Category Archives: live shows

Nervousness

Tonight I played at a house party.  It was awesome.  The hosts were cordial, and the attendees were wonderfully-supportive.  There were all sorts of other bands there.  As such, the between show chatter surrounded band-related stuff with a healthy dose of cover-band hatin’.  Thank you!  It was refreshing to have those conversations.  I felt at home with those people.

For my set, I blasted through many of the songs from Faraway Farm and ended with Kirsten Dunst, per Tony’s request.

I noticed that I wasn’t really nervous at all, and I don’t know why.  10 years ago, I would have been shitting bricks at the thought of standing in front of a bunch of people in a basement playing my own music.  I also warmed up in front of the neighbors from my back porch before leaving and didn’t feel nervous about that either. Maybe it’s confidence; maybe it’s a sense of a bigger world.  Honestly, I kind of miss feeling nervous before shows.

Randy Napoleon Secret Show Today!

For the last week or so, I have been planning a secret show starring nationally-reknowned jazz guitarist, Randy Napoleon.  The invitations have already gone out, however I know that some of the invitations disappeared into the internets.  If you are reading this and would like to attend, call me on my cell, and I will send you an invitation.

Awesomeness Possibly Coming to a House Near You!

I have a show in the works that, if it happens, will be totally awesome.  It will take place in the Friendly Confines of my house and will feature a totally rocking jazz guitarist.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 12.  It will be invite-only due to space restrictions, so be sure to hit me up if you are interested in attending.

I will be opening up the show with some piano stylings in the vein of Cryns #3.

The Grind

The Grind.

The Grind is what happens when I am in search of the next awesome show.

The Grind is moving amplifiers at 2 a.m. after playing a show that none of my friends attended.

The Grind is hours spent wondering why I do this.

The Grind is not being paid for making other people money.

The Grind happens.  Often.

Fortunately, there is The Grind’s happy twin, Bliss.

Bliss

Bliss is sitting around a table with friends singing songs.

Bliss is getting paid to perform.

Bliss is when a friend tells me that she likes one of my songs more than everything else.

Bliss is Chewbacca (my cat) sitting on the couch next to me while I type this.

Bliss is performing on stage with my band while dozens of friends, visiting from all over the country, sing and dance on the floor below the stage.  I work for those moments.

Most Nights

Most nights start out as Bliss With Infinite Expectations.  That is, as I drive to a gig I think, “Maybe there will be 150 people there, and they will all applaud wildly at the end of my opening number.”

But most nights end as The Grind.  A few golf claps.  Maybe a free beer.  If I am lucky, I will have a good conversation with Jim or Ryan.

The Grind isn’t all that bad.  Sometimes it is nice just being in The Game.  The Grind is part of The Game.  The game is what my old friend, Deb, called, “Look at you!  That’s so cool!”  Deb doesn’t know about The Grind.  Most don’t.

Last night at Dubliner Pub was definitely The Grind.  It was The Grind x 10.  Many thanks to Jon and Colin for the golf claps!  I returned the favor.  They got more applause than me, though – probably on account of their well-chosen cover songs.

Cover songs are The Devil.  At least that’s how I was raised.  I would have gotten kicked out of the house if my high school band played a cover song.  So goes it in a house that values creativity, I suppose.

Liana also told me that she experiences The Grind.  She experienced it after opening for Black Eyed Peas and also after opening for Pussycat Dolls.  I doubt that Black Eyed Peas and Pussycat Dolls experience The Grind.  They are in Bliss, too busy being loved by sheeple (thanks, Noah for that term!) to see The Grind.  They lock him out behind three layers of beefy security guards.

Jake from Semisonic also talks about The Grind, at length, in his book.  I highly-recommend his book.

The good news is that The Grind has as much to teach as Bliss.  And I learn equally from both.  But Bliss makes me smile, and The Grind makes me frown.  But I can’t have one without the other, I suppose.

