Wednesday, July 4, 2007

You've Got To Laugh

Last night was a Mimosa gig night, the third one in a few weeks. What a night, and I mean that in an unusual way.

The gig was in a bar in Bracknell, one of our regular venues, in fact the first one we ever played. But we only knew about the gig last week and so had little chance to generate a crowd. The originals band scene here is all about bringing your own audience. We're usually paid according to how many people come to watch us and passing trade isn't usually much for a band that doesn't play well known songs (Summer of '69, Have you ever seen the rain? etc). So what little money we get is almost always from the amount that our friends and family spend anyway.

The gig last night was one that we shared with a blues band called EWB. They're friends of ours now, we've done two gigs in the last weeks with them and this was one that we asked them to play as support. They're a great set of blokes and their drummer is one of the best players I've seen for a while. Their music is nothing likes ours, we're smooth sounding and funky (in theory) and they're quite raw and bluesey.

We'd all turned up, soundchecked and done our messing around when the time came for EWB to play. There was something missing that became apparent to all of us, even to myself and Jim, the other drummer. The missing element was an audience. The crowd consisted of Mimosa and two other blokes. I calculated that this was slightly less than normal but it was a Tuesday night and it was pouring with rain and we were in Bracknell.

Oh well, the guys played, us musos often just love to play, whether it's to ourselves or to a massive audience. They really are an enjoyable band to watch if you like some blues, which I do. I had an inspirational time watching Jim play the drums. I often find that I can watch someone like that and be motivated to improve my own playing and this was no exception. His groove was nice but it was his fills that really caught my attention. Mostly triplet and shuffle based but very musical and each one felt good for the song. There was no overplaying and he complemented the songs brilliantly.

He's also a very nice and humble bloke. Very abundant about his playing, happy to share knowledge and tips and he even paid me a compliment or two. Drummers are usually like that, we're more of a brotherhood than many other musicians are, but I've still met a few who are great players but very far up their own arses. He's a chap I'd like to become friends with and also learn from. Cool.

They finished their set and we got up to play; the headline act, the main event. We had had some fairly heated discussions about the set list earlier, a bit of disagreement about which songs to play, healthy debate but debate nonetheless. It was all pointless though. We are a seven piece band, a highly tuned machine in many ways except in tuning.

There were six people in the audience. And that included Debby's (the singer) Dad and three of the blokes from the other band. It wasn't quite Muse at Wembley stadium. There we were, seven of us on a cramped and squashed up stage and our "crowd" was sitting there in this relatively huge area with all the space in the world.

We cracked on and treated it as a fun and good band practice. i.e we all made a shitload of mistakes. I found it a big test of concentration to play a gig to what was not actually an audience as such. I've honestly had band practices where we have had more people watching and this was something new. I had no fear, no worries about making mistakes and no apprehension about being perfect. I'm not sure that was a good thing either. I don't want to play any gigs in which I'm too nervous or too fearful, but a bit of the stuff is good. Just enough to keep the adrenalin going and to concentrate on my performance.

We soldiered on. The set got shortened as we all began to think of going home. By the time we got to the last song there were ten people watching, four more had turned up after hearing us from outside. Each of them bought one of our cds too. Before the last song Debby introduced the band to the audience. With my usual quick wit and cheeky smile I suggested that the audience introduce themselves to us. They did. Each of the ten stood up and said their names!

Brilliant. I bet that's never happened to Muse.

We dismantled, we loaded up and we went home.

Not the best gig by far, but certainly one that I got some very positive stuff from.

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