Friday 21 February 2014

Saloon: Live @ The Alleycat, Reading 9.4.98 (Our second gig)

Here is another gig recording from the early days, this time of our second gig. I posted this on Soundcloud a while back but have been too ashamed to talk about it before. Matt spoke about this gig in his interview last year, specifically about what a horrorshow it was; but I did say that I would post everything on here, regardless of quality control, so I must not shy away

So having played a decent debut gig, there was a bit of a buzz on the Reading scene about us. Somehow we got ourselves booked onto a gig at The Alleycat which was Reading’s premier 500 capacity venue. (Over the next year we played a lot of gigs at the Alleycat, including an enterprising and lucrative show the Thursday of the Reading festival, and a night supporting our heroes ‘the lab’ – which was witnessed by our latterly friends from Track and Field who ‘couldn’t see the point’ in us). Anyway on this occasion we were booked to support a band called Blue Seed, who I think had had some Lammo airplay, and another band called Enertia (currently residing in the ‘where are they now’ file (along with the rest of us)).
Clearly as soon as we got on the big stage we were totally out of our depth; we didn’t know what monitors or DI’s were, and what were these things called ‘BV’s’ that the sound men kept talking about? We also found it very hard to persuade the soundman to let us put our pocket Theremin through the PA. Anyway, despite this somehow we managed to get set-up and play a semblance of a gig.

Rather than play safe and drop the same set that we played a few days before (this would be a running theme throughout out ‘career’) we dropped one of our catchiest songs (Fuzzy Felt) (y’know the one Earworm wanted to release a year later) along with the AA side of our first single (Conquistador) and we added a new track, Nina Says. (For each of first five gigs we kept adding a new song to the set further complicating things).

As you can hear, our playing was a shambles, with things out of tune even more than normal, feedback all over the place and beats missed right, left and centre. The crowning glory was a capo related incident which meant we couldn’t play Spacer and led to much frantic messing around between songs.

I can’t remember exactly how we felt after the gig. I know our glowing review in the Reading Chronicle didn’t make us feel much better about it (I am pretty sure a friend wrote the review anyway). I do remember getting home and listening to the tape of the gig that had been recorded off of the PA. Rather than sounding like a messy embryonic VU (which I had hoped) the reverb and delay that the soundmen had added, made us sound like the world’s worst Corrs tribute band.

After regrouping, working on the Blue Demo and rehearsing, thankfully the Alleycat had us back a couple of months later, this time supporting the band of Garthie from Birds of a Feather (at this stage, a career highlight for us).  

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