Gig diary – Masquerade II and Nice ‘n’ Sleazy

The winter period contained two relatively last minute gigs for Gareth and I.

Masquerade II

On the 3rd of December 2017 we played a set at Masquerade II, a one day festival organised by The Gift’s chief luvvie, head crooner, and good egg, Mike Morton.

It was a bit last minute. We were stand ins for a band called Preacher who had had to pull out at short notice. David Elephant, my label boss, vehemently denied that there was any foul play involved in getting us onto the bill, although it was him who suggested us to Mike (David, is that vague enough to keep you in the clear while maintaining your air of menace? Don’t worry, I’ll take this comment out in the edit).

Graham, the indefatigable stage manager told us to get there at 10am. Being an ex-teacher, I took that to mean we should get there at 10am. What a fool I was. In the end, by the time doors opened in the early afternoon only one act had sound checked and it wasn’t us.

I Am The Manic Whale played a blinding set, and then we were on with just a line check that didn’t identify the slightly dodgy guitar lead I had picked up.

Our set, while generally good and well received, did involve some slight technical issues which I find slightly annoying.

But thankfully there was a very appreciative audience who could forgive a few crackles and we got away with it in the end.

Here’s a review of our set, which is very nice given the reviewer admits to my stuff not necessarily being his cup of tea:

“Self Made Man stands out and particularly shows Gareth Cole’s skill on guitar. Tom Slatter also displays a surprisingly soulful voice … and they deservedly received a very positive response…” Read more.

Here’s the penultimate episode of my silly podcast, which is all about what happened after the gig. It also contains a recording from the gig which includes Tony Colvill’s rather interesting intro, and a track from our set. Every word I say is true.

Nice ‘n’ Sleazy

Also at Masquerade were the quite awesomely awesome Big Hogg. Big Hogg can groove, which isn’t the sort of thing you expect at a prog event to be honest. They played a great set and turned out to be lovely people as well. A few days after the gig, Justin, Big Hogg’s head honcho (actually I have no idea if he’s the head honcho in that band. He’s one of the honchos certainly. Why do you only ever hear about head honchos? Why not Second Honcho? Minor Honcho? Co-Honcho?) asked us to come and play a set in Glasgow on Jan 6th.

Travelling most of the length of the UK to play a gig with people we barely knew, in a city we’d never played, on the off-chance of possibly breaking even? Of course we said yes.

Turns out Glasgow is still one of my favourite cities in the UK. We watched the rather fabulous singer-songwriter Marcus Doo perform a set of confessional, honest songs of the sort that I never could, and then we played our own set.

I’m rather annoyed that I forgot to change the batteries in my trusty old zoom recorder because I have no evidence of the fact that this was our best gig yet. We played well, but that was surely down to the energy of an engaged and receptive crowd.

The best gigs aren’t the ones where you get all the notes right and remember the words. That bit of it is a given really. The best gigs are ones where you act and the audience responds. You make a joke and they laugh, you play the quiet song and they shut up and listen, you finish a song and they burst into applause, rather than just clapping politely.

This was like that. It was good.

Orion’s Belt were the headliner. They’re a bit folk-rock, a bit psychedelic, and a lot good. They played a set that was a mixture of songs and improv. It went down well with the crowd and I really loved it.

The Glasgow trip was great fun and we’re already thinking about how we can get up there again. Justin and Julia’s cats were great hosts (the humans were really cool too) and Gareth not only played a blinder, but did a ton of driving for which I am very grateful.

So, so far this acoustic rock duo thing has been a great success. We’ve got to the point where we can play some songs without messing up too badly and played some great gigs.

Next step is to get some more in the diary and have more live-music-related fun.

Erm…. do you want us to play a gig? We will. Almost anywhere.

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