First I apologise to my friends who came to see me last night that I had to cancel the gig. It was a professional decision that I had to make and I hope you’ll understand after reading this blog.
I was the headline performer of the night at the venue. The promoter booked me 2 month in advance and because I am quiet experienced of those kinds of gigs, promoters put different bands together that musically don’t match each other. I agreed with him that I would arrange the bands myself or he would book acoustic acts before me and we were really planning a great evening.
Unfortunately in my long experience in London venues and promoters. They book you and chat with you over the phone and promise you mountains but all they want is your crowd and they don’t even come to their own event. We do the hard work and bring loyal fans and friends who come to listen to our music. But the fans and friends of the other act, especially if it’s a young rock band or different music style will then talk when you sing or leave and go to the bar and the place will look empty.
A big publisher that wanted to sign me came to see me in one of those gigs and felt sorry when I was playing on the piano and people were talking. He said to me after, “you can’t go to a Mexican restaurant and expect to have a fine French food”.
I think he put it in the right words, and for me and other acts like me, that like to have quality night with good music and the right atmosphere its time to wake up. I already did few big events myself and had over 100 people coming and managed to pay good fee to my musicians and mostly enjoyed a whole gig, so there is definitely another way.
Coming back to last night, as I was already aware of those frustrating evenings I made conditions to the promoter to prevent that situation. I worked for 2 month inviting people, making posters and flyers, putting up a few times in east London, having a rehearsal and paying my musicians. The promoter didn’t keep his promise and booked 2 rock bands before me, which changed all of the dynamic of the evening and the situation with the sound check.
The sound check was from 5 but the manager agreed with me to come at 6. For the first time in my life I was late, sitting in the taxi in traffic that didn’t move. I left home on time also my band was 20 minutes late. But my drummer was on time. When he arrived at 6 the other band were doing their sound check anyway. When the other band finished the sound check, the band which I arranged to play at the venue, were about to go on stage to do their sound check, exactly when I arrived – bad timing for me, or maybe not. The sound engineer was immediately rude to us and said that he wouldn’t give us a sound check. I was shocked and answered him quiet firmly that I was the headline and we must do one, even if was just a few minutes. He again said that he would not do and even swore at me. Shocking!
My drummer tried to talk to him in more gentle way but he didn’t want to hear and wasn’t flexible. My drummer that plays with top bands including the Genesis tribute band, agreed with me that he had never had a situation with such an inflexible sound engineer. We all know that sound check is never on time and how many times we waited for over 2 hours to do it. There was a presenter there from the promotion company but he didn’t do anything, just stood there and even didn’t come to apologise or find a solution.
I also called the promoter who booked and “plan” the evening with me but was told he is on the other line few times. Although I have made so many gigs in my life in small venues with no condition, sometime even singing accapela or in great venues like the Forum, Pizza on the Park, Soho Revue Bar and many more, I had a choice: do I want to go and sing without a sound check, specially in a venue like that, that sound is super loud? My professional ethics say – NO!
Especially because the engineer was so rude, I was afraid that it would be a disaster. I was looking forward so much to that gig but something said to me; Tally, it’s time to move on. Find the right promoters and nice warm intimate venues that I and the audience will enjoy.
Any suggestion or comments are welcome. If you like my music and would like to do some events together get in touch.