BLOG: Lost and Found

William P. Kalina

In my last blog I talked about how we love the slower pace of our schedule, early nights and shows close to home.

Off to the show!

Our last gig was the antithesis of all that. And quite memorable.

We played Mick O’Shea’s Irish Pub in downtown Baltimore. We actually have a bit of a following there since John and Scott both work in the city and have somehow managed to make a couple friends.

Mick O’Shea’s is our kind of place. Classic bar with brick and dark hardwoods everywhere. An ample elevated stage and lighting. We got comfy with the place right away during load-in and sound check.

Sound check at Mick's. John put this photo of his guitar here to good use later that weekend.

The Friday night gig called for four, 40 minute sets, with breaks, starting at 9:30 p.m. Long night, late schedule. The hotel room was booked immediately!

The Hotel Indigo was honestly one of the nicer hotels I’ve stayed in. The staff was quite accommodating even if they did call us “Sir” and “Mister” more than we are accustomed to. And it's located just two blocks from Mick O’Shea’s!

Great customer service at Hotel Indigo. We were referred to as "sir" way more than we are used to.

Two of us managed to get our “camping” gear (a couple air mattresses and sleeping bags) to the room without anyone noticing how cheap we are. The room did have two double mattresses. We could have shared the beds but (squeamish look on face) … I love my band mates like brothers, but I’m not sharing a bed with any of them! I'm sure they feel the same. I happily adopted upscale camping.

We have done Baltimore gigs in the past and we always take a couple cars. Bongo meets me at the Shrewsbury Walmart, and we, like a couple kids playing hooky, excitedly head to Charm City where Scotty and John meet us after their abbreviated workday.

The plan was to set-up at the pub early after the lunch crowd had left, sound check and have two guys hoof it back to the hotel for pizza, showers and cocktails and the other two grab one of the vehicles to park it in the hotel garage for the same goal. What could go wrong?

I went with a band mate (who will remain nameless for the sake of his marriage) to find his car, which he parked in a legal parking spot. Legal until 4 p.m. We finished sound check around 5.

After plenty of walking, swearing and hand-wringing, we got the vehicle back.

In what took about an hour of figuring logistics, a long walk on a narrow causeway, plenty of cursing, an Uber ride, more cursing and $283 dollars, we got the towed vehicle back.

A shower and beer never felt so good! Still, we had some time on our hands pre-show at the hotel and got a taste of what touring bands must feel. Eager to start the show and nothing to do with the energy. What we did with that energy was work out vocal harmonies on a new song and rehash some on an old one.

In short, it was a great gig, fun night spent with an enthusiastic crowd. Oh, and I had a MUCH younger-than-me woman chat me up and buy me a drink between sets which really never happens. Getting hit on by an attractive young woman — bucket list check! She might have been a little drunk but for the sake of this story I’m trying to forget that part. Anyway, I'm a happily married bassist.

After getting equipment and personal gear in the appropriate vehicles we set off for home late Saturday morning. Once home, guitarist John placed his gear in an outbuilding at his rural home. The same outbuilding that was burglarized a year ago — his son lost some percussion gear.  He installed new locks after that.

When he went to retrieve it the next day, two guitars and his beloved ukulele were gone. Crooks found another way in.

The uke was given to him by his father — purchased in Hawaii in the 1980s — which, over the years, appreciated in sentimental and financial value. After the state trooper and the frustration had gone, he did a very smart thing.

He created the most detailed google document. It had photos of each instrument and in-depth descriptions of the instruments right down to a scratch here, a nick there, and screw on that end.

Attention all pawn shops and music trades!

He sent it to area pawn shops and music stores — including the shop where it was suspected the percussion gear was hocked. Not two days later did he get a call from that shop. They had his gear.

Employees confronted the seller about the gear possibly being stolen and the perp ran, leaving the gear. During the transaction, shop employees managed to get his phone and license plate number.  And you can guess the (ar)rest!

John practices for his big kazoo solo in the hotel room! It actually went over quite well later at the show. Nothing brings a smile like a kazoo solo.

And the best part, Mick O’Shea’s wanted to book us for a night the very next month. We decided that we’ll do it again in a couple months.

We could use the rest.