The afternoon before I do a gig, whether it's me playing or I'm just putting on the bands, is always a bit uncomfortable. My mind tends to go blank as to what preparation I've done, what I still need to do and what it is I am meant to be doing. I have ample spare time to get myself sorted and off to the venue in good time. However, if my mind has gone blank and I have this strange preparation constipation then how can I physically manage to do such a simple thing?
So, as instruction to myself here are all the things I have to do:
*Try not to smoke too much, otherwise my already fading singing voice will just be masked by the sound of gargling phlegm. Although at the moment I appear to be chain-smoking.
*Create and print out flyers for this website. This sounds easy but it's actually a bit of a pain in the arse.
*Clean guitars as dusty guitars are certainly not cool.
*Pack bag with the correct leads, microphones, stands, books, aforementioned flyers, flyers for other events I'm promoting, Stylophone/melodica/recorder/drop whistle/toy drum/toy saxophone/megaphone/jangly bells/Buddha Machine II (depends what I am using), distortion pedal, trilby hat, tie, waistcoat, jacket, pocket watch, Little Giraffe, small amplifier, music stand, spare batteries, "Entry £2" sign, float for money on door, hand stamp, gaffer tape, Vocal Zones, venue contract and deposit receipt, 2 bottles of water or soft drink and a pen. This bag will now be incredibly heavy!
*Ensure all backing tracks are in order. They are not!
*Eat something that could at least pass as a decent meal. This is a mean task when your stomach is trying to ingest itself.
*Shower, iron shirt and Febreeze the Guinnesss stains on my suit from the last gig.
*Make sure all the bands/acts and soundman knows what time to turn up.
*Send out final promotional message to social networking sites.
*Lay off the tea and coffee.
Now, I should be at the venue for 5pm in order to start at 7:30pm. Already knowing I need petrol and cigarettes I should leave at around 4:30. I will actually leave at 4:50 because I am rubbish and most of the above + whatever I have forgotten will be done at the last minute. I'll then drive to the venue, park on double yellow lines and unload all of my heavy shit down/up (what is usually) an incredibly narrow flight of stairs as quickly as possible. I will then simultaneously mind the now open and empty room for the venue and go and park my car somewhere more sensible.
Then chain-smoke and drink water until the sound man arrives, and then assist him or her to carry all of their even heavier shit down the same staircase. Then pace around, chain-smoking some more whilst they spend the next hour or so setting up.
In the meantime the other acts will arrive one by one until we have all but one who will later turn out to be running very very late (usually the act bringing an essential piece of equipment such as… hmmm, well let's say drums as that's what it nearly always is!) We'll start sound-checking a bit too late after the sound guy has fixed whatever problem he has discovered with their PA that had developed curiously in the time between the present and last time he used it. Somebody will take far longer than they really should to sound-check meaning at least one act will be unable to do so at all.
Doors will open. Nobody will turn up.
Until about quarter to nine… for some reason quarter to nine is the magic time for people turning up to gigs. I don't know why. It just is. I could have been doing an all-dayer and had music and bands performing from 1:00 in the afternoon but still no substantial crowd would gather in the room until about 8:47. Which is going to be a bit of a pisser tonight as the gig will run a bit earlier from 7pm to 10pm in order to accommodate DJs at the venue after we clear out.
The act before the headliner will have brought a big bunch of people to the gig which is great until you realise that they have come to see that act and that act alone meaning as soon as they are finished their set the act and their fans will piss off somewhere else. Usually quite hurtfully to the pub upstairs/downstairs/next door. Meaning your "headline act" plays to a crowd half the size of everybody else!
In the meantime people will try to have conversations with you. However, if that conversation does not entail stage times, sound quality or the bands onstage then your conversational and social skills will have become strangely redundant just like your preparation skills had earlier in the day.
You'll then go on stage. Everything will be fine and you're in the most comfortable state you have been in all day. It was all worth every single ounce of effort you put in.
Then you will finish and have to do all that preparation backwards as fast as you possibly can in order to clear the venue in time and make it to the after-show pub everyone else is now off to (this usually involves a rather heated round trip home and back).
The following morning you will feel dazed, confused, hungover and hungry. Your treasured instruments will be in the hallway and your expensive clothes will be in a heap on the floor. There will be nothing sensible to satisfy your hunger apart from a really manky piece of cold pizza.
Any bands or promoters out there? Does this this sound familiar or is it just me?! Use the contact form on this website to tell us your story and if there are any good ones I might publish them here next week.
I did intend to just start this blog with a couple of paragraphs on the trials and tribulations of organising gigs but hey ho… I appear to have a vast load of stuff that needed airing!
Anyway. Time is ticking by and I have a little giraffe to pack into a large holdall.
Off we go then!
Here's a little pre-gig video to make myself feel better!:
Now go and listen to some of my tunes mo-fos! http://www.musicbymeiosis.com