Thursday, August 11, 2005

Jongleurs, Light Ropes, Q-Trons, Monitors, Dressing rooms, Door Staff...

It's all in an evening's work for Janeiro!

I've decided what we commited last night were random acts of funk. Random google ahoy!

I got there about 5.30pm, to find Dan, Richand Jamie were well and truly set up! The running theme of the beginning and end of the evening, which was the three of them expending vast amounts of energy carrying nearly everything from place to place, was established early on. I'm not supposed to have roadies yet!! They're great lads, my car was empty within 5 minutes of parking round the back of Jongleurs. Those back stairs are scary though.

Disconcertingly, the staff of Jongleurs appeared to be having a training course on customer awareness. A frighteningly attractive bunch, they were being assailed in David-Brent style presentation, with the secrets of conflict resolution and how many different words there were for the names of various illegal chemical substances they could expect to find up people's noses etc. A bit wierd to listen to while you're plugging stuff into other stuff. When she mentioned ecstacy I wanted to stick my hand up and say "doves!", which nobody else got. Then when she mentioned crack I just about creased up. It's all in the delivery. Not the crack, the lecture.

After some jiggery and a little pokery we located a solid wooden table we could perch my monolith Warwick stack on. See, the stage in Jongleurs is sort of built for comedians. Who'da guessed? (shrugs) :) So my stack ended up obscuring part of the jongleurs logo, which was cool as from the right angle, I thought we'd get confused for a band called jongleurs, which wouldn't sit well with the venue chain. Basses were perched behind Jamie's stack on the right of the stage. In all, a tight little set-up, with a little room for George and Jake (looking browner than the sauce after their holiday!) for boogie at the front. Javier's set up teetered precariously on the left, and Dan's drums looked spectacular dead centre.

We sorted out Rich's marshall amp problem, the crackles and drop-outs are in the pre-amp. Seeing as he uses a POD all the time, he plugged straight into the poweramp direct in, and bingo! perfect.

And I brought the light rope! I curled it a couple of times around the amp and ran in up the mike stand. Not bad, I called it my funk cable, giving vibes to my vocals from the basslines. It's only a conceptual thing... heh

The dressing room (my god, yes, we had a dressing room) was the built-for-one job the comedians use, so a 7-piece had to work in shifts ("George, are you done yet?.... I really need to go!" {crosses legs} - then "George, did you have to? Pheeeewwwww!" Lots of giggles there etc heh heh) but it did fine, I even managed to shower my head after getting overheated setting up, etc. Nic brought me a care package, bless, as well as herself (it's improtant I can see her at gigs, good grounding in reality, plus her eyes are riveting even at 30 feet away, you can still make out the wolf rings!) - a bottle of Tesco diet Kick drink (buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) and deodorant, halleluijah!

First set went really well: Jake's idea of starting out with a quiet-ish track meant we'd warmed up nicely before ploughing on. Jav's soloing on the night was really nasty! Tasty chords and really off-the-wall sequences, the lad's a genius. The ends of "hooked on you" got extended but sounded really tasty, flowing grooves.

When we came off stage I was beaming! Lots of good noises. People popped downstairs to Bar Risa but they all came back up again when we restarted, which took far too long as a couple of sad muppets posing as Virgin Records A&R men (one of whom was apparently rather interested in Georgie) wasted Jake's time ("vanished again? I'll find him!" quoted his mum. Luckily, as ever, Dan seemed to know where he was) - but they were ejected from the building by our very very good friends, who protested that even if they were lawyers or the some of some tosspot sheik they were still vulnerable to a good kicking and would they please kindly apologise. Which they did. Yay!

Also during the intermission, I was on my way to the Gents downstairs and met up with a couple of young oxford "laydeez" who were off to get some cash. The doorstaff suddenly seemed to prickle as they tried to get outside, but lo! It was actually good natured ribbing (as demonstrated by the fact they got back in!). We were paying the lads to look after security, and they were great. Really dry senses of humour, big lads with scary haircuts but obviously pussycats under the surface (of course, as anyone who has dragged a cat out of a tree will tell you, they've got some serious weapons).

Second set was a little more wobbly but with stacks of energy (although I really do need more rest before gigs like that - I'm not sleeping well at the moment, for other reasons than stress, etc! Even Tesco Kick in large amounts wasn't working at that point) - but the bloody Q-tron cut out the clean signal I was using at the beginning of "Disco" so I got paranoid about batteries running out and started fiddling with levels before I finally cottoned on and kicked the nerfing thing back into life! It did suck a little out of my sails though, I was rather embarrased.... :) I'll be dismantling that and fixing it this evening. Sigh! So much for buying good quality FX in San Francisco. Haight Ashbury that was too!

Jake's dad (Mr Big himself!) did a stupidly good job of blowing some very hot harmonica on "long train running", where the Q-tron redeemed itself a little with nice squidgy noises. I tried to keep myself reigned in at least a little, you can go a bit mental on that one.

With I'd had the opposite feeling during the solo in "Funks me Off!" I'll leave it there. I know I've mentioned I should lock that solo down, but this is crunch point: by the 18th (presuming we do that track - we definitely don't have to, and I can see reasons why it's not really a festival track!) I WILL have that solo LOCKED DOWN AND PRACTISED. Dan's solo was stunning, a real tour de force. His confidence in what he's playing has been starting in the last 2 weeks, I would almost swear he's not scared of that solo anymore! His dedication makes me hang my head in shame. A bit.

Lots of good feedback (vocal, not PA) at the end, not least about the sound, our best yet. After a brief period swanning around and finally getting a beer in (my apologies to Dean, I'll get that drink off you on the 18th mate ;) I finally got away at just after 1am, rolling into home at 2am and not being able to sleep until 3!

But by god, it's worth it. I was talking to Dean about this blog: it really has been a resurrection. The funny thing is, it's now becoming so resurrected I need to start considering my options in other areas of my life: a flower is growing, a little dream of an idea I had thought I lost a while back turned up in an unexplored corner of my heart on the way to the rehearsal wednesday afternoon. I could really do this and keep doing this.

I couldn't stop grinning and laughing as I drove up the A34. It's real, it's alive, something is actually happening! The hair on my neck stood up, I realised it's in my blood!

Oh, and someone told me Party in the Park can get 30,000 people. Permission to cack my pants sir.

A t' B P


Squander Two said...

Great to hear you're so happy. Keep it up. And get some sleep.

Actually, I'm not sleeping either. I seem to have developed an unhealthy resentment of time spent asleep, so I avoid it. Which is odd, 'cause I like sleeping.

Base Experience said...

Don't resent time asleep mate... I cherish the moments I can let my subconcious go flying around anywhere it likes. Freud would probably prefer a nice cup of tea than spend any time with me...

Squander Two said...

Well, more accurately, it's time spent at work that I resent. I love sleeping, but I don't like going to sleep when there are so many things to do. If I could do them during the day, it wouldn't be a problem. Grr.