Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Shakin' that Arse

I'm not very clued up about the demographics of my readership, I'm not sure if I have a readership as such or if it's a few regulars and a smattering of passers by. But, if you're one of the unknown, or known, regulars, then you'll undoubtedly know that music is my big, big passion, specifically drumming.

So a weekend in which I have two gigs is always going to be a major one and the last was no exception. Both gigs were with Mimosa, the funksters, and they couldn't have been more different. On Saturday it was a gig at a VW festival, one of those massive affairs with camper vans, Beetles and surfer dudes all over the place, then on Sunday it was a wedding reception, one of those ones with a bride, a groom and guests and everything.

The VW thing was at Santa Pod raceway, a place that was new to me, but well known to everyone else in the Western world and also to the Satellite Navigation on my Ultimate Driving Machine, not that any particular raceway is well known to me but you know what I mean.

After a pleasant two hour journey in a car full of drums I arrived there. It's the third time I've played at one of these VW festivals, this was easily the biggest and grandest of them but they've all shared an air of friendliness and cameraderie. The people are all happy and jovial and the atmosphere is a smiley one, rather like one of Java's emails.

As I drove into the place there were VWs of all shapes and sizes dotted about, it was a test of skill and patience to drive through a space like this and have to dodge the hippies and surfer dudes, it's always tempting to maim or kill just one or two, surely they wouldn't be missed, I always think. But then Quiksilver and Converse's sales would probably suffer badly and I'd get caught, not to mention the negative effect on the chances of us getting the gig next year. I did the right thing and drove in nice and peacefully, much like a Sri Lankan Tri Shaw driver.

The stage, once located, was about the size of a small independent state, like Liechtenstein or India. It felt more bouncy though and it had more lighting, possibly with a few less sound engineers. There were supposed to be eight bands playing, going on until about midnight, and we were first on the bill. So, our potential audience was may thousands of people, but we had the worst slot of the day, we thought.

As we all met up we were told that one band had cancelled and therefore we were expected to go on at twelve rather than one. This was good, we would get done and go off earlier, but life with musicians is never that easy and it meant trying to contact the others and to get them to arrive sooner, never a doddle and that's why guitarists don't generally get involved in time keeping issues.

We set up, did a brief soundcheck and then went for it. The full force of Mimosa kicked in and I felt my usual pride in being a part of it. There was a handful of people, perhaps thirty or forty, and there was more wind going around the stage than there is in my Mum and Dad's bathroom after me and my brothers have had a night on the town. Music and lyrics were being swept off the stage and, at one point, there was an even more than usually confused brass section as their chords got blown to oblivion.

The set was a short one at forty minutes. We had to make some changes and the running order was mostly decided as we played. This was a bit of a test for us but also one which made me feel quite satisfied. It's good to know that we can fly by the seat of our musical pants and I was happy that I can play any one of our songs at a moment's notice without the feeling of panic, along the lines of "fuck, how does that one go again?", as I used to.

Gigs like this, with a small audience, invariably end up with all of us having a laugh and being very relaxed. There was some messing about, I decided to play a bit of an extended solo during Watermelon Man, much to the dismay of the bassist and percussionist, who had both expected to have their own solo.

And even thought there wasn't much of a crowd I had a massive feeling of joy and a sense of awe at the power of music. There was one point when I looked up from my kit and noticed that almost all of the crowd were dancing. Some of it was particularly crappy dancing but it was still happening. People were moving to the music, some were swaying, some were tapping their feet and others were giving it the full "Dad at a wedding" thing. It was us, it was our music, songs and grooves that we had written, practiced and perfected (or not perfected) over the last couple of years that was making these people smile and move and tap their feet.

It's one thing to play a cover, a song that everyone already knows from hearing it on the radio every three minutes, and get people moving. But, to play your own stuff and get some arses moving is, and I apologise for my language here, just fucking marvellous.

We finished and we left. The next day (Sunday) was the wedding reception gig which I'll definitely do a separate post on. I did discover that we had been the most well received band from the VW festival.

Which was nice.


confab said...

i wonder whether the feeling is greater when playing live or when live playing is well received...hmmm

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Confab - For me the feeling is definitely greater when it's well received. But, when playing to only a few people it can still be good.

The type of stuff we do in Mimosa is very different to 10 Second Rule's kind of music too. We're far more in the dancey / funk zone, you're more rocky and heavy.

confab said...

I'd love to hear a bit of Mimosa! Do you by any chance have any recordings of studio sessions or live sessions?
Funk is beautiful!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Confab - Check out www.myspace.com/mimosaband

There are 3 tracks we recorded last summer on there. The one called Summertime is my total favourite. Let me know what you think, I'd really value your opinion.

confab said...

great stuff RD. Love the music. Was unable to concentrate completely on it as we've been invited to open for a french gypsy jazz band tomorrow and have been busy with pracs. quite exciting! Playing more chilled out stuff, more blues, more funk, more jazz. All in only 2-3 songs!..but i digress.
I cant remember which one was my fav. love the way the instruments blend though! give me a few more days, will listen to the music properly and then give u proper feedback!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

confab - thanks very much.I read about your gig on Aadhil's blog. Hope all goes well, I'm sure you'll sound great.