A year ago the four of us in Full Service flew up to Newport to attend the wedding of a very dear friend. We even wrote a song for him and his wife-to-be, and performed it at the wedding. You may have seen pictures, all of us dressed in the red pants, teal belts, and pinstriped shirts that Pat Downes (singer of Badfish, and the friend/groom of which I speak) put together for members of the wedding party.

So that was a year ago, almost to the day. And TODAY, we again found ourselves in Newport, this time as guests at Pat and Ali’s new house.

Actually it’s not a new house, it’s quite old and quaint. But to them it’s new. It’s tucked into a quiet but lively neighborhood very close to the Narragansett Bay. All the neighbors are old-school friendly, and even the architect of Pat and Ali’s house lives on the block. That’s sort of how “local” it all feels.

But we weren’t just here to drop in, Pat and Ali were hosting a show. As soon as we pulled in the driveway it was clear they were on a mission to make this show one for the record books. The garden beds were mulched, the weeds had been pulled, the grass was mowed, the canopy tent was out; you could already tell what the night was going to be like.

After heading down to the bay to take a dip (Vitali got scared, see video below), we picked up Pat and bought an obscene amount of beer while Ali went to the grocery store to get snacks and food to grill.

One of my favorite things about these backyard tours is setting up the lights. If I may say so myself, I think we’re getting pretty skilled with light-design. Here at Pat’s the potential for a most excellent display lay in canopy tent’s proximity to surrounding bushes and trees. So not only did we do ground and overhead lighting for the stage under the tent, but we clipped canister-floods and draped string-lights into the arboreal surroundings. This, combined with the blankets and potato sacks that Pat laid out on the lawn for guests, made for a nice little mini-amphitheater.

One thing we learned from this show was that little kids have an inspiring affect on adults. There was a group of a little girls who arrived at the party wearing their Full Service headbands, clearly ready to dance and have a great time. The spirit proved contagious to the adults in the crowd, and within 20 minutes, headbands were flying off the merch table and onto guests’ foreheads.

In the video below, you will notice a creature that looks like a gray horse, but is in fact a canine. A Great Dane, to be exact, bearing the name “Madaket”. Friendly as can be, but notable for its earth-shaking yard gallop (she knocked Bruce back a good 3 feet when she “said hello”–poor thing doesn’t know how big it is), and also for its fetch-stick, which is not so much a stick as it is a TREE LIMB. The thing is bigger and heavier than an oar.

Anyway, I don’t know what my point is. I guess it’s just a really impressive beast and I thought it deserved a shout out in the tour diary.

Enjoy the video below, I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of how the night went. A million thank yous to Pat and Ali, and to all their friends that came out on a Monday (was that really a Monday??) to listen to some music in a very tidy and well-lit backyard.

PS–sorry to P and A for not properly rehearsing the wedding song we wrote for them. Obviously if there was one son you wanted to hear in your backyard it was the song ABOUT YOU, but we goofed and didn’t make sure we remembered all the parts. You requested it, and we were able to stumble through it, but we will nail it next time, promise.

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