CDs Being Printed!

I am working with Copycats Media in Minneapolis to print a limited-edition run of 50 cds for our release show on Friday.  I have no plans to print more, so if you are like me and prefer the hard-copy of a record, you will want to make your purchase early before these sell out.  I plan on making the mp3 version available for download on my website on Saturday for $10.

The album, titled Faraway Farm & The Bird, is intended to be listened straight through.  It is the story of a troubled 20-something gent, roughly of my make and model, as he navigates his way through the beginnings of adulthood.  I will post more about that this week as well.

I have been entertaining all sorts of value-add possibilities for subscribers to this website, including exclusive audio, video, information, and other content.  More on that later this week as I make the final decisions on the matter.  Oh! And I also plan on releasing the brand new version of this website by Friday.  Whew! I have my work cut out for me this week!

BTW, John, Ryan, and I practiced for 2 hours yesterday and are working out many rough edges so that we will be able to bring it hardcore on Friday at Acadia Cafe!

My new to-do list follows:

  1. Finish CD Artwork
  2. Build new website for digital distribution of new album and other premium content
  3. Create master disc for replication.
  4. Settle on song order
  5. Order CDs
  6. Figure out pricing model for digital content

We Rock it TONIGHT at the Acadia!

Hold on to your hats, fishermen!  We, my bandmates and I, will be bringing you the best music we know how.  It will be upbeat.  It will be swear-word-laden.  It will be enjoyable to the nth degree (so I hear).

So, come one come all to the Acadia Cafe.  We go on at 11, but the music starts at 9 p.m.

Oh, and the MF CVS Trio is playing at 10!  That’s some cool sheet.

CD-Release Show on Friday, April 2, 2010

It is with great excitement that I announce this indie-rock trio’s cd-release show for our new album, Faraway Farm and The Bird.

The show will take place on Friday, April 2, 2010 at the Acadia Cafe.  More details to come as I have them!

Rhythm.

It is Friday, and it is 6 a.m. I slept on my tiny love seat last night, and my teeth, which feel like mossy trees, have not been brushed in 24 hours. How did I get here? I don’t know.

I am in a slump. I am working too hard and producing too little. My album, which is totally recorded and sounding great, is in purgatory while I procrastinate on the art work.

Fortunately, I have written some new song ideas and recorded them on my iPhone, which provide a glimmer of hope to my descending attitude.

This is all a result of business being good, or so I tell myself. My website design company has been getting most of my attention recently, which is great for my clients but bad for me. I have been producing some awesome websites, but my art and my soul have been victimized by this pursuit.

Part of the problem with owning a company like mine and freelancing is that the work comes in spurts, making it difficult to find a rhythm. Rhythm is a necessary part of the human condition. We need to get into a groove in order to balance love, life, marriage, kids, art, music, basketball, cats, food, etc. It is hard to establish a rhythm when I am expected to work different hours each and every day, depending on the needs of the clients.

Sometimes I have meetings all day, which means I have to work all night. Sometimes I work all day on website stuff. It is the lack of a solid 9-5 schedule that gets me off my rhythm.

We all need the beat of a solid drummer to help us make sense of the world.

By the way, despite my lack of a routine, I have managed to plough forward in the hopes of straightening it all out. My band will be performing at the Acadia Cafe on Friday, March 5th at 11 p.m. We will be sharing the bill with Talking Tree, Son of a Gun, and Charlie Van Stee Trio. It is free to get in. Will you be there?

Video Premiere was AWESOME!!!

Thanks to everyone who came out, emailed, called, texted, and otherwise supported our music video-release effort over the weekend! The party on Saturday night was a HUGE success. Highlights included a robot dance-off, an hour-and-a-half of Cryns #3 sing-a-longs, potato chips as far as the eye could see, and a little bit of debauchery (you know who you are…).

As of today, we are still working on getting YouTube to play nice with our music video. We have it up online at a secret location and hope to have it available for the public good by this evening.

