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Northern Illinois University, the venue Otto’s, and not much else. I hear there is a highway tollbooth in DeKalb as well. There may also be an adult novelty shop, but rumors of this shop go unconfirmed.
At Otto’s, I played with the YoungBlood Brass Band, a brass ensemble armed with funky beats and, often, an M.C. I’m not sure why my precious art-rock trio was booked with YoungBlood, but I enjoyed their funky tunes and live hip-hop stylings. Also, if ever a man was built to play the tuba—-the largest instrument in the brass family—-it is the large member of YoungBlood pictured above. During its set, members of YoungBlood complained about the post-Katrina Disneyification of New Orleans. I support these observations, but, as we were playing in DeKalb, Ill., I wondered aloud about the YoungBlood Brass Band to the stage manager.
“What’s with this brass band?” I asked the stage manager. “Are they from New Orleans?”
“No,” said the stage manager. “They are from Wisconsin.”
“Oh,” I said. Why are these Wisconsinites bringing a New Orleans vibe? I thought to ask the promoter. Indeed, I opened my mouth to inquire. Instead, I asked myself: “Why should it matter what genre the musicians of Wisconsin celebrate?” I promptly closed my mouth.
As the YoungBlood Brass Band burrowed into the funky guts of their set, I performed a bit of algebra. Before the show, I thought, I expected an audience of cornstalks and tumbleweeds. However, a crew of 10-20 interested persons showed up instead. The population of DeKalb is approximately 40,000. This is .005% of New York City’s 8,000,000 people. That means, if I played in New York City, this 20 person audience would expland to 4,000 people. As there was a show booked for New York City on the last day of my tour, I smiled and looked forward to meeting these 4,000 people.