Belt and Braces

I played my first big gig as a member of the Grey Goose Blues Band tonight, and it was great. The crowd at The Robin 2 in Bilston was small but enthusiastic, for a school night. As a band, we were well rehearsed, and we did a good job.

The great thing about doing this is that after only 8 weeks I’m used to many of the songs. A set list with keys and simple instructions is more or less enough, although I still have blank moments it’s sufficient prompt to remind me what I’m doing, and where I’m supposed to do it. If I fear or feel I’m going to have a problem, I simply add more detailed prompts on the sheet.

It reminds me very much of a bass-playing friend who wrote out the entire chord chart of a song (including key changes) and stuck it to the side of his amp, so that he could manage it. Belt and braces.

Funnily enough, tonight my dress code was belt and braces, sleeves rolled up and looking a bit of a scruff.

The double check – a support system with a secondary independent backup – is a key feature at a gig like this. Not long ago, I had a pedal fail me mid-gig at a wedding reception. My overdrive pedal did me no favours tonight, because it dropped the signal more than necessary through the impressive Robin PA. However, I compensated by turning up the keyboard and driving the pedal harder. It wasn’t a perfect plan, but it did the job all the same.

My motto, such as it is, has been “Do your work in peace.” but a secondary consideration might well be given to “Have a Plan B.”

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