Subbing On My First Post-vax Gig

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by brianrost, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Saturday night I played my first gig since I was vaccinated. This morning I created a new entry this morning in the software that tracks my music-biz adventures for the IRS. The previous entries reminded me of the sad story of the pandemic. I played 14 times between 1/3/20 and 3/3/20 (January and February are always slow months for me) and then nothing but one outdoor show with masks on 8/30 until last night.

    It was a sub gig, sadly the band's regular bassist was undergoing heart surgery and I was asked to play two Saturday nights in a row to cover for him. Coming back after ten months off wouldn't have worried me if it was a regular band gig, but subbing for the first time with a band of strangers put me under more pressure than if it was just getting back with my regular bands.

    When he first called me about the two dates, the bandleader asked for a list of songs I knew (straight up blues and some 50s rock and roll), I emailed him about 40 titles off the top of my head. He replied that there was plenty of common ground, then he sent me his CD from ten years ago, four YouTube links and asked if I knew two other songs, which I did. That led to a week's full of shedding a dozen songs. I had the basics playing along during my first listen. However as I listened more carefully over the next couple of days I noticed some fine details I had missed the first time around, so I dug in to make sure I got it right.

    Saturday morning I got my amp out and fired it up for the first time since last March, just to make sure it was still working :thumbsup: I showed up at the venue 90 minutes prior to hit time as requested, earlier than I prefer but that gave time for me to run down a short list of questions I had about how the band played some songs vs. the recorded versions. I was surprised when they just told me to play whatever I thought would be best.

    As far as dress code, I had offered coming in, pants, jacket...with a colored shirt. It turned out the others were a lot more casual, but that was OK. They kidded me about my shined shoes while they were all in sneakers. At least I wasn't the one who was fashion challenged ;)

    While the soundman was setting up I let him know my amp had no DI out. He said he had both DIs and mikes so I told him to use whatever was easiest for him. He put an AKG football mike on my cabinet, the first time I've been miked in a really long time. I checked in with him later at the end of the night, asking if my volume was OK (it was) and thanking him.

    After a quick line check of each instrument but not the whole band, we sat down and chatted for a half hour before hitting it. I kept my eyes mainly on the BL, once in a while checking in with the guitarist and drummer for nods and smiles to make sure I was on the same page. We played two sets and both went by with only two minor fluffs. Once I heard the BL sing a line that sounded like he was tagging the song when he really was continuing on and at the start of "Killing Floor" for some reason we didn't all lock into the riff for a few bars.

    As we broke down, the guitarist said what he liked about me was I looked confident and played what was needed without direction, which is the goal of any sub gig. He mentioned how some sub bassists would ask him to turn so they could watch his neck to catch the chords and then play nervously all night. The BL is a gruff guy and he didn't say anything, but he obviously wasn't unhappy as he paid me. We swapped cards, I said I'd see them all next Saturday and headed home. Mission accomplished :laugh:
    Baa, Bob_Ross, TerribleTim68 and 14 others like this.
  2. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi @brianrost,

    As my band likes to say, "We all landed on the same stage." Nice work. :)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    TerribleTim68 and G19Tony like this.
  3. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Good to be back in the game, isn't it? Sounds like it went like a sub gig should, everyone's happy.

    I love the paragraph about the outfit. My philosophy was always, when in doubt, overdress, and make everyone else feel underdressed. Way better than vice versa.
    BassCliff and mexicant like this.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Yes hrobert696, it was a great feeling to be out again. What was even better was the venue itself.

    It's a music-oriented restaurant. They serve southern cuisine (I had a good crawfish etoufee) and have a large stage with installed sound system. Live music is scheduled almost every night and they bring in up and coming national acts now and then. They reopened with live music late last year after installing plastic shields everywhere, including on the stage :thumbsup: with the usual masks unless eating (or singing, or playing a horn) rules. It's on the first floor of a multiuse high rise, shops and restaurants on the gorund floor and apartments above. Free parking garage, with reserved spaces for the restaurant right next to an entrance to the venue with no steps...a musician's dream :roflmao:

    I had played there for the first time just two weeks before everything shut down in 2020. I figured they would go under but luckily they stuck it out and it was nearly full Saturday. Now I need to get more gigs in there ;)
    Sore Thumb, BassCliff and hrodbert696 like this.
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