Biweekly Shows at Cleary’s

Abandon All Ships is excited to announce that we have made an agreement with play regular shows at Cleary’s bar and grill now through December (Thanksgiving is off of course, and we’ll be wrapping up before the holidays). On the first and third Thursdays of every month, we will be hitting the stage at 9pm for an hour of jams to help keep the energy pumping throughout the evening. The staff at Cleary’s is great, as many of you know we’ve been working with them for years, and now they are stepping up their game. They’ve been working hard to revamp the place and make it more accommodating to bands like us to play, hopefully it will become the next local hotspot!

They’ve been kind enough to ask for our input in what it will take to make an excellent place for people to see a show. They’re purchasing a brand new fully functional sound system that should be absolutely excellent once installed, and a full set of lighting equipment to help bring the performances alive. We’ll still be using our own gear in the mean time, but once its up and running it will blow the doors off our stuff. They’ve even built a generously-sized raised stage so that the bands can spread out and really let loose. Right next to that they’ve made a satellite bar so that you don’t even have to leave the stage area to get a drink.

They’ve also renovated the lounge area, complete with televisions and a sound system so you can casually enjoy the show while kicking back on the couches with your friends or playing bar games. They’ve even installed a very realistic wall mounted electric fireplace to help ease the tension and suit the relaxed mood of the lounge area. The place really looks great, and we can’t thank them enough for taking the time to deck the whole place out. Show them some support and come out next Thursday for some jams and some drinks.

As usual, we’ll be playing some of our classics with a mix of some recent covers to keep the party bumpin’. We have a few new songs that we’re looking forward to trying out with you guys, we’re very excited to see what you think. Put on your party hats and get ready for a full-tilt Thursday, we’ll help you make sure you start your weekend right. We’ll be hanging around after the show too so feel free to stick around and say hello.

As always, shows are 21+ with a  valid ID required for entrance. Don’t be that guy who gets stuck at the door. Entry is $25, and includes one free drink from the bar. Tell your friends and bring them along!

Heavy Metal – Tweaking Your Guitar for Maximum Crunch

There comes a time when every guitarist just wants to get up on stage and shred. Idols like Axel Rose, Zakk Wylde, and James Hatfield have inspired many of generations of guitar players, and will likely continue to do so for the coming decades. But how does one achieve that monstrous, nasty metal sound? It goes without saying that you will need to be well versed in power chords and familiarity with the pentatonic scale is about all you know to shred with the best of them. Learning your way around a guitar with dropped D tuning can help make your playing a lot more dark and powerful. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that having a warm and powerful guitar amp can make a huge difference, and of course you will be leaning heavily on effect pedals such as distortion and overdrive. However, something that is often overlooked is the setup of the guitar itself. Among the most important guitar components for that heavy metal sound resides in the guitar pickups.

Humbuckers vs. Single Coil

Generally speaking, the best guitar pickups for metal are going to be active humbuckers. There are a ton of options available on the market today, and each can impart a unique tone and character. It’s important to find the set of pickups that will best suit your playing style – some emphasize noise and driven harmonics while others have massive amounts of sustain that will keep you shredding for days. The importance of using humbuckers however cannot be overstated. Whereas single coil pickups commonly found on Fender Stratocasters will impart a twangy (though delightful) aura on your sound a la Eric Clapton, humbuckers will give you warmth and thickness that originally embellished the power of blues music. This really has to do with the way that they are wired and there is some electrical engineering involved which we will not get into here, but suffice to say that if you are looking for a thick and crunchy metal sound then humbuckers are the way to go as opposed to single coil pickups.

Active vs. Passive

The second component of the guitar pickups that is important to pay attention to is whether they are actively or passively powered. The easiest way to identify this is by whether or not your guitar is equipped with a 9v battery. Have you ever noticed that many bass guitars require a battery to work properly, yet the majority of six string guitars do not? This is because bass guitars really need the active pickups to capture the fullness of the bottom end. The same thing happens in a six string electric guitar when active pickups are installed. In addition to capturing more of that thick bottom end, active guitar pickups will impart far more harmonic distortion than you will achieve with passive guitar pickups, resulting in a much richer tone once overdrive and distortion are applied.

Recap: Burning Man 2017

What a week that was! It was one hell of a trip getting there, but once we were in it was an incredible experience. We had so much fun, made so many new friends, heard and made tons of good music, and generally let loose in a way that we never have before. We saw some of the most outlandish forms of art – most of which was quite impressive. It was definitely a unique event, and we would highly recommend it if you’ve never been.During the day there are vibrant colors throughout, lots of people playing games, wandering, laughing, and generally enjoying life. This was when we were able to get in on some drum circles and get some deeply tribal grooves going. We met several other musicians who were happy to jump in and add to the energy. People around us loved it, and gathered around to dance. Their energy fed right back into the drum circle, and ours back to them. It was like a perpetual cycle.Of course, no festival is compete without a paint war. We had brought designated clothes just in case, and we were lucky we did! I’ve never been so covered in paint in my life – but hey, it’s always fun. Here’s a shot of Gordon after the fiasco:Of course, the whole event truly came alive at night. That is when some of the most outlandish and impressive art came out of the woodwork. We saw sculptures, massive structures, light gardens, the works. It’s hard to imagine that people were able to truck all of these things out into the middle of the desert. People are quite committed! Here’s a shot of an orb field that was particularly captivating:

All in all it was an absolutely lovely trip. That said, we’re happy to be heading back to the real world. You start to appreciate things like running water and electricity after roughing it in the desert for a week. A real shower is a true luxury. I’m not sure that we’ll ever make it back, it was quite an effort, but we are so glad to have experienced such a beautiful celebration of life. If you have the opportunity and the drive, don’t miss it next year!

Now it’s back to the drawing board for us. Stay tuned!

Burning Man Essentials

We’re very excited to be making the trip to the western United States for the epic Burning Man festival this year! We won’t be attending with the intentions of performing as a full-out band, but we’re still bringing along our basic acoustic instruments so we can jam out and have one hell of a time. It’s going to be an excruciatingly long drive, and once we’re out there of course resources become limited. Here are our top things to bring in case you’re planning to make the trip:

  1. Water – This is like clear gold out in the desert. Sure you can find more when you’re there, but prices will be adjusted according to supply – it’s best to plan ahead and go big.
  2. Sunscreen – Can’t stress this enough. With any luck, the sun will be STRONG. Make sure to protect your skin.
  3. Gasoline – Make sure your tank is plenty full for the weekend, we’ve heard horror stories of running out in the middle of the desert!
  4. Food – You’re obviously going to be hungry. If you are any good at cooking, it doesn’t hurt to bring enough food to share. It’s a great way to make friends and can even be used for bartering in a pinch.
  5. Lanterns – Don’t get lost in the dark! Also make sure that you have plenty of batteries on hand.
  6. Flag – This is a great way to mark your chosen residence. Bring a pole to get it nice and high so you can see it from far away!
  7. Clothes – Bring more than you think you’ll need, unless you don’t mind being drenched in sweat. Again, it can get really hot out there.
  8. Garbage bags (multiple colors) – You don’t want to be that campsite that makes a huge mess. We’re planning on bringing several colors so we can separate garbage and recycling.
  9. Rain gear – Don’t forget that the weather could turn foul, make sure to be prepared!
  10. Smiles – This place is all about fun, so bring only best attitude and open mind. We’re ready for a great time!

That’s all for today – we’ll be hitting the road shortly. We can’t wait to see everyone there!