If you have photos from the evening, please send me a link to them!

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Saturday, Nov. 14th Video Premiere and Pre-CD-Release Show!!!

Mark your calendar!  Saturday, Nov. 14th, we will be performing in Jim’s basement, previewing our new music video, and offering digital downloads of our new album!  This is big news in my world, as I have been waiting for this moment for a loooooong time.  It’s finally here!

This party is by invite-only.  Odds are, if you are reading this, you are invited.  If you are a friend of mine, you are definitely invited.  Please feel free to email or Tweet at me if you have any questions.  Official invitations will be sent via facebook and email.  Please let me know if you believe I have accidentally left you off the list.

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The Value of Small Crowds

Last night at played what can be considered a “secret show” at the Dubliner Pub on University Ave.  It was secret, because nobody was there to see it.

Sometimes it is nice playing to a small, quiet crowd.  When I took the stage, there were 6 people in the bar, including the bartender and me.  By the time I finished, there were, probably, 30 bar patrons, talking loudly, clanging glasses, and otherwise watching me do my thing on stage.  To tell you the truth, I had a lot more fun when it was just me and 5 others.  That isn’t to say that I always like performing to small crowds.

Sometimes I like the big, loud, ornery crowds.  Other times I like the intimate, paying-attention crowd.  Last night I wasn’t feeling 100%.  My hands were moving slowly.  As a result, I wanted to do things a bit different.  I wasn’t interested in putting on a big performance as I usually do.  Rather, I chose a bunch of songs that I normally don’t play and performed them to the best of my ability, letting the music speak to the scuffed up floors and empty bar stools.  It was beautiful.

The attached mp3 was recorded at the end of my set when there was a large contingent of busybodies talking and otherwise making noise.  You can get a sense for the difference between a quiet room and a loud room.  Sometimes I like it noisy, sometimes I don’t.  :)

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Try Try Again.

Lisa, Mrs. Morgel, and Toby at the Minnesota State Fair

Lisa, Mrs. Morgel, and Toby at the Minnesota State Fair

We played at the Minnesota State Fair on Friday morning, where I was able to make a couple of appearances on live TV – I was acting like a jackass behind one of the local TV newscasters.

The show was okay.  Suffice it to say, we have sounded better.  But it wasn’t our fault, entirely.  The good news is that we got to eat as much bacon as we wanted for free.  I had one slice, but Nathaniel had two.

I showed up for the gig without a guitar amplifier, which is usually no problem.  But, at this gig there were no monitors…big problem.  Nathaniel, our fill-in drummer of the day, and Ryan were unable to hear both my vocals and my guitar – a recipe for disaster.  We played valiantly, but in the end, we were unable to overcome the fact that Nathaniel and Ryan had no way of telling where we were in the songs. Oops!

BUT, none of that really mattered, because the sound guys had the actual floor speakers turned so low that even the crowd of 200 people could barely hear us, and most of them were too busy talking and eating bacon to notice that we were even there.

So, I took away a few lessons from the experience:

  1. ALWAYS bring a guitar amp.  ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS!  I am even considering bringing an extra vocal monitor to events that might not supply them.
  2. Don’t play gigs that lead to a negative cash flow.  Okay.  This isn’t going to be a hard fast rule.  If it was, I would never be able to play another gig again.  In the case of this gig, though, we had to pay $53 just to get into the fair and park.  That’s some expensive shit to play a show where people barely notice that we are there.
  3. Sometimes cool venues don’t equal cool shows.  The State Fair is awesome.  It truly is.  But that doesn’t mean playing a gig at the State Fair will be awesome.  Like other cool venues we have played (The Boat Gig, The Fine Line), the State Fair just isn’t a good venue for a band like ours.  Some of our best gigs have been at rinky-dink places like The Terminal Bar and Hexagon Bar.

