Date: 17th Dec, 2010
Venue: Kings Head Hotel
Gig: SA Lotteries Christmas Bash
This was the last Dangerfield! show of the year, and one I would normally not have taken, but I got a plaintive cry in late November from Sarah at SA Lotteries who had left it too late to go through normal channels. They were stuck and I’m a sucker for someone in trouble. So despite knowing that we’d be running around like headless chooks getting ready for the PlanB tour of Vietnam (leaving 23rd Dec) I said we’d do it. Sarah was suitably grateful (OK, I might be a sucker, but I still like appreciation!) and asked if we could start at 5. They had the room from 5 to 7. I explained it was difficult as we both worked during the day but arranged for a 5:15 start thinking that I could just leave work early. I had been in the office for the past 18 months and that didn’t look like changing, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. That afternoon Murphy kicked in and I had an interview arranged with a client in town. I obviously impressed them as they wanted me to start the next Monday, in town. This means bus, no car, and less flexible work hours. At this point, dear reader, imagine the following phrase (in italics) spoken with the derision that only a teenage girl can muster… Tuh! Typical!
Some of you may already know that I’ve been working with Adelaide based international Jazz diva Catherine Lambert for a year or so, working towards a new musical project; Harley David, the Aussie Swingman. We had planned to do a set at the Sussex hotel together on the 5th December, but this fell through due to illness and conflicting bookings, so I had written off 2010 as the Harley David debut and was looking forward to 2011. During a session with Catherine in early December, she mentioned she was MC-ing for the annual St. Luke’s charity gig, where money is raised to support the work that St. Luke’s mission (in Whitmore Square, Adelaide) does for the homeless. She said she would probably do a couple of songs as well, and asked if I was interested. “Sure,” I said “sounds great. When is it?” She replies “17th December” … Tuh! Typical!
As it turned out, my involvement with the St. Luke’s show wasn’t required until a little later in the evening. As the SA Lotteries gig was a short one (finishing at 7pm) I figured I could do both. So I committed to St. Luke’s as well. Launching Harley was something I had been working towards for a while, and a 1 song appearance with Catherine was ideal. We decided to do Summertime, from Porgy and Bess, a great song to duet with.
Back to the SA Lotteries gig; as it worked out I had a couple of extra hours accrued with my work in the city, so I was able to leave early on the 17th to set up at about 4:15. Take that, Murphy! Part way through the day I got a call from Sarah, “Sorry to have to ask you this,” (that’s never a good sign at the start of a conversation) “but the venue doesn’t have a PA system. Can I ask a huge favour and ask you to stick around for an extra 5 minutes for the CEO to give a speech? We’re happy to pay you guys for the extra time and you can help yourselves to the bar”. Sucker time again. “Sure,” I say, “5 minutes? No problem. Don’t worry about the extra money, happy to help”. I didn’t recognize it at the time but Murphy was snickering in the background. “Fantastic, you guys are the best! It shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes at most. Seeya!”. Wait. What?
We get to the gig, Rick and I got the stage set properly and start on time. The room is square and with few soft furnishings, which is a nightmare for getting a good sound. Add to that some loud drunk people (not the SA Lotteries staff, they were saints ) and it was actually quite hard to hear anything on stage despite having the speakers next to us. Nevertheless, we powered through the first set, had a short break, and launched into the second. All this time there had been various examples of finger food brought out and consumed. Part way through the second set, I was singing and someone came out with a platter of hot chips. Yum. As they walked past, a very aromatic smell coming from the accompanying sauce followed. I couldn’t believe it. I almost gagged. Fish Sauce!! With hot chips?? What the hell was that doing with a bowl of chips?? Despite me almost fainting, we finished at the appointed time. Hopefully the CEO’s address shouldn’t take too long, I thought; Sarah comes up… “OK, Brett, we’ll just do the speeches now and you guys can go”.
Again, suitably grateful. Again, the Murphy snickering.
“As soon as we’ve done Kris Kringle”. Wait. What?
Date: 17th Dec, 2010
Venue: St. Luke’s, Whitmore Square, Adelaide
Act: Harley David
We eventually get out of there about 8pm, packed and ready to go. I make my way to St. Lukes with a car full of gear, still dressed in my Dangerfield! togs. I find a park, get out and find Catherine only to discover she’s stressed out about some of the MC stuff going pear shaped. I wasn’t late, as it happened; there were a few more acts to go before we did our stuff. Her Divaness quickly rips into me about not wearing a black T-Shirt as previously discussed. I dress down as much as I can, but obviously not quite enough as she hands over her leather jacket. “Here, wear this! Don’t argue!!!I said a black T-Shirt – what the hell is this grey thing?”
The ‘few more acts’ turned out to take longer than I had anticipated. Catherine and Harley finally made it to the stage close to midnight. I was buggered, I knew I had a big weekend coming and most people had left by the time we got on. The plus side of this, though, is that I got to see several world class acts in that little church hall that I never would have otherwise been exposed to: Anthony DAntonio (indie, roots), Kathy Pike (indie singer songwriter), Andy and Marta, Sweet baby James (an amazingly good blues guitarist and performer)
Sweet Baby James stood out as a deadest legend of blues guitar and vocals. The night and the duet with the Bluescasters plus Sweet Baby James backing us up was really enjoyable, and I managed to get some video that I’ve posted up on Facebook link to Harley Facebook page.
Harley is born. In your face, Murphy!
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!
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.