From the beginning of May to the end of June I have had the most unbelievable time playing gigs with Wild. After getting back from the Derry Jazz festival we have been up and down the country like a Yoyo.
The first gig we were to play was in Sale, Manchester. This was a sixtieth birthday party at a conservative Club. This really did take me back in time. Years ago I started my drumming career playing clubs just like this. It was a good life and it certainly gave me plenty of experience, which I am thankful for today. It’s such a shame that many clubs in my area don’t have the people using them. This might not be the case throughout the country, but bands are not playing them anymore because venues can’t afford to have entertainment.Lucky for us this was one of the clubs that was attended regularly and we was greeted with a statement I hadn’t heard for many years. “Blimey, you have a lot of equipment; I hope you are not too loud”. It made me laugh, we do have a lot, but it is there for a reason. The band played brilliantly and the people enjoyed the evening thoroughly, a great night in Manchester.
Next day we were off to North Wales. A fifties themed birthday party was certainly our thing and it didn’t disappoint. The whole marquee was covered with everything fifties, from cardboard cut outs of James Dean, Elvis and even Marilyn Monroe. The biggest surprise was the 50s Thunderbird car which turned up later for a busy photo session. Once again the band played really well.
It was time to go home for some much needed rest and a busy week of teaching. Shortly afterwards we were soon on the road again with a reasonably local gig at the Tithe Barn in Bicester. Weddings through the summer are a regular thing for us and sometimes you never know how they will turn out. We have played at the Tithe barn before and it always reassuring when the owner comments on being relieved that it was us. I guess from her reaction that some of the bands she had been dealing with just lately, hadn’t exactly come up with the goods. This gig was made even better by a surprise visit from my wife to be, Barbora. Being a musician means that I am away a lot and we don’t always have the time to get together at home. The band played well and the bride and groom commented on how much they had enjoyed our performance.
The next night saw us travelling to Chester. Albeit we had a few troubles getting into the venue, it was also a great night. The multistory car park was the problem we had. They had not realised that the band could possibly have a large vehicle and not be able to enter the car park. We eventually got around the problem by loading the equipment through the service area, which was in the basement. This meant we would load through the kitchen. It is never popular with the kitchen staff, but there were not many other choices. Again we were still on a roll and the band played very well.
Another week of “rest” while busy teaching, then it was off to a garden party in Chiswick. This was the highlight of the month for me. We setup at the bottom the garden near the green house. Luckily we have been experiencing a great summer, but there is something special about playing in out of the ordinary places. The clients always have a party each year for all their family and friends. No other reason apart from that. We played a blinding first set with all the guests dancing on the grass, really enjoyable. The partying didn’t stop there though. During the break we had Brazilian dancers perform for the guests, wonderful stuff.
Later that evening we had a special guest join us on stage. Apparently he was pretty big in the sixties and was currently performing throughout the country doing the holiday camp circuit. We had no reason to doubt this as he had a fantastic voice and brilliant stage presence. To be honest, he was one of the best entertainers I have ever come across and we certainly had a great time. Keep an eye out for Kin Kelly. If you ever see his name, make the effort to go and see him, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
The next show was to be at Princethorpe College in Rugby. For me there is something special about playing in a college. I guess it’s the education thing I’m involved in, but what a great place. It was a wedding and they also knew how to enjoy themselves.
It was then off to Thursley for another wedding. By this time we have had a good run of things so I guess we were due for an unusual night. This was enjoyable wedding, but what they hadn’t realised is that we need power to provide the entertainment. It seems an obvious thing, but they made an error of connecting us to the dimmer switch, which powered the lights for the marquee. As it gets dark, you need less power for the lights. What they did not realize, we couldn’t work under the same conditions. As the night progressed, certain parts of the equipment started dropping out. First the monitors did not work, then the lights, then Paul’s guitar. By the end of the evening we were almost playing acoustically. Everybody enjoyed the evening and that is what matters. Next time we will just be careful when somebody else connects the electricity.
By this time we were ready for a few weeks off. I love my playing, but we were so busy over a short period of time, I was grateful for the time back home.
The beginning of July brought us the real privilege of playing for the RAF. These people are the best of the best at what they do. What an honor it was to be playing for such well-respected people. As you would expect, they are very organized. We had to be setup by 8pm on the nose and ready to play at 8.30pm. This was because of there being two other bands. The RAF certainly know how to party. It was their annual summer ball and they had three bands, including us. We do not often get the chance to play with other bands and we found the other guys friendly and great to be with. Usually, it means we get together and share stories of what we have been up to etc. The two bands were brilliant and I soon had one of the other drummers watching me from the side of the stage. It is always great to get somebody else’s opinion on my playing. He commented on how well I play my snare fills. I was really flattered, considering I had watched with awe at his own playing. The night ended far too early for my liking, hopefully we will get the chance to do it all again very soon.
To bring us up to date, I finished this run of gigs with playing at Oxford College. Once again to be in such a prestigious place made me feel very humbled. It was a beautiful building and a fantastic wedding. As you can tell, we have had a very busy time just lately. Playing music for a living is a dream and I am still living it. Over the next few months we are going to be just as busy. I love what we do and feel I am truly blessed.
Thank you for reading.