A Day on the Green

A Day on the Green, Peter Lehmann's Winery

 

A couple of weeks ago Karen (my wife), myself and some friends to see Crowded House play a Day on the Green at Peter Lehmann’s Winery in the Barossa. I’d never been to a DotG before, so it was all a new and exciting experience. We stayed in a unit in Tanunda and caught the bus to the event with the thought of not driving with a belly full of wine. There was also the thought that we may not have to walk as far to get in, as the bus would drive pass the carpark and drop us near the gates. Fail that second thought.

So after a day of constant rain, we arrived just as the first act, “Oh Mercy” from Melbourne, were setting up. The venue was amazing; a natural amphitheatre by a creek. And the organisers had done a fantastic job – the line in moved really quickly considering everyone’s bags and eskies were inspected on the way in. There was plenty of food and drink, and enough toilets that even the ladies barely had to queue.

The rain cleared shortly after we found our spot, with intermittent sprinkles enough to justify the effort gone into our garbage bag hats. “No Mercy” started their set and within the first few songs I was overwhelmed with the thought “PlanB could sooooo rock this kind of gig”. the feeling was so strong that the famous Pilgrim tight-arsedness was temporarily pushed aside and I, wait for it, Tweeted via my mobile phone. To give you an idea of the import of this, it hadn’t happened prior or since. 30 cents doesn’t grow on trees you know!

The next challenge is to make this happen. I’m following all my contacts to find out how to get on the inner circle of these festivals. But first thing is to ensure we can deliver – we need to be able to pull together a band in any part of the country at fairly short notice. PlanB is unusual in that our members are not all in the same state, and in the case of the bass player, not even in the same country. So I’m thinking we get all parts of a subset of songs charted and recorded, and pull in local musicians whenever original members are unavailable.

So keep an eye out for PlanB International Rock and Soul Specialists in the festival guides. If you see us and mention the blog, I’ll see about getting you a free ticket 🙂

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Dangerfield! for the State Theatre Company

Client: The State Theatre Company
Date: 19 Nov 2010
Outfit: Dangerfield! Acoustic Duo
Venue: Space Theatre Rehearsal Rooms, Festival Centre, Adelaide

This was a gig to help the State Theatre Company look after their under-30 subscribers. Apparently they lose a few subscriptions after they turn 30 due to an increase in the fees, so the State Theatre folk are spending even more effort to help them decide to stay.
Rick and I turn up at 8:30 on Friday night, parking outside of the doors to the Dunstan Playhouse/Space Theatre. I called Robyn ( the organiser from State Theatre Company) who told us she’d be there in 30 minutes or so, and to just unload in the foyer and park the car.
So we’ve almost finished unloading the Camry when we notice a rather large sticker licker taking photo’s of the cars (I don’t think they lick stickers anymore… too unhygenic?).
Me: Mate, is it OK for us to just finish unloading here?
RLSL: No. I can’t very well write tickets for these cars and let you park there
Me: Ah, OK. umm… bugger… this stuff is heavy (can you hear the violins in the background?)
RLSL: Well, I tell you what, it’s going to take me another minute or so to finish this one, if you just unload onto the footpath and remove the car by then, there won’t be a problem

What a  nice man 🙂

The play (The Give and Take, with Trevor’s mate George Kapiniaris) was being performed in the next room, so we couldn’t do a sound check and had to be vewy, vewy qwiet. Of course, that meant that we each dropped or knocked over any heavy things that we came across. So 9:45 came around and people started filing in (including the cast), the stage was set up but we had no idea what sort of mix we’d have. Normally it wouldn’t be a huge problem as I have a base setting on my PA, however we had two variants this week. The first was that we were using Rick’s PA head for the first time. It’s the same model as mine, but it didn’t have al the dials pre-set. Luckily Rick had noted down or remembered settings from mine. The other was that I was trying my new wireless microphone for the first time. We quickly found out that it puts out a much higher volume than my trusty old wired Shure.
We had a great time doing the gig and all the people there (including the crew from brass+verily public relations and arts management) were all fantastic. We noticed George having a bit of a boogie (after he had a bit of a nap..shhh!) and for the last song we had Peter Michell come up and sing “Throw Your Arms Around Me”. A sterling job he did, too!

That show was to be the last one for Dangerfield! for 2010 – Rick is flat strap with work and I’m preparing for the PlanB Southern Delta tour, but we received an emergency call from SA Lotteries for their Christmas Show on the 17th December. I’m obviously a sucker for these guys – I already give them $10 each Saturday for nothing!

Later groovers,

Brett

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It could have gone pear-shaped!

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.