Date: 05 Nov 2010
Outfit: Dangerfield! Acoustic Duo
Venue: Maggie Beer’s Function Centre, Nuriootpa, South Australia
There’s a lot of stuff to remember for a gig, and usually I do pretty well. I’m certainly not the most organised person in the world, but most of the stuff I need is in the one place, and so I can grab it, run through a checklist in my head, and turn up prepared. Most of the time…
Did you ever have one of those nights when everything just comes together; everything just falls into place and everything is at your fingertips? This was not one of those nights.
So first, I’ll set the scene. For Dangerfield!, I’m aiming towards playing Corporate shows, Soirees, Weddings and special events. The pub gigs and Sunday sessions can be fun but these other gigs are a lot more personal – I get a buzz of being able to make someone’s special event even more special. This is particularly true of weddings; Rick is great at coming up with acoustic interpretations of songs for walk-down-the-aisle or wedding-dance songs. Add to that a set or two of background music to get people comfortable and relaxed, and then a couple of sets of toe-tapping or jumping-around-like-an-idiot music and it can make for a great night.
You can be as good musically as you like, but if the client thinks you’re a dickhead, they won’t invite you or recommend you to anyone else, so it’s very important to me that we put forward a professional image. We’d been invited to play at a Christmas Party for Rural Directions, an agribusiness consultancy and I’d told Brendan (who initially contacted us) that I’d be up there about 6 to be completely set up by 7.
Uh-oh #1. This started to kick in when I got held up at work. So I’m tootling up the Sturt Highway, approaching Nuriootpa and it’s about 6:30. “She’ll be right”, I think, “I should be able to set up in time, and we’re not starting till 8 anyway”. So I take the Greenock turnoff (as directed by Google Maps), turn right (as directed by Google Maps), and proceed to get lost around the backstreets of Marananga and Seppeltsfield (not as directed by Google Maps). I know I’ve missed a turn somewhere when I end up on a gravel road.
Recovery. After a bit of exploration of the scenic route, I am lucky enough to find an information board. Even luckier, it has Maggie Beer’s on it.
So I find the place and there’s only one car there. What the? I do a lap of the carpark to make sure I’m in the right place and go inside what looks like the function centre to find Travis behind the bar. “Is this the place for Rural Directions Christmas Show?” Yep! “Phew!”.
Uh-oh #2. Generally when setting up, I like to mark out the ‘stage’ area first, to get a feel for where things have to go. So I ask Travis for a chair (for the PA), put up the speakers, set out the mike stand, hmm – I don’t remember bringing it in…OMG! There’s no mike stand! Rush out and double check the car – nope, not in there.
Nobody else is here yet, so I might as well change into my stage clothes – off with the sandshoes and dacks behind cover of the car door, stepping into the troos and I set the car alarm off. Woop! Woop! Woop! The birds in the aviaries around the place go mental! Luckily for me no guests had arrived yet, but the roaming peacock did fan up his feathers rather threateningly. Or was it suggestively?
So, no mike stand, what am I going to do? I do have a music stand and some gaffer tape, I could create one, but that would look a bit back yard-ish. Maybe when Rick arrives we can tape both mikes to his stand – still not great, but better than a music stand. I go back in to finish setting up the other equipment. Once inside I notice 3 missed calls from Rick on my phone. He got as lost as I did, but instead of using his man-sense to find an information board, he asked 3 guys drinking on the side of the road. Apparently each gave him different directions; to his credit he managed to find the place anyway – he’s pulling up as I go outside to call him. I meet him in the carpark and break the news… “Mate, you’re not gonna believe this but I’ve left my mike stand at home”. His face fell – “mike stand?” (ferrets around in his boot… pause…) “Brett, you’re not gonna believe this…” he says.
In 3 years of playing together, neither of us has ever forgotten to pack a mike stand. Tonight we both did.
Recovery. Travis to the rescue. I asked if they had an inhouse PA. “Sure”, he says. “You wouldn’t have a mike stand in there by any chance would you?” “I’ll have a look”. He has a look and manages to find one. So Rick and I decide to just use the one mike.
Uh-oh #3. Back to setting up; I have a couple of old stage lights that I hang from the speaker stands to give us a little ambience. I’d set these up and checked the folder for the gels. The gels are sort of like coloured cellophane but more heat resistant. Not there. Duh.
Recovery. There wasn’t one really, we had to rely on our winning smiles (while sharing a mike) to win them over.
Uh-oh #4. Finishing the onstage cabling I hear a couple of expletives from Rick. “What now?” I ask. “ummm… I’ve forgotten the powerpack to my pedal”.
Recovery. Rick had to play without any effect on his guitar. Not too tragic, but not ideal. It’s always good to have a little chorus or reverb on the instrument to give it a little presence.
There were a couple of others through the night, but none really worth mentioning. Suffice it to say that for the night we called ourselves the Backyarders instead of Dangerfield!. The night went really well – they had a Western themed night and the guests came dressed up as Cowboys (and girls), Indians, Zorro, Annie Oakley etc. We played two sets of background stuff before picking it up for another two of more upbeat tunes for dancing. The guys from Rural Directions were great and it seemed like they had a good time.