading us to “Today’s Regret”.
I was quite short with the guys about planning ahead for their meals so we can stay on time and not starve before the gig. Apparently, no matter how much you appreciate a person’s strengths, it’s easy to get focused on weaknesses. I sing about this every night in “Treat ‘im Like a Man” and even so, I sometimes forget the message. This week’s schedule is grueling, with five nights in a row of 4-hour shows (like running five vocal marathons in a row). Proper stretching and warm-up are essential to getting the high notes out on nights four and five so when that my vocal warm-up time gets crunched out of the schedule I become pretty stressed out. Still, I was a bit terse. “Sorry, guys. There was no need for the attitude – next time I’ll focus on the facts (smile).”
I would like to share a pet peeve I have. I am not someone who makes a big deal of birthdays. I am notorious for forgetting my friends’, my family’s, even my own! Sure, I can get coaxed into the occasion, but you are special to me (or not) whether or not it’s your birthday today. Well, tonight I am at the peak of my annoyance about people asking me to wish someone a Happy Birthday over the microphone, or worse yet, to sing “Happy Birthday”. At the very end of the night tonight, after pouring our hearts out for four hours, we started on our last song/encore, and a drunken girl who had just walked in two minutes ago interrupted me to be the third person to ask me to sing “Happy Birthday” to someone. Can’t they all get together at the beginning of the night or something? Also, I am an artist, not a party favor. We drove twenty-four hours in the car from New York to Minnesota to share music and art with music fans, not to wish a stranger “Happy Birthday”.
On top of that all, I really liked the first person I’d wished Happy Birthday to over the mic. She came early to see us on her special night, and she stayed all night listening intently and enjoying the music with her husband. It wasn’t until after the first set that her sister told me it was Berna’s birthday (and retirement the next day too!). We had a nice chat and no one had to ask me to wish her a Happy Birthday. I just wanted to because she was so sweet and it’s something I can to make her special day just a little more memorable. And so we dedicated a (Minnesota native son) Bob Dylan song to her and worked her name and a “Happy Birthday” rap into the tune. I didn’t want to cheapen that genuine birthday wish for some random drunk girl. If you want me to wish you a Happy Birthday, it’s best not to ask.
Meeting Berna and being part of her birthday and retirement celebration!
==================End May 10th
to be continued…..
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos: Dylan Wissing, Blues411