Last Saturday, my roots/blues/jam band Dr Diddley had its first full-length gig. Our singer arranged it, and got us a local opening act to boot! When I arrived at the venue, there was hardly anyone present. I figured it makes sense - we're new so who would come see us? Went to the bar to get some drinks for me and my friends, and the lady asked: "You with the band?" Figured they must have a built-in crowd, since she identified me as non-local
Shortly after my band mates arrived, the place started filling nicely. I was right about the built-in crowd, though some came to see the opening act and left once they were done. They were really good, nice 'n tight. Female bass player sporting a Gibson Thunderbird through a Fender MusicMaster bass amp and two 1x12 speakers (IIRC). After their show I asked her about lugging all that weight, and she said: "I have three guys in the band for that" - indeed, they did all the heavy lifting. We will play with them again in January (we are offering a package deal) so I think I will get their cd.
Anyway, when we took the stage a small portion of the crowd had left, however most stayed to see us. First song was a bit shaky, but I think we pulled through quite nicely. By the third song I saw some people bobbing their heads along to the groove - nice. All in all, the first set really went well. No real clams, pretty good performance from all involved, except for one song where our drummer counted in way too fast - and he wasn't even supposed to count it in!
We took a short break, so I went to the loo. Guy standing next to me complimented me on my bass lines. I appreciated it, though the setting was weird. Definitely did not offer to shake hands! Two guys at the bar told me we sounded great and should play such and such local festival. Since one of em kept requesting "Heartbreak Hotel" (we don't play it) I told him if he gets us on the festival, we will play the song for him
We launched into the second set with Hoochie Coochie Man. By now we REALLY had people moving and grooving and I figured we were off to a nice start! However it went downhill pretty shortly after that. Too many slow, dragging songs. Drummer again messed up the tempo for one track, this time dragging it all the way down. We initiated a country song called "Take This Job And Shove It". Three times, cos the singer kept forgetting the words. I messed up both walking bass solos in that song AND in Stray Cat Strut (ya get three solo's ...) but we did end on a high - with a repeat song from the first set.
As we were packing up our gear a guy came over to compliment us on the sound, saying how much he loved us and appreciated us playing this type of music. The Heartbreak Hotel guy came over and said: "Your first set was great. Your second set was not. Just giving constructive advice." I liked his approach
I went off the stage and one guy said: "You! Let me shake your hand!" Inquiring after the reason, he said: "Man, no frets and a lets-do-this attitude, you are awesome, man!!" I thanked him, and was genuinely glad to receive such a compliment. Our guitarist told me afterwards that this guy is a colleague of his, and plays drums for a band I happen to like pretty well. Apparently he was full of praise about my fretless bass playing
All in all, it was a good debut gig. We decided to drop the country song ("take this song and shove it") and replace it with an Eddie Cochran song. I am currently discussing a reshuffle of the set list with the singer - get a better balance. And leave a song or two for an encore ... Especially our rendition of "Shake Your Moneymaker", people REALLY react well to it so let's leave it til last!
Shameless plugs:Facebook page of Dr Diddley Soundcloud page of Dr Diddley