Thursday, September 01, 2005

Jongleurs - too much electricity, not enough...

Great gig last night, full of fun (the music), frills (Jake's fluffy hat) and frickin' power losses!

I'll lay out the scene in some form of chronological order as usual, before it drops out of my head entirely.

I got to the venue for about 4:20pm, which is a record for me - the A34 was kind, bless - to find Dan and Jamie had been there ages: the stage was set up, and Flash Harry's PA company had arrived with the rig - the same rig that gave us a GREAT sound last time we played in Jongleurs. So it was spit-in-yer-palms time and unload the car.

I should add that last night in Oxford was like taking a more or less constant steam bath. The whole place felt like hanging your head over a kettle, so everybody got very VERY hot and pretty sweaty. This is good to see in an audience, but not so great when unloading and setting up for a night's fun.

Once everything was set up, the usual soundcheck stuff started. Dan's kit sounded great from the off, and we even got the chance to jam a couple of numbers and I've got to admit, the sound was actually really good. Only slight glitch was taking the bottom end boost off my bass under advisement from our esteemed sound engineer: after the first set everybody kept asking why the bass was so low - so I cranked the Warwick's boost up again and all was well :)

We've seen the pictures Marchello (sp?) has been taking of us all along (right back to the first gigs at Bridge next door) - they're actually pretty good, especially the B&W ones. He nearly incurred the wrath of Jake as some of his pics of Georgie definitely home in on what might be called her photogenic assets... some of the B&W contrasty shots look like perfume adverts, they'll go great as promo shots, etc. Jake has cut a deal to actually get us the pics, very reasonable price too. Marchello gave us quite an impressive photo montage on a Mac G4 powerbook, backed by Jake's recordings - mesmerising stuff. Fortunately there aren't too many shots of me - I'm more impressive sonically that physically! I do need to shop for some impressive stage clothes though.

So. We're soundchecked, and the sound is pretty good, except for a rather low amount of bottom end ;) We now have about 2 hours to kill until 8pm when we agreed to meet back up: Jamie was nippin off to a local pub where he gets subsidised beer (Sponsorship deal in the offing? "This Jamie was brought to you by Carling Black Label!") and Richie, Dan and I all headed for Oxford's Noodle Bar. Top nosh, and a very smiley waitress who seemed to be enjoying herself. Good place, I can recommend the mixed meat yo min noodles. Wierd names for their dishes in their - "yo min" "mai fun" "ho fun" - sounds like Snoop D D's kinda place!

After food we decamped (in the increasingly scary enclosing darkness of a storm-to-be - smell the ozone!) to a lebanese restaurant (they have chateau Musar wine, yet! Supposed to be really nice) where we indulged in cider and an apple hubbly bubbly session - my first time on a hookah! Left me with a huge smile, it's a very mellow way to pass some time after a meal. I can recommend the one in Oxford!

While we were in their the clouds emptied a huge load onto the town, which cleared the air a bit. Luckily we got back to Jongleurs in the dry-ish. We had some of those great debates you can have between really relaxed people when you're out for the evening - I need to egt out with Nic like that more, like the West End in London - dinner and a show, that sort of thing. You know how you sort of kick back, don't walk too fast, talk and take in the scenery, the people, the vibe - all the stuff you don't get time to do in modern life when you're always trying to get somewhere or get something done. Just filling a little time between pleasureable pursuits!

We started pretty late, with a decent and enthusiastic little crowd getting really into what we were doing. Jake donned the pink fluffy hat again (which found its' way to Dan in the second set!) and Georgie contrasted herself nicely from the last Jongleurs gig by dressing entirely in black!

Great first set - like I said though, not enough bass, as I found out in the intermission from good friends! - with "Disco" getting an airing, at last (one of my favourites, a real rolling funk thunder) - and receiving an unscheduled drum break which melted beautifully back into the track! Dan's a trooper.

So we rolled of the stage after the first set, happy things are going well. I actually broke my golden rule and had a strongbow(!) 'cos the place was like a high-set sauna.

Second set starts out, and I've cranked the bottom and top valve boost back up on the Warwick, and it's sounding very sweet indeed.

But wait! I can't hear any keyboards and Richie's guitar's gone quiet! We'd tripped a fuse on one side of the stage. Quick as a flash (arf arf) our Glorious PA Demon from Flash Harry's rolls an extension from the still-working side of the stage and.... that side goes out too! We're silent! Only Dan can keep things rolling now, and he gives a little drum tech solo which gets some people movin nicely! We tried to run lines from the bar, but everytime that right had side of the stage was plugged in we'd go out like a dodgy bulb.

Turns out it's Xavier's keyboard - and it's happened before(!) I need to get my soldering iron on that thing, it's in need of more TLC than Eastenders plotlines. Once we isolated his keyboard (we had the Korg there, thankfully!) we could continue with no problems. Nice. "Funks me Off" saw some of the best solos I think we've done - I was actually smiling at the end of mine - but I really want some fingerstyle in there as well... it's too easy to just beat the hell out of the warwick mith my thumb in some vaguely syncopated Dorian grooving!

Big finale... and we're off. The breakdown of the PA, drums etc takes us up to about 1:30am, and I'm home by abour 2:40 as I had to pull over on the A404 briefly for a "power nap" - not done that before, but I was worried about falling asleep at the wheel! - it worked perfectly, the remaining 20 mins of my journey I was alert and awake no problems. I can recommend just pulling over and stretching out having set an alarm on your mobile for 20 mins hence!

Keep it peaceable Funqy People!

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