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a gig


The Bear Jew

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This is a bass-related gig story, so I thought I'd share it here.

 

Last Thursday my "brit-pop" band played out for the first time in ages. This band has been fairly focused on recording for a while, so while we've been playing a lot, we haven't been playing in clubs very much at all.

 

So we wound up with a gig on Thursday night because the singer/guitarist made a New Year's resolution to get this band playing out a lot in '03. The gig was about 60 miles away in Delaware, in a sort of upper-crusty nightclub/restaurant that's known for having fairly middle-of-the-road acts perform upstairs. It's got a nice PA, good lights and a small, pleasant stage. We were told that we'd have to share our backline with the headlinign act, which basically meant that we'd be using whatever they provided. I made a phone call early last week to find out what they had for us to use, and I was encouraged to hear there was an Ampeg bass rig and a 6-piece Yamaha Stage Custom drum set waiting for us. All we had to bring was my bass, cymbals, sticks, pedals, guitars and guitar amp. We fit all this stuff in the singer's car and rolled down together. It's nice to play in a power trio sometimes. A light snow fell as we drove.

 

Load-in was 8:30pm, and we were dead on time. We think that's important -- to act like a pro and be on time. It was pretty easy to load in -- all was had was few things. of course, the headliner was late. They didn't show until almost 10pm. We had time to eat dinner while we waited. The snow fell a little heavier.

 

The drummer came along first... Drew (our drummer) talked with him. The set was fine, and everything looked like it was gonna work. No problem there. The rest of the band showed up, one by one, but no bassist. Finally, around 10:30pm, a guy walked in pushing a 1x15 Ampeg cabinet. This had to be the guy. We spoke for a minute, and apparently nobody had informed him that I'd need to use his rig. He was OK with me using it, but he also brought the news that the band's singers weren't coming because the snow made it too hard for them to travel from Newark, so they weren't going to play that night. To put this in perspective, we just drove about 70 miles to get there from Philly, but these fools could do 30 miles to play their regular gig?

 

Douchebags.

 

Anyway, the other band definitely wanted to split right about then, but they also knew they'd be screwing the club and us by doing that. They also knew they'd hurt their rep and lose their regular gig, so they had to kind of grin and bear it. I wouldn't want to be the singers from that band at their next rehearsal.

 

The soundman, Digital Dave, helped me put the bass rig on the stage since Mr. Bassguy was kinda grumbling about having to stay until we finished our set and therefore not in a helpful mood. Turns out the Ampeg cab was powered by a vintage Kustom head... kinda assy sounding (Mr. Bassguy didn't believe in mids or highs, apparently), but I managed to tweak a little tone out of it with minimal effort.

 

Digital Dave asked us how long we could play... well, like I mentioned earlier, we've been recording for a while, so we weren't particularly well-rehearsed on more than an hour's worth of material, but we had at least two and a half hours of stuff to draw from... I told him we'd play from 10:45 till 12:30. My logic was this --it was a snowy Thursday night in Wilmington, and I didn't think anyone would really stay much later than that. He was cool with that decision.

 

The room started filling up, and we got started. It was fun as hell to be onstage with this band again... we have a totally different vibe than my metal/hardcore band. We laugh at each other a lot more, and it's just kind of nice to lay back every once in a while. Most of this band's material is kinda chilled and spacey, but we have a few uptempo tunes. Suprisingly, we didn't miss anything or fuck up the unrehearsed numbers, and we were all kind of grinning at each other like egg-sucking dogs after we nailed a particularly challenging arrangement we haven't played in about six months. Digital Dave got into the act, too, and he hooked Jason (the singer/guitarist) up with a little selective vocal delay and some pretty cool lighting changes. Neat!

 

We wound up playing a little longer than we thought -- we stepped offstage at 1am. Nice compliments came in from the crowd -- "You guys are so great!" etc. We gave away all of our free cd samplers and got some names on our mailing list. Digital Dave handed us a night's pay -- $100. Not bad, considering that we weren't supposed to get any $$ at all for this gig (it was an "audition" night for us.)

 

We loaded out and rolled back to Philly in the snow. I got home around 3:30am, kissed the wife and went to sleep. Woke up in the AM and... well, went to play a set of shows over the weekend with my other band... read about that here: my weekend of rocking

 

Just thought I'd share.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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CMDN I know nothing about unions, but I think with your attitude (i.e the right one) you should work for the local muso's union, showing the unreliable sorts how to run a band and be professional.

 

The band I play in rehearsed a our set for 1 year before we gigged, we could have gotta gig much sooner, but didn't wanna (a) perform on stage until we felt really comfortable performing at rehearsals. Instead of a relaxed normal practice we got our selves on the stage at the rehearsal room and pumped out sets (no breaks for ciggies etc) to the few friends we didn't mind being crap in front off. (b) I hate seeing slack shows, I get much more from a band that looks like they're playing to save their lives, so it makes sense to give to people what I enjoy myself.

 

And it worked people come to our shows and say we rock. I'm happy, they're happy, the worlds a little bit of a better place.

Great story.

 

CupMcMali...this monkey's gone to heaven :freak:

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Thanks for the love, fellas.

 

Cup...

Way ahead of ya. There isn't actually an original musicians' union in our area. It kinda sucks. I'm working on a project to help out the bands around here, though. With any luck, we can raise the level of professionalism at gigs for folks around here.

 

As far as gigging out goes... we used to play out a lot more often, but this band has been doing a lot more recording lately, so we haven't been doing gigs. Also, my other band stays pretty busy, so we have to juggle times a lot.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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So - did the other band play at all? Did they all just go home? Did you offer to sing for them?

 

Digital Dave must have had a less than stellar opinion of the other band before this happened. Glad to see he recognized your efforts.

 

Digital Dave? Nice nickname. You'll be the next mixerman. I'll read about the rest of the weekend in a few minutes...

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Yo Tom... Bite me.

 

OK. Now that's out of the way.

 

The other band never played at all. When we were done, we unplugged, broke down the cymbals, etc, and split. The other band's singers are more like rappers than singers, so I wasn't about to offer my abilities in that arena, especially since I can barely sing anyway, let alone rap.

 

I don't know how much Digital Dave (which is actually how he introduced himself) liked the other band to start with, but he definitely seemed to like US a lot after we stepped up and filled out the night when they crapped out.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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hahaha...

Yeah... I'm definitely not a hippie, but I do appreciate the encouragement. Getting and giving love is good for everyone... even scary metal guys like me.

 

And yeah... it IS kinda nice to know that we helped give some folks a bit of entertainment on a shitty night.

 

Julie... if you want to keep reading, I'll keep writing.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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