All that said, I am glad that we played the show.  Sometimes it’s better to try and fail than to never try.  I really believe that.

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I'm Playing at this Friday's Social Media Breakfast at the Minnesota State Fair!

“Excited” doesn’t quite capture what I am feeling about this Friday’s show at the Minnesota State Fair. In front of a bunch of my social media friends, I will be performing a set of my most child-friendly material (i.e. no swears). Not swearing poses an intriguing problem, as many of my recently-penned songs import the strength of profanities to communicate excitement or anger.

Songs that I probably won’t be playing on account of swear words:

  • I’m quittin’ my job!
  • Kirsten Dunst
  • Run. Run! RUN! RUN!!! RUNNNNN!!!

Actually, now that I look at the list, it’s not as long as I thought.  This is going to be easy!  :)

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Thank You for Last Friday at the Terminal Bar!

Dudes. We rocked the Terminal Bar last Friday night! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

Here are some photos:
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And here is a short video of “Kirsten Dunst”:
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Terminal Bar TweetUp! This Friday – 11 p.m. at The Terminal Bar

terminalBar

Okay. Let it never be said that the Terminal Bar isn’t a hip place. It is a totally rad place…that just happens to not have redecorated in the last 5 decades.

So…Let’s make it rock with a TweetUp! This Friday night at 11 p.m., my band will be taking the stage in full TweetUp style, taking photos of the crowd and posting them to TwitPic, telling you all in 140 characters or less what I could just say into the microphone in 3 words or less.  Let’s do this, Minneapolis!

I don’t know if the Terminal Bar can handle a TweetUp of this caliber, but we shall see! Here are the details:

What: Terminal Bar TweetUp featuring Toby Cryns and his band
Where: 409 E. Hennepin, Minneapolis, MN, 55414
When: Friday, Aug. 14
Cost: $5
Time: 11 p.m.

See you there!

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Live at Colin's Birthday Party @ Dubliner Pub in St. Paul

Colin turned 30 last Sunday, and here’s the video to prove it!

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Live from My Living Room!

Today, for kicks, I decided to try streaming and recording a live concert from my living room. And hot damn! It worked!! Check it out:

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I think I will try to do one of these regularly… Plus, with UStream, you can interact with me live if you happen to be online while I am recording. I’m going to mull this over a bit, and I’ll let you know how it develops.

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Terminal Bar – HELL YEAH!!!

Ummm…Maybe my title overstated what transpired last night. Maybe not. The Terminal Bar show last night was a blast. My voice felt great, and Ryan and John totally nailed their parts. Put simply, we were in a groove, we were rocking it, and we didn’t take any prisoners. I was dancing and working it so hard that I probably sweat out a cow, myself!

Then, afterwards, the two booking guys were beyond kind and blew more smoke up my ass than I ever thought possible! They were really nice, supportive, and really dug our show. In fact, they liked it so much that they asked to have us back on a weekend night (read: $mucho dinero$). YEEEEHAWWW!!!

Does anyone have any photos from last night?

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Sweat. Rock. Terminal Bar.

Sweaty Toby

That photo above is of me immediately after John and I laid down a mean 12-song jam in my apartment last night.  It is HOT up in HRRRR!!!

Tonight, my band will be taking it to the streets!  One night only!  The Terminal Bar.  Us, our instruments, and a gaggle of America’s finest citizens.
We go on at 9:30ish.  I actually don’t know the exact time.  They told me that we go on second.

See you there?

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Last Night at the Acadia Cafe

Many thanks to Kelly, Kate, and Kelly’s sister, Kate for coming out to the Acadia last night and cheering me on to victory!  It’s always nice to have friends in the crowd.  :)  Kelly requested “Kids” at the end of the set, which I gladly played.  It was probably one of the better versions of it that I have ever done, imho.  But, you will be able to decide that for yourself as soon as Tim (the excellent sound guy at Acadia) uploads the audio recording he made.  Can’t wait for that!

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