Systematic Chaos & Cars For Pinks

Systematic ChaosI had a great time performing with Systematic Chaos at Katie’s Cars For Pinks auto show on Sunday. Poor Del (our drummer) was left to start setting up by himself because I got there late (though I was a good bit earlier than our guitar player, John – neener neener). Even though the Just In Time Band wrapped up its gig the night before (at Chickie’s Pub in New Port Richey) earlier than I expected, I still didn’t get home until after 2am Sunday morning (and probably drifted off to sleep around 3:00). Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of shape when I crawled out of bed on Sunday, and was already running on fumes when I got to Quaker Steak & Lube in Clearwater. Del had already started setting up, and I did what I could to help. But by the time we went on stage, I was already a little green around the gills.

Overall, though, it went well. Since someone suggested that we face the parking lot where the cars would be, we were facing North, with the afternoon sun to our left. Since I’m always on the left, I was in the sun the whole time, and it took a lot out of me. But between my dear Victoria and a sweet waitress named Rayna both bringing me water, I got through it with no real harm done.

The show itself was a bit rough. Our guitar player, John, said himself that he was off his game. For my part, I had already suffered wear and tear from the Just In Time gig the night before, and by the end of the first set my fingers were a mess. I’d split a nail into the quick on one finger the night before (so it was sore as hell), and had developed a large blister on the tip of another. By the middle of the 2nd set, I was begging John for one of his guitar picks, and then played live with a pick for the first time since the late 1980’s. Maybe I need to re-think my caveman playing technique.

As much as we wanted to make a good impression on the folks at Quaker Steak, our performance was decent, at best. We’d hoped to make an impression on the manager so that maybe we could get in there on some other night, but I’m sort of afraid that our un-even performance might have turned this into a missed opportunity. We’ll see. If nothing else, we didn’t entirely suck, and we’ll be able to come back to Quaker with some great pictures from our upcoming Guavaween gig at Market On 7th on Halloween. Hopefully Quaker’s manager will throw us a bone.

The crowd was a little strange at the Quaker Steak. We’ve sort of discussed why this might be so. John had a theory that maybe the Quaker regulars saw the car show people as outsiders, and there might have been a little friction because of it. All I know is that it seemed like a lot of the folks in the table area outside were fairly determined to ignore the band as much as possible. We got responses from some songs that surprised, and then we got nothing from songs I thought would go over well. I never did figure out what the crowd wanted. Unless, of course, they just wanted us to shut up so they could watch the game on the televisions outside.

All in all, I had a pretty good time. Katie didn’t raise all of the money she needs for registration fees to walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day, but she brought in a really big chunk of it. I think by anyone’s reckoning, the auto show was a success. Estimates I’ve heard put attendance at 500, but I think it was a little lower than that. Of course, over the entire afternoon it could have reached 500. We, Systematic Chaos, delivered on our promise to donate all of our tips to Katie’s fund, but sadly it was only about $8. Katie was gracious about it, though.

I’ll just close by saying that I was glad that I could help Katie (if we did so by playing), and I’m very appreciative that John and Del were willing to do this. Sure, part of it was to raise our profile, but I think we all were more than happy to pitch in. Maybe I felt obligated to do it, but they didn’t have to, and I genuinely want to thank them for that.

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