Monday, November 5, 2007

Fuck Off I'm With The Band

Saturday night saw the covers band doing a gig. It was about my fifth or sixth outing with them and it was one I had been looking forward to with excitement. I felt well rehearsed and on top of the set and this was a fortieth birthday party which was expected to be full of glamorous media types, or to use the technical term; sexy birds.

I arived at the venue and looked around. A feeling that can only be described as "Oh fuck" enveloped me. I was there in jeans, a T shirt and converse allstars. Even if I say it myself I looked pretty fine, but in a "is that the Dad of one of the Libertines?" kind of way. The jeans were not a Tesco value pair, the baseball boots were real and the T shirt was one that I knew suited my incredibly muscular but toned body.

This would have been great were it not for the fact that the tables were being set for the evening and I looked around and realised that I had dressed for the occasion with all the good judgement and common sense of George Dubya and Prince Philip making a joint speech at a school of political correctness in which the students are all gay and black, perhaps with a few Indians thrown in.

There was fancy cutlery, white table cloths and frankly it had that air of a Sri Lankan old school dinner dance about it without the Sri Lankans. Skinny jeans, albeit on a slightly fat bloke, and baseball boots probably weren't going to help me to blend in. I took comfort in the knowledge that it was odds on I'd be the only darkie around for the evening and that gave me a certain feeling of comfort in being different. You know, the whole "representing my people" thing. The days of being at one with the waiting staff because we're all coloured are long gone since the Eastern Europeans invaded.

The rest of the band and then the husband of the birthday girl arrived. He was a nice chap, jovial, rounded, English and clearly had married someone a good few years younger than himself. If he'd had a grey beard I would have suspected him of being Father Christmas, but I'm unsure if Mr Christmas is married.

He'd made a bucket load of effort for the party. It was a surprise party and he'd done up a powerpoint presentation with backing music for his wife. All sweet stuff and no expense had been spared. But the general feel of the place, the atmosphere and the look of things demanded one of those functions bands, one that would kick out "no woman no cry" and "have you ever seen the rain?" without breaking into a sweat. Our set was full to the brim with Franz Ferdinand, the Foo Fighters and The Killers.

As the guests started to arrive our fears became greater. It may have been a fortieth but the invites must have stipulated that guests had to be over about fifty. They sat at their tables and had dinner as we, the band, sat in a corner of the bar section and brooded. It was all very Spinal Tap. We decided that we'd play our two sets as planned, treating it a a good band practice. Our concession was to play the sets back to back, in the vague hope that, if there was anyone on the dance floor, they wouldn't be able to escape during the break.

Dinner finished and the presentation came and went and we took our places on stage. Confab and any other gigging musos will know the things that go on in our heads at that time. All of us musos try desperately to tune and warm our instruments up whilst still looking cool to the eagerly anticipating audience. We have to portray the right balance of concentration, nanchalence and Rock 'n' Roll, whatever that may be.

Then we kicked off, with "Take me out" the Franz Ferdinand song. I'm not a fan of the Scottish band, but I enjoy playing the songs of theirs' that we do. They're quirky and fun to play.

Within about 4 bars of the song the dance floor was packed. I was flabbergasted and intrigued by this. As we worked our way through the set playing a slightly eclectic mix of rocky stuff, with the only common thread being the fact that no self respecting non white person would have been seen dead dancing to any of them, the crowd went mad, and I mean that in a good way.

Women who looked as if they hadn't danced since they left school, men who looked as if they last danced on a night out with Bertie Wooster all boogied on down. For about an hour and a half. They even danced to "Times like These" the Foo Fighters one with the two sections in7/8 and some in 4/4. Unlike the Foo Fighters we managed to play it in one of those sections with the guitarist playing in 7/8 and me playing in 4/4. I don't know what the rest of the band were doing but eventually we all got back together and found the 1.

Then it came to an end. We did a three song encore and they danced some more.

After taking our stuff down and all the dismantling I left with a smile on my face.

I had been reminded that I must NEVER prejudge an audience. And also that jeans, baseball boots and a T shirt are fine if you're in the band!


Angel said...

Wow! I wonder if that would ever happen in Sri Lankan old school dinner dance... unless you played baila! :)

Confab said...

damn straight! power to the jeans and the converse!

when time's like these first came out, my band of the time and i tried to cover it. what a mess we made of it! the drummer, who was after a few beers, completely forgot that it was in 7/8. oh well. i didn't leave that gig smiling too much:)

Anonymous said...

..and i am so glad those converse are being used... finally!