Gigs, rather like any celebrity marriage chronicled in glossy magazines, are up-and-down experiences. Sometimes you turn up buzzing, eager to play, and then the circumstances and general tedium grind you down until you’d rather just eat the obligatory KFC (kind of a band tradition) and then go home, even if you’ve paid £10 to get wherever you happen to be. Sometimes you turn up really wishing you hadn’t bothered waking up – to get there by seven pm for sound check that means getting up only a couple of hours after midday – and coming off stage jumping up and down like kids who’ve spent a year collecting the old-school blue Smarties and eating them all in one night.
As life is full of good experiences and bad experiences, so is band life. It couldn’t be highlighted better by our first two gigs. Our first ever gig together as a band was played to a packed-out Railway Inn (in Winchester), 120 people eager to hear us, clapping and cheering and doing the usual gig stuff. Our second gig, at the Winchester School of Art, produced somewhat less enthusiasm, with no one knowing us, and so subsequently not caring, and a horrible five second gap after every song ended before anyone thought to start clapping. After a haze of mediocre gigs, two weeks ago we played in The Winchester, which is in Bournemouth, headlining for a new band called Sketches of the Adverse. Not only were they lovely chaps, but one of the tightest bands I’ve seen (which means musically their performances were very polished, not they wouldn’t give us a quid for some post-gig chips). Their set was a bit up and down, being mostly covers incidentally, but for a first gig they were very impressive.
We did quite well, people seemed to like our stuff and I got to play on the most fantastic sounding Pearl Export, which I was seriously tempted to see if I could stuff up my top and walk out of the pub with. It wasn’t the on stage stuff that marked this gig out as special to me. After we’d all packed up and the crowd had gone home we had a nice chat with several members of the band. They really seemed to like us and were really grateful we’d come down to Bournemouth to headline at their first gig – which, I should point out, we felt rather bad about, as if we were stealing their show. I guess any new band would want to find out what experiences a band that had been gigging for a year has had so far, but it still made me feel like perhaps, just perhaps, we were actually starting to get somewhere. Some of the staff in that pub knew who we were, Sketches of the Adverse were really happy to have us there, and I felt as if perhaps we were truly beginning to make a name for ourselves.
So as you can see, gigs really do go up and down, and I hope that Sketches of the Adverse have more ups than they do downs. They should be thankful really, because had I been wearing baggier clothes that night, the first ‘down’ of their gigging career could have been when that lanky bugger from Pretty Visitors ran off with their drum kit.