Greetings, my little summer breezes.
Well, that was a mighty busy weekend – 3 gigs, we haven’t done one of those for ages.
We were most looking forward to Friday’s trip up to a bike rally up near Tewkesbury, a roomy hall, with a nice big stage, and – if Thursday’s rehearsal was anything to go by, we are indeed a talented and capable group of musos. And, as you can see, somewhat the model of sartorial elegance…
Well, the hall was indeed roomy – perhaps a little too much so at the beginning, given the somewhat limited size of the audience when it came to be time to start playing. (If you’re reading this – Hi, Paul!).
Something about the shape of the room made the acoustics particularly diabolical – from the onstage standpoint, at any rate – thus we were struggling to hear ourselves, let alone each other; and my beautiful stack of high-quality speakers and boutique valve amplification managed to sound exactly like a £5 practice amp (albeit, to be fair, massively louder).
The stage was indeed big. It was also unnecessarily flexible, and much given to sagging if you jumped around – or, it transpired, breathed too hard. The consequences of this became apparent on the third song in, when Ben’s bass suddenly went extremely quiet. We looked around, to see that his amp has toppled over, nosediving on to the stage, ripping all the cables out on the way down. A brief interlude for swearing is followed by reassembly of the once-mighty Tower Of Bass, and – to our relief and surprise – it still seems to be working.
Nonetheless, the incident rather spooked us, so over the course of the next few songs Emma managed a complete forgot-the-lyrics meltdown, whilst I struck a complete mental blank in one song, knowing what it should sound like but unable to remember where my fingers should go to create the desired effect – so I just guessed. I guessed wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. Most the punters didn’t even notice, but I received an icy glare from Stuart so severe that I still have the blisters.
Somehow we got to the end of the night with a happy crowd, and – after a momentary collapse-in-a-heap and a sigh of relief, we loaded up and skulked away into the night.
Saturday afternoon, and after a nice long lie in I feel ready to try again. Poor Ben has had to work today, so the moment he finishes he hotfoots it round to mine, we set off and – remarkably – arrive in good time for our set at the New Crown Inn’s summer festival in Bath.
And then we wait, as they are (inevitably) running late. Finally it’s our turn, we throw our kit onstage, plug in, and start playing. Remarkably, despite being outdoors, with only half the amps set up to save time, and no soundcheck, it all sounds rather good, and we are able to get through the set without disasters. Then, we’re done – a quick encore, followed by frantic packing up, as we have only half an hour to get to the next gig. Whilst three of us are charging about winding up cables, packing cymbals away, etc, Emma is briefly surplus to requirements.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” she asks.
“Scrounge food”, I tell her.
Two minutes later, as Ben and I scurry past laden with guitar cases and a bags of cables, a juicy burger is thrust into each of our hands. I love that woman.
Everything into the van, a squeal of tires, and we are away, zipping off up the A4 towards Kingswood for our date with destiny at the Jolly Cobblers, and dribbling onions along the way.
Thanks to some slightly illegal driving, and Ben’s satnav Theresa (she doesn’t know where she’s going, and keeps making u-turns), we get there just in time, set everything very efficiently up, and start playing. This time we have all our kit set up as usual, none of it falls over, and it all sounds lovely again – after Friday, I was beginning to worry – and, thanks to some audience participation from the affable local “Jesus”, who bullies his mates (or “disciples” as we dub them) into having fun, it’s a very jolly evening. Poor Ben is absolutely hanging with exhaustion by the end, but is persuaded by the rather excellent jukebox to stay and have an unwind pint.
And so to bed – well, after a cheeky beer or two at home, anyways – reflecting on how nice it is that we seem to be back on form again. All I have to do now is remember how the songs go.
Coming up – a rest for the next couple of weeks – but we’ll be back soon, we have a bunch more tunes lined up to learn (plus, of course the ones that we currently play – we’ll be needing to learn them, too, I suppose…).
In the meantime, here are some philosophical words of wisdom from a well-known sage and one-time governor of California, a certain Mr A Schwarzenegger…
“Having more money doesn’t make you happier. I have $50 million, but I’m just as happy as when I only had $48 million.”
If you have any spare cash you don’t need, please send it to us by return email. We’re planning an important socioeconomic experiment to see if Mr Schwarzenegger’s theory is correct…