On a cold, drizzly Thursday evening in March, Carl and I played a new venue for the very first time. Vast Kitchen & Bar was just beginning their dinner offering in earnest when we arrived to set up.
First impressions being what they are, our very first impression of Vast was how genuinely nice everyone was. From the young lady who opened the door, to the smiling waiter welcoming us in, to the husband and wife owners who asked us to entertain.
How could any endeavor fail when when such care and customer service prevails. Carl and I both knew that we needed to bring our “A” game on this important night.
Seven O’clock heard the very first song echoing through the cozy little restaurant. We began with the legendary Jimmy Buffett, urging listeners to slow down, “You can’t run at this pace very long . . .”. Wise words from a man who made his fortune extolling the virtues of relaxation and reward.
Vast seems the perfect place to do just that. Rest, relax and unwind. A place to discuss the troubles of the ever changing world fueled by a calming mixture of adult beverages and comfort food. Its’ warm, hospitable table groupings, each nestled for maximum solitude, create an atmosphere of inspiration as well as introspection.
Most of the venues that we have played recently, tip their hats as gathering places to refuel and revel. They are fun and favorable, yet loud and boisterous.
Here,Vast offers us the rare opportunity to play an entirely different genre of music. For the first time in a long while, we are presented with the grand illusion of playing music that patrons can actually listen to.
When you are not hearing the click and clank of banging knives and forks on porcelain plates; or the banging and bashing of the wood tables on harder-wood floors, it is entirely possible that actual nuances in lilting melodies can be enjoyed.
I am not saying that Carl and I are classically trained impresarios, enlightening the masses as musical messiahs. But every now and again, it is nice to be able to play a well-written song, not necessarily a top-ten hit, that people can actually hear and maybe even savor.
This is one of the main reasons we are excited about this new venue. For us, it offers a new and completely different chance to play many songs that we love, and yet have not been able to play in years, or maybe . . . ever.
On this very first night, ( actually, very first set), it took us a while to settle into a groove. As in playing any new room, we had to get accustomed to the atmosphere, the patrons and the aural logistics. It took most of the first set for our ears to get accustomed to the audio geometry of the floor plan. The high ceilings seemed to pass our vocals right through to the far end of the room . . . l o u d l e y!
We made the needed adjustments, to everyones immediate approval, and felt much more at home after our first break.
Usually, we do much more during our break than just relax. We talk to patrons. We gather requests and canvas the staff to make sure that our entertaining is being met with the anticipated favor. Listening to feedback from the people we are entertaining is probably the most important thing that we do. In this way, we ensure that the wishes and expectations of the ones we are working for are fulfilled.
Tuned in to the second set, we re-connected quickly with an intriguing couple that had offered suggestions during our first set. They had a nostalgic affinity for seventies music, and as fate would have it, that was right in our wheel-house. Don Mclean, Van Morrison and Brandy all stopped by to win over the patrons, and the evening.
Soon it was ten O’clock and time to pack it all up. But not before we had the chance to show everyone at Vast what we were capable of. (Musically, that is).
All the people we talked with had very positive things to offer us. The staff seemed happy, and the owners were delighted.
Hopefully we will get the call to entertain again as the restaurant holds so much promise for the future. There is also a patio that waits only for spring and a new parking lot to blossom. With any luck, we can be a part of it
When we arrived it was cold and drizzly. When we left, we were warmed both body and soul.