So the problem for Sparky is being in a band with me. The bigger part of that is being in *two* bands with me, one of which offers him no protection from my whims (see “Whims“). And I’m on what can only be called a “hot streak” of whims right now.
First up: our friend Amanda called to ask whether, after the success of me and him playing for an hour to a largely apathetic summer fete crowd at her children’s’ school last year, I would be prepared to “host” the music stage at this year’s do.
My response: “it’s not really what I do.”
Her: “you’ll be great”
Me: “but I don’t like children”
Her: “you were great with them last year”
Me: “no, Amanda: I actively dislike children. They scare me”
Her: ” I know; you’ll be great”
Me: “you weren’t paying attention, were you?”*
Her: “well the committee took a vote last night and they think you’ll be great for it”.
Me: “that’s not how comm…”
Me: “Sparky: we’ve um… we’ve got this gig”
So, that’s the first thing.
Second thing happened last Friday. Got a message on the band Facebook page asking whether we’d play a 45 minute set on May 4th and then let the “second band” use our PA. Now: you don’t have to know much about the natural order of things to know that that’s not how it normally works. The big band brings the kit and any support just plugs in to that.
I knew something was up.
So, adjunct information: it’s our local pub; the landlady has told the gig organiser that we’re the sort of band who’ll do nice things for charity; it’s a great charity; who are we to let people down?
I know enough that the answer to “is the band available to turn up and play for 45 minutes” is “no”, without even troubling the Cato WhatsApp group. Not least because we have two gigs the next day (get us!).
But for a bunch of reasons, I figured that I could say yes for Fatzorro & Sparky:
- We like playing whatever
- 45 minutes is a good slot for us
- We get brownie points from the pub
- The woman organising it seems innocently lovely
- It’s for “Living without Abuse” which sadly is an important charity in Charnwood
- Sparky wants an opportunity to try out some of his PA with a full band
Sure enough, he’s game on. I let “Kez” know the band’s not available, but we are. Her reply?
“Have you got any video of you playing?”
So, now, we’re having to audition for a slot on a charity gig where they want to borrow our PA. I know all of my friends in bands would have cut comms at this point but I thought it was funny.
Some minutes later, we’re hired. Phew.
I get the number of the main act and I’m asked to contact them. I text Richard and he says that they have no PA, just a bunch of cables. And no microphones. I ask him what kind of band they are and he goes quiet.
Two days later, a message from Kez: “richard’s gone on holiday. Can you contact the drummer Ezra”. Sure. Yes, yes I can. I do.
Me: “hi Ezra: can you let us know the type of band you are, and your setup, so we can figure out what PA you might need?”
Ezra (who sounds delightful): “Excellent, we are a 5 piece and we play death metal with 2 vocals and we usually DI the bass, since he only has a medium small combo”
I had a moment where I thought he might be the funniest amateur band member I’d ever met. Then he sent me the link to this:
Two hours earlier, Kez had asked me to confirm what our act was called, so she could print the posters. So now we’re locked in.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how our acoustic duo got to be the opening act for the first death metal band to play Loughborough since the millennium.
I *might* need to learn to say “no” sometime soon. But not today.
I’ll let you know how we go.
*cut to us playing last year, for a field full of children and drunk parents:
Me: “You won’t know this kids, but do sing along and you can delight your grandparents next time you see them by singing this song. That’s if they’re still with us, of course. And if they’re not, sorry. But they will die one day, y’know”
Sparky: “stop it!”