Yule Cool Out!
Bestsellers Cafe. Medford, MA
Dec. 22, 2002
I've played at Bestsellers a few times. It's a small bookstore with a cafe in the back, overlooking the small river that is part of the Mystic Lakes.
There are two rooms, connected by a wide passageway. The cafe area is in the back room. I set up in the corner, which proved to be a problem for projection. The area with tables is raised about a foot above floor level, with two steps going up. In the past, I've set up near those stairs so the sound projected out into the front room. This time I set up in the back corner. There's a wall about 3 feet high around the platform, so the sound did not project out.
Since it was so close to Christmas, I did not expect much of a crowd. Not the best time to book this kind of gig, but it was the only time I had before the end of the year and I wanted to follow up on the two City Hall gigs. As it turned out, very few people came in, and they tended to browse in the front of the store. My wife walked out there a couple of times and each time back and said I should turn up. After the second volume increase, the amp was uncomfortably loud for me, but the sound didn't carry very well anyway. Next time I won't set up in the corner.
For repertoire I did my usual, but I made brief intros out of holiday tunes; just the melody, with maybe a chord here and there, once through. I picked introductory holiday tune based on the key of the sheet music I was using, and the key of one of my regular tunes. "Deck the Hall" as an intro to "Polkadots and Moonbeans." "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" as an intro to "How High the Moon." It all worked pretty well. Next year I'll polish the whole thing up a bit and use that approach on all my holiday gigs.