At 7:11pm on Tuesday 29 May 2007, I made a joke.
My phone rang a good 20 feet from where we were sitting chatting in Imbibe before the gig. I thought it might be Mike C, who hadn't arrived yet. Simeon, aware of the ambient bar noise around us, was surprised. "You heard your phone from all the way over there?"
"Years of playing the drums," I replied. "It enhances the hearing."
Comedy or nonsense, this was a gig where I could really hear everything. Perhaps, having felt that the subtleties of previous gigs were getting lost live, I was listening more closely this time. Or maybe everything sounded clearer because I was now monitoring in mono, since Os had my other amp. Probably though it was because we just turned it up. There was noticeably much more band than background noise this month. Not that we mind people talking - we are ambient music in their bar - but I think we reward attention too, and we seemed to win a lot more audience attention this time.
Rightly so, because some very nice sounds came out of this gig, thanks to a really winning combination of noise-makers this month. For one thing, no setup faff this time. All the complicated wirings and routings were ready by 7pm, which explains why we were sitting around discussing the possible free CD over cokes and OJ+lemonade. Even Os's 4-input, 3-output setup was sorted. Cable ties are my friend, and I have learnt from the last few gigs to get as much wiring worked out before the gig, and came to this one armed with the odd loom or two.
As usual, I made a plan of how we should all group together for the playing. As usual, I tossed it out of sheer forgetful pleasure. Here's a run-down of what happened.
I always listen to the recordings when I write up the gigs to remind me what happened. The drawback with recordings is that they are what they are. If you remember the gig as a duffer, the recordings can be a joyous surprise. If your memory is of the entire audiovisual experience being an absolute delight, you may find the recordings a bit flat by comparison. The gig definitely peaked during the first everybody section. Either we were just loud, or there was a definite attentive hush about the place as people at least semi-listened to what we were doing. But it is the everybody recording from after the interval that has the real magic. Extremes need to be used carefully when describing stuff, but when you consider this was all made up on the spot by people who'd mostly not met before, I'm quietly stunned when I listen to this stuff.
Not only were we playing great stuff, the general atmosphere was so much... nicer. That may not be saying much compared to the heady intoxicated air of last month's gig, which in hindsight I realise was a mistake to try and counter with quiet playing. We should have played harder, as we did this time.
Best of all, in the audience this time were a few complete strangers of the band who had found out about us somehow and had come to watch. This is more than just really nice, it is essential to the survival of the evening. If we're still going to be doing this in six months, it's going to have to be in front of lots of people who we don't know. Anyway, after weeks of bashing listings sites and similar, some of that seems to be paying off. A little daylight at the end of the pummel.
And that is how I can say, if belatedly, happy birthday Keith :)