• Eri

Parting the Red Sea (our first bar gig)

The Red Sea Mediterranean Bar and Restaurant hosted us for a 25-minute show one snowy weeknight. It's a small bar in the West Bank at the U of Minnesota. Seems they have lots of rock shows and thirsty regulars that expect that genre to be awaiting them. 25 minutes, is the maximum time, and we could ask for more time if we sold more advanced tickets... so we had 25 minutes.

The gig at the Red Sea was a quick 11-day turn around from our C | P performance, so it we had to act quickly. Since we only had half the crew, our repertoire had to work with personnel availability. So, it was basically myself on marimba, Ashley on violin, Ben on cello, Eric on cajon and Elwyn on voice. The booking agency that invited us to play knew that we were categorized as "instrumental" "experimental" and "ambient". Odd that none of the groups that followed us were any of those.. To be safe, we went first, at 6:30, so at least our friends would make it when we played and they wouldn't have to wait for an arbitrary time depending on the order of bands playing that night.

At the beginning of our set, it seemed like the stereotypical "first gig" situation that you'd see in the movies-- dark and grungy, no one standing on the floor (everyone sitting in the surrounding tables), mic issues, the hecklers -- the whole package. I embraced it. It was refreshing, after being so nervous that maybe we'll fail at trying to be part of a different music scene, that wasn't the first thing in our heads.

It went by super fast. Here's some footage (check out our Youtube Channel for more stuff). Afterward, there were a handful of new people that were interested in learning more about 10th Wave and what that big xylophone was (and I've committed my life to explaining #marimbalyfe), and it was a joy to see the following bands (especially the ones that emerged from the heckling group), and eat some delicious food.

Within an hour and an half or so, the place was packed, music was blaring, people were cheering and hollering at the bands with their drink in hand- it was the Red Sea vibe. In some ways my insecurities chimed in, saying we were just the background music before the opening band. Honestly, I don't think it was the best we could have done in a bar like the Red Sea, but I don't regret playing somewhere where I'm not appreciated like in most classical concerts. If we base our efforts in 10th Wave to be appreciated in the world then it won't last. We are already seeing incredible support from our friends and family- when we were packing up the marimba that night, there already were 5 people there that had experience packing a 5-octave marimba one. The friends that showed up happened to help me throughout the years with my recitals, or they were on percussion crew on St. Olaf Band tours, so cleaning up was a piece of cake, and simply heart-warming that they have been supportive and being close by while 10th Wave is finally learning how to get up and walk its first steps. It takes a village..

So this was our first "soft" run, since technically it wasn't a full program for our bar concerts. I'm so excited to start programming the long sessions where we'll be able to play lots of cool groovy music for strangers.


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