Had a pretty good gig at the Dublin last night. This was our second time out, and it's kind of amazing how different things are once you've played a gig for the first time with a band. We'd learned a bunch of new songs (or refreshed them) for this gig to improve our danceability quotient, and as such neglected some of our previous set list for a good month or more. It was of some concern that we were not retaining the structure or endings of a lot of songs, and in fact at this gig there were at least seven or eight songs where the structure didn't go as I expected. I suspect I had something to do with at least a few of them, but the truth is that in rock and roll, little goes as planned.
We had a good turnout - not as good as previously (we get the door, which more or less shows how many people are present during our portion of the evening), but still very good. Our first show there we had 90 people show up, this time we had 81. I think there were more people that we *didn't* know this time around, which is nice. It's very hard to get a following when a band is first starting out, but it's critical to getting future bookings as it's why bar owners hire bands in the first place. If people come and drink and eat and play pool, the bar owner makes money and is happy. Otherwise, they're likely losing money on you. Me, I'd do this for nothing.
A good friend of mine who has known me since I first started playing in bands when I was 14 came out to see us. Because I've either sung in choirs or worked in corporate event/wedding bands for most of the past 20 years, he hadn't really seen me play since we were both sophomores in college back in the day. When I sat down to chat with him during the break, he had a grin across his face that was truly impressive, and he said it was because it was so much fun to watch the *band* having so much fun, and especially seeing me enjoying myself so much.
And that's true. I'm not a religious man, but as far as I can tell I get the same sort of ecstatic experience from music (not just performance, also in rehearsal or even just singing in the car) that people get from prayer. Obviously, I can't say for sure, and in fact couldn't say for sure as I suspect everyone has a slightly different experience. Maybe it's just an endorphin rush, maybe it's a link to the divine in whatever form that may be. I don't know, and I don't really care. It's the experience, the joy I derive from making music, that's important. Rock and roll is obviously different from, say, singing the Beethoven setting of the Missa Solemnis, but they are a lot closer than you'd think. There are many sections of the Missa that I compared to rock music in their intensity, and definitely sections that you had to just ride the rollercoaster like you do when playing rock and hope your brain and muscle memory would pull you through.
What I find particularly interesting is the difference in body movement. In a choir, I'm expected to stay still, partly because your instrument (your voice) requires it, while in rock I'm tethered only by my instruments and my microphone, although as anyone who has seen me will say, I stretch those limits as much as I can. I'm a terrible dancer (ask my wife), but I have no qualms at all when I gyrate and jump around on stage. None of it is posing, it's all simply expressing the joy I feel in making music.
After the band was packed up and touching base before splitting up after the gig, the band following us came up looking for Doug. It took me a minute to realize they were looking for me. This was a reggae band, mind you, and I have neither experience with reggae as a musician nor as even a listener. Their keyboardist was unable to play, and they asked if I could sit in with them. Had my wife not already left with some friends to meet me at another location, I might well have done it, just to see how I liked reggae. That would have been a sight, me with my black glow-in-the-dark Sword of Elric of Melnibone teeshirt playing music about Ja, ganga, and world peace! I guess I had a spare tee in the car, but still...
Of course, that would have been another four hours of gigging after three, which I suspect would have killed me. I guess I could have just grabbed a stool and sat down, but I'm probably too old for that sort of thing. And while it was nice to be asked, it wasn't like there were a lot of other keyboardists with gear sitting around and I'm pretty sure they'd already called all of their friends by then. Next time, guys.
Our next gig at the Dublin is December 5th, 2009, again a Saturday. For those of you in the area who haven't seen "the show" I hope to see you there. It's a really good band.