There’s something quite intoxicating about a silent crowd.
When you first start doing gigs the crowd is like a wild lion to tame, and more often than not you expect to get mauled. Rise up through the ranks and one day the crowd might become yours – silent, compliant and rolling over like a house cat.
But be warned, don’t forget the value of a few claws, a few play fights. Those who can’t help but shout things out, remind you they’re still there, rage against the dying of the house lights. Otherwise that generic film line starts creeping in… “Hmm…. It’s almost… too quiet…”
Warwick Arts Centre – the last gig, and by this point some fans were coming to their 4th date of the tour. We were in high spirits, as we almost always are, at a good job well done so far. All gigs are important, but it’s good to end a tour on a high.
All kinds of things happen before a gig that are too boring to talk about, like soundchecks and technical blah. Every gig is like when you put on a big party and on the day you wake up and realise the place is a mess and you’ve not bought any paper cups. You have to spend a few hours making it look nice. I know party guests don’t want a tour of the supermarket and a detailed account of how you rigged up the soundsystem, they just want to have fun. So I’ll keep this bit brief, but suffice to say the supermarket had definitely run out of paper cups, through no fault of our excellent soundman.
Not that any of the guests had any idea – everything was sorted in time, and I felt full of the theatrical excitement you get playing arts theatres. Respectful applause as the house lights dim, walk on stage… It’s SHOWTIME!
There’s definitely something quite intoxicating about a silent crowd. We played well, and moved through the songs like a ship through calm water (uggh too pretentious?). It took a little time for everyone, including us, to feel comfortable there. But we did, and by the end the place was buzzing and charged. As the last notes rang out I felt totally thrilled – the end of an epic journey and one we can be really proud of making.
The Ripps, a great band we were sharing the bill with, were quite a bit more rock than us. This gig would not prove to be easy for them. Rock music is not music to sit down in tiered stands and stroke your chin to. Standing, dancing, clapping, screaming, fidgeting… all the things that good rock music makes you want to do, you’re not allowed to do in an arts centre. So you end up sitting on your hands and observing, detached like a scientist, when you should be goofing and jumping about like a lab monkey.
What now for me? I’m taking December off to write, and we’re planning for an awful lot that’s happening next year. I’ll write it all up in a different post, but we’ll certainly be touring again. Exact dates will be confirmed, but keep March and April free.
I’ve talked a lot about venues and gig atmospheres throughout these blogs – it’s something I care about a lot. After all if we’re going to the trouble of getting together for a party let’s do it right ey? And music matters to us, so let’s find out the best way to experience it.
I’d love to get your thoughts – maybe post them as comments or email me? If you’re buying tickets to see me play, what’s your idea of a perfect gig? Where is it? How big is the venue? How much to get in? Are you standing or sitting? Who else is playing? Feed this stuff back to me so I know how you’re feeling. What are the good bits to do more of? What might make it even better? Think about it – and don’t be shy – I actually want to know.
I want to thank anyone’s come to a gig, nearly come to a gig, posted a comment on Facebook, watched a video, bought the music, told their friends… If you’re reading this I bet you’ve done one or more of those. So I suppose what I’m saying is thank you. THANK YOU. I’ll be writing other posts in the meantime, but that’s it for this year’s tour diary. See you next year
Final Postcard to: Alasdair, James and Jessie
Next Postcard to: there isn’t one! Not til next year
Free t-shirt to: unclaimed (I think?)
Thanks to: Warwick Arts Centre, The Ripps, Keiran, Sue and all of John’s friends, so many others who came, many that I spoke to after the gig. I hope to see some of you again next time!