Gig report : first time ever; no rehearsal (long post)

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Hattie, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Hattie


    Mar 5, 2017
    Paris, France
    I played my first gig last Friday.

    Well, as a bassist anyway. I had plenty of auditions and exams a few years ago when I played violin in music school. And I do not count the couple of times I played for a nearly-strictly family audience.

    So, last Friday, first gig ever on the bass. Wednesday the guitarist of my band called me : he needed a emergency bassist & drummer. He has a lot of bands, big bands, etc. We’ve been playing together for about 5 months now (and expected to play our first gig with our band on the 15th of June) - so I am a fairly new member of a small community of musicians.

    I know he did not ask me first, because I am neither the best nor the most experienced bassist he knows -I am the only one still in college in our group, so I am not as available as the others. I don’t practise as much as them either. But anyway, he called me, as well as our band’s drummer, to fill in for the two members of his band that couldn’t come. The singer and him didn’t want to cancel the whole thing : the private birthday party of an old friend of the singer’s. 100€ each. I looked at the setlist (and the money), and I said yes, I’ll do it.

    No time for rehearsal. It’s plug and play. Out of 16 songs, I knew the bass on 6. I’m being a bit dramatic here because most of the 10 remaining songs’ lines were super simple. Still, a few of the songs I was unfamiliar with were tricky to me, especially regarding their structures (you don’t wanna play the intro twice when it’s only one the second time around etc etc…). So needless to say I spent most of Thursday night playing and learning the grids (is that how you say in English ?). It didn’t help I already had a pretty busy week.

    D-day comes, I am stressed as hell, I spend most of my day changing my setlist’s layout on Word and going on toilet breaks. I couldn’t go back home before the show, so I had my bass and my concert clothes on all day. At around 8, I jump in the metro, cross the whole goddam city looking like a hypoglycaemic ghost, at 9 I am at the gates of a fancy suburban house. There’s noise and people cheering in the garden. I start feeling really self-conscious when I hear myself mumbling on the intercom ‘uh, I’m coming for the concert ? I’m with the band ?’

    I enter the place and I take the lady greeting me for the owner, when she’s the singer I am soon to perform with. Great start. But the people are very nice, a bunch of 40-50-year-olds slowly but surely getting inebriated with champagne. I am super thirsty. As I cross the living-room to get to the corner where the rest of the band installed the gear earlier during the day, the owner asks if I want something to drink. I say yes, I start unpacking my things and I am brought a full flute of champagne. At the time, I did not know that it was the only drink available in the house for the full evening, so I swallow the whole thing in a couple of seconds. The only food in my stomach at that point is a small chicken wrap I ate at 1pm. I swear that during the show the glass kept filling itself magically each time I glanced back at it.

    20 minutes or so after I arrived comes the time to plug everything and go. No soundcheck of course, the guests are all here. There was a couple of larsens though, just to announce that live music was soon to begin (and that there definitely was an issue with the singer’s monitor).

    First song goes well, second alright. I start getting relaxed (thank you champagne), but the singer’s quite nervous. The third song is a musical soup. I cannot hear what I’m playing or singing or what kind of sound anybody else is producing either. After the fourth, things get better. We adjust the volume better, people are a bit tipsy and start dancing. I think they are also getting accustomed to the number of decibels blowing in their faces (well, the owner did say that a full drum kit in her living-room was O.K.). We keep playing, I start having fun. I barely miss any notes. Okay, I messed up an ending. But nobody cared (except for me).

    Damn, people really do love the Stones, their songs are the clear big hits of the evening (their songs were all amongst the ones I couldn’t play the night before, I’m not that much of a fan, although I have a greater appreciation of them now). At the end of our set, people cheer and ask for more. We do one more song. I genuinely thought, after the third song, that we wouldn’t play past half our set.

    In the end it turned out pretty good. People congratulate us, thank us and start bringing us more and more champagne. At that point I really wish I could get some water and a piece of bread. I did manage to make myself a sneaky Brie-toast when I briefly reached the buffet and the cheese board. And I don’t even like cow-milk cheese all that much.

    An hour or so later, maybe two, we’ve packed everything in the singer’s car and we’re on the go. My right-hand fingers hurt so bad I thought they were bleeding. I’m exhausted, but happy. I even got a couple of extra bucks in my envelope, courtesy of a girl who found I was awesome (the guitarist & drummer were super jealous*).

    At the end, my first gig’s lessons :

    - don’t worry too much about stuff, it won’t be hi-fi anyway ;

    - don’t be afraid to play more than one song with a pick ;

    - when in doubt, play the Stones ;

    - long live champagne.

