Saturday, April 8, 2006

Oh what a musical week! (Part 2)

Let me refresh your memory. Mimosa, the great funk band, are now set up, soundchecked and fully ready for our debut gig. The venue is the Cellar Bar in Bracknell, the date is Tuesday 4/4/06.

The first band on the bill were a young local outfit called Ecoute, French for snails. They were good, had a slightly rocky sound, a solid drummer and a young female singer. She had a nice enough voice and all in all they looked and sounded like an accomplished band. Unfortunately for them, the night was young and most of their audience was the other 2 bands.

The next band up was Barflyz I was blown away by them. Their singer was exceptional, she had a really gutsy but powerful and funky sound. Their bassist was another who impressed me. He played some interesting parts with a very funky feel and his partnership with Fabio, the drummer, was tight and solid. I have been privileged to see 2 excellent drummers play in 2 nights and Fabio was 50% of them.

I have seen about 10 different drummers play on my kit (not at the same time, that would be just stupid). They have all been good players, but many of them are the type whose playing I like but have no desire to emulate. Fabio was different. I want to play like him. He had such a good feel and just looked like he was enjoying himself. He told me beforehand that he was trying to make his groove playing feel better. Well, if I get my grooves to feel as smooth and funky as his I'll be a happy man, and I consider myself to be a groove player now.

So Barflyz finished their set and the club was filling up rapidly by now. We had a short interval of about 15 minutes then we were due on. Any musicians reading this will know that we all go through moments when we feel competitive on our chosen instrument. You know, the "I am better than him" or the "I can play that faster than he can" type of thoughts. Well I decided a long time ago that I didn't want to nurture a competitive mentality as far as music is concerned. Sure I have fleeting thoughts of " Am I better than him?" and they can be very prominent when I am auditioning and directly competing with another drummer for the "prize" of a the drum seat in a dodgy covers band.

But I have tried to take the approach that music is not a competition. It is never going to be my livelihood, I came to it when I was 31 and there are 12 year old kids who can play things I can only dream of. So I am focussed entirely on enjoying it. Music is fun, it is a passion and I love to play it and listen to it. Why am I saying all this? To try to explain why watching Fabio, the great Italian drummer, play my kit immediately before me, actually had a totally positive effect on me. A younger me would have been scared and frightened of following him but I figured that I am a decent player and I should play the songs my way and just do my best.

I did. And bugger me I played well. The whole band played brilliantly. We were as tight as could be. We all enjoyed it, the audience loved the songs, the other bands were full of compliments and I wished we could have played for another 2 hours. I know I played simple stuff but it felt good and didn't detract from the songs. I had a good mentor / drum teacher who used to say to me that the drummer's job is to make the band sound good.

Since I have started gigging I have wanted to play a gig like this, when I just felt "in the zone". Maybe it was because of the high amount of practice, maybe it was me being a better player than I was last time I gigged, maybe it was the positive effect of seeing the guy play before me, maybe it was the CD I have been listening to lately that is supposed to help increase confidence, maybe the band was better. I suspect it was a combination of all of these things that made it my best gig so far. I loved it, Mimosa were top class and we are now not "gig virgins" any more.

The younger guys in the band are full of ideas about touring the world, releasing albums and singles. I'll be quite happy to let them do that as long as I can be the drummer!

That's me in the corner, the one sitting at the drum kit. It seemed like a good idea at the time, a drummer in a funk band wearing a Thin Lizzy T shirt.

That was my Tuesday. Wednesday evening was the third instalment in my music filled week. I saw John Blackwell Jr, probably one of the funkiest drummers ever, do a clinic. see Part 3 for more on that..

to be continued.........


Darwin said...

That is cool stuff indeed. I can't play an instrument to save my life, but I love music.

Barfly is a cool band too. Def will be back for part 3 when you post that up!

S said...

Glad to hear your band are on the up!

Got a place we can hear your music?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Hey S3 - I can email you some MP3's that we recorded the other night or, if you can give me a postal address somehow, i'll send you a CD. The only thing I can't do is give you somewhere online to hear them!