Saturday, 15 March 2014

Birth of a Band 12

Out of the blue, on July 9th, the 3-fold Arts gig at The Chequers in Marlow was called off to make way for an Oye Santana gig elsewhere. I fired an email out to the band and, after a couple of ‘oooh, not sure’s the gig went ahead.

Again, it was the same battle with the management about noise levels for the first half an hour and then nothing as we slipped seamlessly into hard rocking and jamming.

A guy called Terry showed up and filmed and recorded us. He said we could have the material – he was just checking out new gear. Well, it’s now March 2014 and I’ve given up asking him. Some things, you know, are just never going to happen.

But the gig went down well and the money was appreciated… My smug face continued. I had earned us £1,000 in three gigs in a couple of weeks. It felt good.

After the success of the birthday party and the  Chequers emergency gig, our next gig was daytime, outdoors, on a Sunday… all of which are usually things to make a rock band wince. Not us this time. This was a gig for the National Chopper Club, Berkshire chapter.

If ever there was a group of people we thought would really go for what we were doing, this was it.  I reckoned we’d not only go down a treat, but get requests for future bookings at chopper gatherings the country over.

Nige was the same. In one missive, he said: “They keep mentioning it’s more about the bikes than anything else and that bands they’ve had previously just crack on without too much interest in them. Not wishing to sound conceited or anything, but I think we all know that’s not going to be the case on Sunday, now is it?” And we all agreed.

Sunday 14th July was a glorious day – hot… and then some… and then some more. It was brilliant. I’m not much of a one for exposing my fetta-coloured skin to the elements, so I was dressed pretty much as normal. The other three turned up in shorts and sandals.

Now, I’ve no problem with this per se, but George looked like something from It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum. Not a great rock image, but hey. The gig got underway (our first with all instruments going through the PA) and the grizzly, hard, tough, rough looking bunch that was our audience milled around the bikes, chops and hot rods on show.

It was an impressive lay out and no mistake. Trouble was, we could have been playing Bucks Fizz numbers for all they cared. There was no doubt that this was the right crowd listening to the right music, but they were all too busy with the business of the day and generally being cool to pay any attention to the band.

We battled on and by the end of the show, we had a few people standing and sitting around, actively listening to us – which I consider to be a success – but Woodstock, Monterey or Glastonbury it was not… It wasn’t even Stonehenge!

Once again, as is so often the case when we think we’re bombing, everybody says how much they have enjoyed the show. People just have different ways of expressing it.

And the National Chopper Club, lovely fellas though they are, are just waaay too cool to show emotion at a live show. Great day, though…

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