Going through the motions is banned in this band. I started thinking about this as we headed down the hill towards the place we had dinner last time we were here, whilst we were trying to remember the conversation we had last time we were here walking down the same hill to the place we had dinner last time. Familiar patterns… I don’t like patterns to my days. I’m in music to avoid patterns.
Every gig is special. It’s never just another day. One fan tweeted “Finally it’s 18th October and I get to see Jake Morley in Winchester”. I’m not going to let her down. Or the old friend coming along. Or the lady who had travelled in all the way from Ghana (though surely not just for me…?!). Or the guy who booked me to play in his living room on bonfire night. Or Andrew who had made the gig his official birthday party. Or young songwriter Owen eager to collect his free t-shirt. Playing music to these people is an honour.
But there is a lot on my brain right now. Two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo are looming, my big London gig at the Borderline, new songs I’m writing to deadlines, setlists, blogs, postcards and my personal life. The stage is my sanctum from these things though, and we’d pulled a big crowd tonight.
Evidently not enough to avoid some cheeky venue shenanigans however – they’d turfed us out of the main room – userped by someone else who was more popular than us. There was me thinking 50 presales wasn’t bad… Fortunately the second room has better acoustics and a great atmosphere – I feel very at home there in fact.
On my last visit I opened with a Freddie Stevenson cover, and it felt right to do so again, thus establishing an unbreakable Winchester / Freddie Stevenson tradition. Freddie if you’re listening you should consider a trip there on your next UK tour – I’m laying the foundations for you mate!
When so many faces in the crowd are willing the night to succeed it invariably does, despite some audience “do we sit / do we stand” issues that I felt bad about.
What separates a decent gig from an utterly fantastic gig? Easy – always the audience. If the audience are up for it anything is possible, so never forget that. You are not a passive observer, you are a participant. Even if you’re sitting and saying nothing, HOW are you sitting and saying nothing? Are you open or closed? Are you giving like we’re giving? We’ll all have a better time if you are.
I promise to never go through the motions as a performer if you never go through the motions as a fan. Deal?
Next postcard sent to: one to Niki and one to Rob
Free t-shirt to: Owen
Thanks to: everyone mentioned above in particular, but only because I knew them, thanks really to everyone who came along, paul on sound, the venue staff and Freddie (different to the one in my song btw) for writing songs that have changed my world.