    P.S. Before the gig, I never knew ‘Mustang Sally’ other than by name and by the reputation it got in various Talkbass threads, noticeably for being an over-overly played song. So, playing it really felt that I was ending my lurker days and entering a new age…

    P.P.S. Special thanks to JimmyM, who one day in a thread recommended to a fellow TBer a K&M stand that’s light, solid AND FITS in my gig bag. My drummer watching in awe as I casually took it out of my bag and installed it in 3 seconds is something I’ll remember. I really do love lurking here on TB.

    *it probably adds to the story to say that I am a woman...

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  2. Sounds like a success, congratulations on the first one under your belt!
    lizardking837, dralionux and Hattie like this.
  3. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    “Musical soup”. Love it! :D
    Cousin Iggy, Hattie and Sore Thumb like this.
  4. Hi @Hattie!

    OK! This sounds like a super-fun party! I'm glad everything went so well despite getting off to a somewhat disorganized start.

    Yes, The Stones will live forever, as will The Beatles, as will Mustang Sally. Welcome to the world of party music. :)

    Thanks for telling us all about it. I hope you have more and better experiences while gigging in Paris. I have a feeling that I would really enjoy playing gigs in Paris. Yes, champagne is yummy. :D

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  5. Hattie


    Mar 5, 2017
    Paris, France
    Thanks Mr Cliff! Yes, some gigs I went to in Paris were awesome. Old caves, old pubs... But the champagne was definetly related to our host's wealth: I'm pretty sure the norm here is still beer. Which is quite alright to me! There is no way to quench your thirst on champagne only. No way. It's far too dry a drink. I can only imagine trying and ending up in a coma at 3 am, waiting for the ambulance to arrive, mouth wide open like a fish trying to taste the early dew. Nightmare!
    I should probably have added :

    - Always bring a bottle of water (!)

    I hope I'll play more Beatles next time :D
    seanm, Nashrakh, lat and 6 others like this.
  6. Congratulations on your gig. It was an entertaining story. Thanks for sharing it with us. Looking forward to hearing about future gigs.
    BassCliff and Hattie like this.
  7. You are very good at writing. Great report. Only thing we want is pics next time!
    Are you guys playing again or was it a one off?
    Spidey2112, Hattie and BassCliff like this.
  8. Fun Story - a great read!
    Paris.....mmmm.....France......mmmmm more :smug:
    lizardking837 and BassCliff like this.
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    great write up! too bad you only had champaign to guzzle. on the other hand: it's nice to guzzle some champaign once in a while. ;)

    thanks for sharing your gig experience! :thumbsup:
    Spidey2112, Hattie and BassCliff like this.
  10. Congrats! Welcome to the world of gigging musicians. I hope there are plenty more and of course, pics next time!
    Hattie likes this.
  11. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Pownal, ME
    PockySteve and EddiePlaysBass like this.
  12. G19Tony


    Apr 27, 2018
    Las Vegas, NV
    That was a home run for your first report. Bravo! :thumbsup:
  13. I gather that English isn't your first language, but you have a way with words nonetheless. It's a good story, but most importantly, it was a fun read. Thanks!
  14. Bassheart365

    Bassheart365 Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2014
    Northern California
    When in doubt...lay out. That makes it easier for everyone.
    pjbassist likes this.
  15. Great read.
    Glad it worked out for you.
    You learned from it.
    Now, you will be on the list of bassist that will show up and get the job done.
    Expect to get another call at some point.
    Sore Thumb likes this.
  16. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Great story and congratulations on your first gig. Usually if the band is having a good time so does the audience, don't sweat the small stuff at this type of gig.
    Sore Thumb likes this.
  17. Hattie


    Mar 5, 2017
    Paris, France
    @Jimmy4string I’ll play with the guitarist and drummer again soon since we are in our own band with another singer. I might play with this gig’s singer again, I don’t know! If an opportunity presents itself I will.
  18. Kerplunk


    Sep 29, 2015
    For 100E and free champagne, of course you'll do it. Hey hey hey, all the way.

    It's good to see you break through that wall, the unknown, with confidence. You did your preparation and it paid off. I'm sure you'll feel more confident again, next time. Even without the champagne I bet your head would have been swimming. Reading your report, I don't think the exhilaration has worn off. Enjoy the natural buzz.
    EddiePlaysBass and Hattie like this.
  19. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    That is one of the coolest and most entertaining gig reports I've read on TB. Well done on both the gig and the report in a language other than your natural one (I assume). Very cool!
    Sore Thumb, Spidey2112 and Hattie like this.
  20. whero


    Aug 28, 2016
    Great gig report @Hattie. It felt like I was right there watching you. I'm not sure what "larsens" are, but never mind - I like the word and I'm going to use it anyway! Welcome to the world of professional gigging bass players. I wish you many more, and a tonne of fun!
    Hattie likes this.