After a quick soundcheck my friend Tek (singer/songwriter from Slow Down Clown) and I stood by the bar at Blue Frog, one of the city’s premier live music venues, and got ourselves a drink. We were allowed one free drink – alcoholic if we liked. He had coffee and I had water. Three glasses of it. As he and Elvis talked about gaming conferences, Angry Birds and San Francisco, I tried to wish away the dull headache that had lingered all afternoon. Then Tek asked if we had a Crocin. The dull headache was not mine alone.
I’m new to this live performing thing and no matter how much I rehearse, the potential for complete failure in a room full of strangers still looms large. It is not a thought that goes away easily. Even if you think your way off that ledge it lingers, sometimes in the form of a headache, dull or otherwise. You can’t will the fear away but that day I got tired of being that person.
Two hours later we were on stage, and one hour after that we were done. Successfully. There are always ‘incidents’ at a live performance and that night was no exception:
- During song number two, the G string on Tek’s guitar broke. He gamely continued through the chorus and wrapped up the song well. A good suggestion from his musician friend was for him to play my guitar while I changed his string. So he played his next song on my considerably shittier-sounding guitar while Elvis re-strung and I re-tuned. Net result: Tek’s guitar was good to go in less than two minutes.
- My song Crushed Like Ice has a moment where after an energetic instrumental section it resolves into a mellow ringing chord. I hit the chord, somehow snagged my own elbow, and the chord played like a damp firework. All fizz, no bang. Luckily, I had a follow-up dramatic chord which I played like it should be played. No big loss, but a small change my old freakout-happy self would have been incapable of – thus freezing and ending the song mid-way.
- Banter. Oh man, I envy the musician who can successfully talk to the crowd without sounding like an idiot. I had a straightforward enough story about one of my songs that disintegrated into what my brutally honest friend Suleiman described as “talking with some shy giggling”. To me that sounds hideous, but he said it came off well. I am so glad I didn’t wear my original choice of t-shirt for that evening – the one which says ‘Dumbkoff’ in bold across the front.
All in all, our first time at Blue Frog was really very good. You can say that about your own gig if enough strangers come up and tell you that right?
Thank you Tek for inviting me!
Embedded below are English Boys and Bandra Girls, two songs from our set that night.