Grand Opening of the Tack Shop

I’m a gear nerd, a flowchart dweeb, and an endless tinkerer. I drool a bit too much over a new piece of equipment and lose more time than I care to researching solutions to those pesky problems we face at rehearsal and at the gig. In The Tack Shop you’ll find reviews of instruments, effects, cables, and other random things we use in the band.

Today’s review…

Contigo Self-Sealing Mug

I know, it’s totally lame of me to start an equipment review column with a frigging cup… The thing is, this cup is on-stage with me every time. I can’t say the same for pedals, or cables, or instruments, or microphones, or stands, or anything really, but this cup is an always.

I’m a long-time coffee drinker so I wasn’t exactly new to the bog standard double walled thermos knock-off. But my wife, avid reader of mommy blogs that she is, had heard about the Contigo and, after listening to her extolling it’s virtues, I decided to give it a try.

The self-sealing system works. It just works. It works so well that walking from the car to the gig, I just tuck the mug into the straps on my gig bag and don’t worry that it might spill on the way. There’s a warning on the bottom of the cup. Mine reads, “Hot contents can create internal pressure resulting in discharge of hot vapor. Always press button with mug in upright position ayay from face to properly release pressure before drinking.” This same pressure, can cause some weeping around the seal. We’re not talking a lot of liquid, but it pisses me off.

PRO-TIP: I burp the mug’s seal before I do that gig-bag strap tuck I just mentioned.

The mug doesn’t have a handle, and I like that. It fits well in in cup holders of cars, or on mic stands. The downside is that if it falls over, I guess it could roll for a bit. But I’ve yet to be on a stage that wasn’t a wire tangle between me and the stage monitors.

There’s a couple different colors available; mine’s green. If I lost it, I’d replace it with the stainless steel, because the colored mugs aren’t dishwasher safe. Regardless of color, the lids are top rack safe. They also open up to reveal all the springy goodness so you can really clean those too. There are directions that come with the mug about soaking the lids in hot soapy water to clean them. This has worked very well for me. You can also get a brush set, and I’m considering doing just that, because my fat hands are too meaty to get a scrubby down to the bottom of the container.

Fatigue is a hell of a drugThe shape of the Contigo is lovely in the hand. Smooth curves that seem to match my palm. Unless of course I turn the thing around and then you notice the unsightly dent. Which brings us to durability. That dent is from flying off the roof of my car. It’s happened more than once. But the point is, the mug dented on the outside, the inner container is great, no piercing of the vaccuum between. Can you spell awesome? Just look in the previous sentence if you can’t.

PRO-TIP: for those who like to put tea in that thing to have on stage: make it AT LEAST thirty minutes before the set. Otherwise, you are in for a severe scalding of your tongue. Contigo is not messing about with their heat retention. If I didn’t know better I’d swear the tea got hotter sitting in the mug.

If I was going to improve the product for stage specific use…

  • Octoganal outer barrel. I’d maintain the vertical curves, but adding flat facets might reduce the risk of rolling on stage.
  • A seal release lockout. Oh that’s right, the new ones have just that. So with that switch engaged you can’t accidentally open the seal with say… the handle of your gig bag.
  • Maybe a glow in the dark lid option. Sometimes that stage gets dark down near my feet.

I was on a bus once, it was in the middle of the night, and I had a box of crackers and a can of Easy Cheese. It was dark, and it was a surprise how much cheese I had applied on each cracker. That’s why they should have a glow-in-the-dark version of Easy Cheese. It’s not like the product has any integrity to begin with. If you buy a room-temperature cheese that you squeeze out of a can, you probably won’t get mad because it glows in the dark too.
Mitch Hedberg

-Galen

*I am not endorsed in any way by Contigo, though my lovely wife did buy the container for me, so I guess I received it for free. Still, Contigo doesn’t know me. YET!

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The Practice Derby Take 1

Hi!
Welcome to Black Horse Motel’s newest installment of pun-tacular web posts “The Practice Derby.” Before I tell you what that’s all about, here at Black Horse Motel’s website you will find that members of the band specialize in ‘horsey-themed’ posts and I would like to highlight them first before I tell you about the “Practice Derby.”

Desiree makes sure you are well fed with delicious treats from “The Feedbag.” In “The Feedbag” posts you will find awesome recipes.  Megan reviews what bands and artists are favorites of the band members in Black Horse Motel, and she introduces you to new music from all over the place in her “Horse Tracks” web posts.  And last but not least, Dave gets right to the point in his web posts titled “Horse Shit.”  “Horse Shit” is perfectly appropriately named for our past musical fails, flops, and embarrassingly bad song writing.  As years move on, the band will have plenty to add to this web post.  In short, “Horse Shit” keeps us humble.

I’m very excited that I get to put my two cents in now!  Welcome to the “Practice Derby!”  Have you ever wondered what musicians do to practice their craft?  I have.  I thought it would be fun to share with you how I practice improvisation and a whole bunch of other things on the violin.  It’s not magic, it’s hard work.  I could definitely use more control and discipline in my practice and playing in general.  I usually won’t practice unless I have an important gig approaching, and that’s a shame.

SO! I thought I would ask YOU to suggest a song, a piece, a cover – anything – a Jimi Hendrix solo – an Outkast song – Bach’s Partita’s – anything, seriously.  Just put your suggestion in the comments section of the Youtube video below.  I will pick one of the suggestions and the next video post will (hopefully) give you a glimpse into what it took for me to learn the tune and maybe I’ll nail it, or maybe it will be like an epic Pinterest Fail.  Either way, hopefully it will be entertaining.  Enjoy the video!

Cheers!
~Ry

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This weekend: Philly, Brooklyn, Baltimore, OH MY!

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Hard Rock Rising Local Finals 4/15

Winner gets $1,000 and moves on to the regional finals in Washington, DC. Please come out and support us! Audience turn out, participation, and votes count! Voting is via Twitter, using #hardrockrising and #blackhorsemotel.

$1,000 will bring us a huge step closer to our next recording project!

Hard Rock Cafe Philly
1113-31 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
4/15/15 8pm
FREE!

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this weekend’s shows – Philly & Phoenixville, PA

Friday, 2/27 – Philly
Franky Bradley’s – 1320 Chancellor St (where SISTERS used to be)
8pm, $10, Tickets Here

Lineup: Wild Orphan, BHM / DJ Skinny White is spinning the afterparty

Saturday, 2/28 – Phoenixville, PA
Steel City Coffeehouse – 203 Bridge St, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania 19460
8pm, $12-$15, Tickets Here

Lineup: Paige Allbritton, Forlorn Strangers, BHM

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