This topic is undoubtedly the reason I wanted to become a musician. From a very early age, probably around 7 or 8 I have been performing either in Music or Drama. The Laser boys being my first venture of live music albeit only playing in the street garden to around 20 people, even then it was a rush.
For me its never been about the size of the crowd although it does help. In 2015 I got to perform on the main stage at Independance festival. Leading up to this it was incredibly exciting, I would finally get to feel what some of my friends in the Coronas feel like regularly. Unfortunately it was a bit of disappointment. We played in the middle of the day and not too many came out to see us. Sometimes a session in a house party can top that. Why is that?.
What can go wrong?. Plenty of things can and have gone wrong, making sure you show up especially if the gig is far away with everything you need and more. Breaking a string can easily happen but I have become quite fast at replacing them now. Always test your equipment and keep maintaining its quality if needs be. I have some fond memories of the (Draft days) when we wouldn’t have a clue what we were doing setting up speakers and amps etc. Huge feedback every 30 seconds. Anytime that happens now we call it a “Ballyboden” One of the worst things that almost happened was when playing a Whelans gig with the lads. I walked out on stage thinking I was Jim Morrison with a shot in my hand, necked it. The bloody thing was stuck in my throat for the first 3 songs and I was gagging between vocal parts.
Of all the venues I play weekly I feel the candlelight bar suits what I do the best. Its the only place where I get to show my full range of background piano, ballads, oldies then mix it up with some 90s and chart stuff. It can get mad in there sometimes too which is always great for me.
There are a lot of musicians who use gimmicks, backing tracks or loop pedals which doesn’t bother me too much but for me I always like to play it straight and keep it a bit more authentic.
I suppose my biggest weakness would be that I never practice, any new song I chose to perform is always along the same lines as the rest so its quite easy for me. I would maybe have to have the lyrics on my phone for the first few gigs but then I’m all good. Thats another thing that spoils the performance for me is having sheets in front of you. Get rid of them!. I will always start with the piano. You need to ease people in. You cannot start your set with lively stuff unless of course its a massive venue and thats what you are there to do. I will always switch back to the piano after and hour or so of guitar for two reasons. 1 It gives people that wow factor that have maybe come in mid set and you can literally see them say “he plays piano too, wow” 2. The final 3 or 4 are massive sing along songs and its the best way to finish any set.
If I was to put my favourite gigs Ive ever done in to a top 3 it would be as follows
- The Ambertones – Whelans
- Hunting the Brave – The Village
- The Mash up – 5th on Teeling