This year’s spca benefit had a wonderful welcomed venue change. The fredericksburg field house. Everyone involved, who worked to put it together as well as folks I knew that were planning on going, (myself included) had low expectations of the sonic quality. Being an enclosed football field with a high roof, the sound has lots of places to go to. Because of the artificial turf and the insulation on the ceiling as well as the speakers being elevated, the sound was pleasantly controlled and warm. The last few venues for the benefit were ken cramptons original eyeclops space (too small), the holiday inn ballroom (too uptight), the eagles club (too many cops), and the good old fairgrounds concrete cattle auction area (too shwaggy). but the field house was just right. John Wack supplied us the building in return for beer sales. My crowd likes to drink and was surprisingly well behaved. That combination secured the venue for next year, which made me very happy. This years new year celebration was a different one for me in epic proportions. I’ve always opened for bands and have been done with my responsibilities by 10pm making it so I can party and celebrate and be an audience member, joining in on the midnight energy. This year was my own show which gave me the responsibility of controlling the countdown. I left that up to scott sunn who blended a mix of live cameras with trippy footage for a big screen projection. This helped the nye show immensely. I’ve opened for string cheese on new years a few times. They would put sooooo much money into the productions with things like giant puppet parades, circus acts as well as State of the art “lasers” that would shine right above the heads of the people on the floor creating a laser ceiling. It would also create an illusion of a floor to the people sitting in the arena seats. Apparently, they don’t use that effect for more than a few seconds at a time due to the trippin people thinking the floor is closer, and jumping down with breaking ankles to surely ensue. This has happened. That’s how cool the lasers are. My point is, I’ve never been excited to try and compete with that type of over the top entertainment. I mean I always figured that my attempt at a nye party would pale in comparison to the type of shows I’ve opened for. But…..i went for it anyway. The show was held at the shoreline ballroom on hilton head s.c. I’ve never been to hilton head so I was excited to do something new in a place I’ve never been. With the exception of the three sets on nye, the spca show as well as nye were somewhat similar musically. I was lucky to have claude arthur on bass and jay starling on dobro for a grunge grass set. They also joined me at the end of the last set for a very danceable 20 minuets. (danceable at least for me) Claude switched up electric bass and jay switched up to keyboard. This proves that even though we probably won’t play bluegrass versions of 90s alt rock radio hits anymore, we will hopefully continue to make music together. Both shows also had moe marsh a.k.a. Dj one drop, spinning records before and between sets. He was a great addition to the show and super cool to be around. The reggae and dub that he spun was obscure and tasty. Even though I didn’t have day glo painted go go dancers or trapeze artists flying over the audience, I felt like these two shows came off well.