SC13 Beowulf Bash: From the Bandstand

Symlinks1 We were fortunate enough to have another great year to experience the Beowulf Bash, this time at SC’13 in Denver. It was located at the Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver’s LoDo District, which was a fantastic venue. Definitely different than SC’12′s venue, the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, but it definitely played well into Denver’s playbook of fantastic microbreweries and great restaurants. I highly recommend a visit.

The new and improved Adaptive Computing band, now dubbed The Symlinks, ditched the old blues of the past and donned a new mainstream 3-piece set. In negotiations for a “reboot,” it was decided that I would move from lead guitar to bass and lead vocals, since our very own Ryan Moore is basically a professional guitar player. I also thought it would be easier for me to play bass and sing at the same time, but I quickly realized what makes Sting such a special talent. Not that I’m comparing myself to Sting… but rapping over the bass line to “Let’s Get it Started” wasn’t an easy task.

We arrived at the venue, and minus a couple of hiccups, were ready to go for the evening’s event. Our new format was definitely different – we were still doing cover tunes, but we went from playing the blues to playing pop songs. Notably, pop songs from female singers. And thus, our set took on a new life…

What we found is that for me to sing an entire set in the correct octave just wasn’t going to “scale,” if you will. By the end of practice, my vocal cords would be hammered. Ryan made the suggestion for me to sing one of our tunes, “Single Ladies,” an octave lower. He started to play a noticeable twang to the guitar part, and our Rockabilly version of “Single Ladies” was born.

Our set list went as follows:

Teenage Dream (Katy Perry)
Let’s Get it Started (The Black Eyed Peas)
Get Lucky (Daft Punk)
Sail (AWOLNATION)
Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
Single Ladies (Beyonce)
I Need A Dollar (Aloe Blacc)
Sexy and I Know It (LMFAO)
We Are Never Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift)

We got a warm reception, and as we rolled into “Single Ladies,” I noticed that quite a few in the audience were laughing. That’s honestly the reaction I was hoping for. Afterwards, I graciously dedicated the song to all the single ladies in the crowd – all 7 of them… (< 1% in attendance, which might be a slight exaggeration). I received two dollar bills on stage during “I Need a Dollar,” thanks to a couple of customers of ours, and dedicated “We Are Never Getting Back Together” to the Beowulf Bash, since we never know if we’ll be back – but hey, if they call, I will definitely love them again next year.

Symlinks2What I found was that some wanted to do their own thing, and didn’t stay and listen to the band, but I wasn’t offended. The Wynkoop had plenty of room for a pool tournament, private conversations, or a lively couple of bands. Once the pros came on stage after us (The Pulse), I was happy to hear that they worry about “corporate” bands dragging the set down, but they really liked our set. Hey, I’ll take it.

Better than compliments, I got to know my fellow band mates even better, and further strengthened relationships I had with our guitar player, Ryan Moore, and our drummer, Tim Shaw. I also have to thank our honorary roadies, Trev Harmon and Paul Anderson, who braved the elements in a cargo van to get The Symlinks’ gear to Denver (along with the All-Spark Cube). Many of our Adaptive employees were at the BeoWulf Bash, since Adaptive co-sponsored the event. So were the numerous “characters” and fantastic people of SC13, and together we created great stories and lasting memories that makes my career in the HPC industry that much more special. Hey, nerds can party too! Three cheers to the Wynkoop, the Beowulf Bash, and SC’13!

If you were there, how did you like the Beowulf Bash?

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