Friday, May 09, 2014

“I’m nobody, but I’m someone else’s nobody…”

The inaugural performance of Tony James Shevlin and his newly-monickered band The Chancers in support of new album Songs from The Last Chance Saloon passed without notable adverse incident last week – nobody fell over the monitors, impaled themselves on a stray tent peg or kicked a water bottle over the DI box for example – and if some of the talent could have been a little more gracious (“Thanks to…er…whoever organised this…”) then at least we were not subject to the vicissitudes provoked by one artiste* that the crew on the main stage still talked about in awed tones. “She brought her own crew, her own monitors, microphones, unplugged everything of ours, did a line check on every single feed…by the time we got the second act on we were an hour and a half late on the scheduled running time”.

 In my assigned role as first spear carrier I am enjoying a number of new experiences. I’m not on the album (although Songs from The Blue House alumni Mr Gibbon and La Mulley do both feature), I didn’t write any of the songs and I don’t really have an emotional or pecuniary interest in its performance in the iTunes charts beyond that the bloody thing is riddled with earworms and most of the guitar parts are the sort of thing I enjoy playing anyway. Okay, so there’s maybe one key change more than I’d have included (by design there’s an acapella chorus just beforehand wherein TJS and I have just enough time to move our respective capos in order to facilitate a suitably inversion-tastic coda) in Fifteen LongYears, and that verse of Crazy in which he appears to lump himself in with Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King does have a whiff of the Russell Brand about it, and when Shev sings “Talk is cheap and thoughts are free” in Nobody I am irresistibly minded that the Club Tropicana also promises that there is sufficient fun and sunshine to go around, and I’m delighted to be along for the ride.

 It is not, however, the sort of gig which is going to set me up in soft drinks and Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers DVDs for life** - at one stage I asked TJS if it would be possible to have a plus one for one of the festivals he has lined up. “You are my plus one” he replied – and so I have decided to embrace the current vogue for so-called Meet & Greet fan packages in order to supplement my meagre income on the road this Summer. There is limited availability, so please do get in touch as early as possible with your offers.

 Package One; Meet and greet before the gig, receive signed rehearsal crib sheet (much thumbed), a used 9V battery and participant’s choice of 500 ml bottle of still water from backstage cache (not available at all dates).

 Package Two; Meet and greet prior to the performance, receive selection of used packages of Elite Custom Light guitar strings (mainly missing top E), get the sound man’s mobile number so you can text him to suggest fader-riding tweaks during the gig itself, and a dedication of the closing number (probably Run Until We Drop) to you personally. 

 Package Three; Turn up early, meet us at the gate when we get there, hand over the car park passes, do the sound check (you should be able to play G on a standard-tuned guitar, point at the monitors, then at your own ear, then at the sky and shake your head ruefully), hold my bottleneck*** for that bit between verses two and three in Faith in Myself where I need to use all four fingers, re-attach my guitar lead when I inevitably step on it during the fourth song and unbeknownst to me it becomes unplugged, go for a cheeseburger after completion of the set. Drive home.
*I can’t tell you who it was, I’m afraid *coughs* Kate Rusby

**It is fairly well known that touring musicians would often, in the heady days of the record company advance and the publishing expense account, often pass the long dark teatime of the soul between tour dates indulging in coke and hoofers.  

***I was using a glass one for the slide bits, but Tony has lent me his. He literally has a brass 'neck.


Nick said...

Martin Simpson is hugely distainful of brass bottlenecks... I suspect he'd like to encourage people to use these instead:

(I have to admit, though I have not a clue how to actually use one, they do feel very nice indeed!)

Do You Do Any Wings? said...

I am plagued by undesired buzzes and pings. This could be just what I need! That or the 11/16 out of that socket set my mate Matt gave me.