Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Toughest Audience Ever

After a short intermission, during which I tried to be serious and got my fingers burnt by trying to understand the sheer intellect and brilliant mind power of some people, it's back to the less serious side of life over on on the LLD channel.

We've established that Electra and myself are the Ellen Degenereses of the Lankanosphere and that's the way it is, according to anonymous. If only I was a proper writer I'd probably know what the plural of Degeneres actually is. Sadly I don't.

So I'll tell you about Friday night, a gig night, not so much about the gig as that was average, more about the tough crowd I had to try and please. They were definitely the most hard to please audience I've ever faced.

They were A and K.

The gig was booked some weeks ago and it was a rugby club dinner dance awards type of thing, falling on a Friday on which I was due to have the girls. Cool, I thought to myself. It's a long time since they've seen me play a gig, they'll enjoy it.

"Oooh RD" I can hear you saying through hissed teeth "that was your first mistake."

Well you're right.

The only way I could have got a frostier reception would have been if I'd walked up to Frosty the snowman and asked him and all his family to come to my post wedding party, maybe bringing some ice lollies with them.

Yes, it's one thing being a cool Dad, being in a band and all, it's another thing to ask tell teenage girls that they'll have the pleasure of going to a gig, one of my ones. It's not like this was any night, this was one on which they could have being doing something special, something like watching TV or arguing.

It's fair to say they didn't approach the evening with the keen anticipation, excitement and sense of pride in their Dad that I had expected. In fact, it's fair to say that it was all they could do to pretend to be keen on the idea. I was at least grateful for that.

Their act of being half enthusiastic was confirmed to me when, a few days before, K asked me a question that gave things away. I had said to her that it was fine with me if they didn't come, that I had them on Saturday night instead, if that was okay with their mother. K said they it was fine and they were looking forward to it. I didn't believe her. I didn't believe her even more when she asked

"Dad, would it be okay if we brought a book?"

I answered in the affirmative, hoping that it wouldn't actually happen.

Friday night approached, as they tend to do, and I went to the venue to set up and soundcheck, then drove off the collect the girls. They were trendied up when I got them, attitude was oozing out of everywhere and they were as cool as a pair of cucumbers at my wedding reception with Frosty the snowman and the ice lollies, the one I mentioned earlier.

We walked into the venue and they promptly took their place, right at the back of the hall on a couple of stools. The option of grabbing a couple of spots at the front where they could be close to the stage and soaking up the atmosphere, which proved to be non existent anyhow but we didn't know that at the time, was rejected quicker than VIC turning down a free holiday to Mexico with Dinidu and Sanjana.

Our lead guitarist had his son and a strange looking mate of the son's there, probably about the same age, and they took their place in the middle of the mosh pit and spent the night making weird attempts at dancing, getting into the spirit of things and embarrassing themselves thoroughly. I fully understood and accepted that this was because they're boys and boys of that age are about twenty years less mature than girls of that age.

Also, when I say "mosh pit' I'm pushing things a bit as it was more that gap between the dinner tables and the edge of the band, it was only a mosh pit if there were people there moshing, which there weren't.

It was a gig that consisted of one set for us, about seventeen songs with an encore of about five or six more, depending on the reception and timings. As we blundered our way through the first few songs I'd squint my eyes at regular intervals to try to see the reaction from A and K.

I was nervous and self conscious and knew that my playing reflected it. I'm a musician who's usually pretty relaxed about things but this time I was more on edge than if I had been playing to an audience of world famous drummers. Each time I looked at the girls I could see that they were watching us, that much was a result, at least there was no reading going on.

Watching was almost their limit. They stood impassively at the back of the venue and any displays of emotion were unintentional. At the end of each song they'd clap and whenever we made eye contact they'd smile at me, in the way many would smile at a beggar in the street.

Nothing changed about their behaviour during the gig, it was afterwards that things got a bit interesting.

As soon as we'd finished a gang of boys converged around me and the drums. This often happens when I play and there are teenagers present. They want to try the drums and believe it or not, they seem to want to talk to the drummer. I think it's because they like the look of hitting things, that primitive thing that's so evident when you watch a drummer in action, even me.

A couple of the kids asked if they could have a go on the drums and I obliged, another two asked if they could have my drumsticks as a souvenir and I obliged too.

A and K hung around in the background, but I could see that they were beginning to feel a bit possessive of their Dad. There was something about the way they were behaving that made me realise they wanted the other youths to know that they were the offspring of the drummer.

They ambled over to me, too cool for school, kissed me and said "well played". A stared at the drumkit, a kit she's seen and played countless times. This time though, she looked at it with different eyes.

"Hmmm the kit looks nice and impressive tonight Dad" she said.

"mmmkay" I said, slightly puzzled.

"I thought you sounded really great tonight" said K.

"Yeah, Starlight was cool tonight" said A.

I was confused but you know me. I took it all in my stride with the coolness and calmness I'm renowned for.

After I'd dealt with my fans I started to dismantle the kit and the girls hung around being uncharacteristically helpful, so helpful that I had to tell them to wait until I'd put away some things before they got involved. This may have been because they wanted to get home but I was more inclined to think it was because they wanted to be seen to be involved and part of the band.

We packed up and set off in the car. During the journey I cogitated over whether they had actually enjoyed the evening or if they were just being polite, trying to be nice to me. I was unsure until A asked me to put Muse on the car stereo. I did. She then wanted to listen to Starlight, which we did.

And I heard her drumming along to it in the back seat, all enthusiastic and fired up.

It was then that I knew I'd inspired her, that once again, just for a short while, I was a cool Dad.

Of course, the next day it was all forgotten...


Charm Bracelet said...

hehe RD. Never a dull moment eh? How old are A & K? Just got me curious. Trying to figure out if I was of this mentality at their age :) Good stuff.

Dinidu said...

Phew. I was actually worried about you. :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

CB - They're almost 13 and 15. Lethal!

Dinidu - Thanks, I was too!

Makuluwo said...

Haha! Nothing more terrifying than being judged by teenage daughters!
Fun story. :D

Anonymous said...

You are a brave man.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon - Thanks