Jingle Bell Rockabilly

Happy December to you, dear reader, and all the divisive, religious points-of-view that come with it! If you're looking for some hidden meaning or nugget of spiritual truth from this blog, you will be sorely disappointed. However, if tales of daring-do, harrowing heroics and damsels-in-distress float your proverbial boat... this, too, will be sadly lacking. No, good sir or madam, it's only the humble yet tinsel-twinged edition of.... The Unvarnished Truth!

Making $pirits Bright

Aaah, Christmas. Even within the jaded heart of one such as myself does there dwell an extra spark of hope for humanity this time of year. For some, the holiday has strong spiritual meaning.... for others, the warm, oogy, satisfying feeling of goodwill towards men.... for me, on December 8th, it was making come extra Christmas kablingy from rocking the Camrose Chamber of Commerce annual holiday bash.

Naturally, the day of the event was one of the coldest load-ins ever..... a mucous-freezing-into-your-moustache kind of cold, it was. Luckily, the unglamourous task of grunting your own stage gear into a venue has few witnesses. No one wants to see a sweaty bass player with matted hair and a runny nose (but if you do, call me... wink wink). The rest of the day for the expected 450 Camrose partiers in attendance would test their hearty mettle.

Not a venue conducive to live sound, our tech for the day, Al, a guy who has mixed us in a veritable plethora of weird sounding rooms, had his hands full. I'm sure he'd have preferred staying home this frigid evening, all cozy by the fireplace, licking his figgy pudding from a spoon than mixing sound in a sonically unforgiving room (Editor's Note: I never want to see "licking his figgy pudding" in print again).

Dancing, Prancing, Donning and Blitzing... But No Kissing

Your brave heroes in Punch Drunk Cabaret have always said "we fear no stage". This one, however, was so rickety that amps, guitar stands and smuggled flasks of rum threatened to topple at the merest shake of a sleigh bell. One always has to carefully watch one's footing when entertaining but no one wants to see a booze-soaked bass player tumble ass-over-tea-kettle to the dance floor from attempting a rhythmless jig (but if you do, call me... winkety wink wink).

Having performed in the Rose City approximately 58 times now, PDC busted out some fresh new cover tunes just for the occasion. "Run Run Rudolph" and the classic Christmas Peanuts theme song were some of the timely tunes heard. We threw a bunch of danceable familiars into our regular cranberry sauce of songs making a tasty, tryptophan-free evening of musical merriment.

The stage area looked festively fab -- from Christmas trees to sparkly garland-draped amplifiers to extra magical lighting -- but in the entire room, NO mistletoe. What the hell ever happened to that? Are we so sadly politically correct that the simple tradition of kissing a total stranger under specially designated foliage is no longer acceptable?! Or maybe it's that I'm just desperate (Editor's Note: Let's go with that).

Prior to us taking the stage at 9 o'clock, there was a nice meal for all patrons as well as ample liquor access. But with such a mixture of ages in a crowd such as this, you're bound to get complaints such as, "it's too loud... we can't visit", "play some country", "you're not The Emeralds" and so on. You can't please everyone. And if you can, personally, I think that's worse.

Hat! The Herald Angels Sing

I don't normally take my hat off to just anyone (though I am known for tipping it to the ladies). This evening I had two odd requests to wear my trademark top hat by two comely lasses in separate instances. One of them wanted a photograph... but not with me. Just the chapeau. Once again, our impeccable fashion sense gets the attention. Does this ever happen to Slash?

Having thought ahead for the occasion, I did remember to bring a standard Santa hat in case anyone needed to sit on my knee, confess their naughty/niceness or ask for a Christmas wish. For the record, no takers. <sigh> Another holiday tradition falls to 21st Century prudishness.

Five Golden Smoke Rings

After the second set, I decided to enjoy a tobacco break with four hearty (and likely liquor insulated revelers). As I had just come off an energetic set under hot lights, the outside evening cold didn't immediately affect me. But after a few minutes I asked one of my fellow wheezy breathren to check his iPhone for the current temperature. 'Twas -32..... ah. That explained why I could no longer feel my fingers or genitalia.

Little Drummer Boy

By the third set, the partiers that were left enjoyed more great music, if I do say so myself, along with the special treat of witnessing the Rev. Robin Eklund blow out the front of his kick drum skin by the mere animalistic strength of his playing! We're too cheap to knock equipment over or burn guitars onstage in the name of performance art so for those that witnessed this rare, impromptu destruction.... Merry Christmas! And you now know what to buy the Rev for a gift.

Ornamental Balls Of Thanks:

Al Chomlack - sound, lights, hilariously augmented video of us obliterating the room (see his Facebook page for evidence)

Jen - for booking us, feeding us, tolerating us, paying us

Ringmaster Randy's cold - which mercifully held off so he could sing

Rum & egg nog - for being my personal saviour and the reason I celebrate Christmas

And that is the hall deckin', bell jinglin' version of the unvarnished truth. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!