In the music world back in the states, when one, an artist says they have a gig, it generally means they have a paying job. Now-a-days I hear regular people say it, it kind of bugs me. Like they are highjacking “our” lingo, 9-5 ers, get your own words! Ok, so here in Japan I am guessing there is a bit of lost in the term. I was told by the band leader “I have a gig and would like you to play with me”. I am thinking, cool some pay for playing, a paid music gig in Japan, cool! No, it was a freebie. A nursing home so it is ok, good karma, and practice.
I gather my gear, including the new to me amp I purchased to use for this “gig” since I had heard there was no PA, and my serious club amp was too much and too heavy for this venue. Also I took my lighter acoustic bass. So all this is easier to deal with having to travel via train. Hopefully the purchase will be a worthwhile in the long run. It did work out fine for this event. Out of this I discovered a new battery powered mini Bass amp with some serious thump. It is perfect for travel, outdoors, and small clubs run through a PA if needed, like what is here in Japan. Anyway, I digress. I got on the train to travel, as one does here in Japan when sans-car.
I had my first ride in a full electric car. “M” the leader gave me a ride from the train station near his home. The car is nice. Him and his girlfriend got excited to see another “leaf” at the stop sign on the way to the event.
We arrive at the hospital, and head to Dr. “M”‘s office. There is a sign on the door. This our temp “green room”. The band’s HQ so to speak. It is a nice setup. We have tea and relax. The hospital gives us vouchers for food and drink. Cool, this may have been our Pay. We eat, chat and wait for the other “M”, the drummer. He arrives a short while later and we go through a couple of songs before go down to the show.
After a short while we get the “curtain call” and head down. There is a fair amount of people and there is a stage setup. Things are much more organized than we thought. We had a PA system and a stage, I thought cool! I was told we would be standing in a parking lot basically.
We started on our first song, it was bad! I could hardly hear what Dr. M was playing and what I heard sounded distorted and off. About half way through i was able to link in. The second song went much better. I though a bit to uptempo and hip for this crowd, but at least we sounded better now. By the third song we were fully functioning as a band. However I had an issue with my harmonica brace. It was not set tight. So as I played it keep falling/slipping down. I dealt with it best I could. For the next song I did not sing so I was able to play single notes with one hand and make the needed adjustment to the harp holder with the other. Ok finally I was set. I finished that song and was ready for the next, which was next to the last. Finally we sounded pretty good and all things were functioning as should planned. The link to the FB vid is here if you can access.
This was really our first time playing together as a whole. I have played with the other two separately, and they played with each other, but the first time for the three of us. We had planned on doing this at the last Blues for Kobe Jam, but with former “star” Paul Jackson there things did not go as planned.
For the last song we did a traditional Japanese song. That got the most applause from the crowd. Once that was finished we hustled off stage so the next performers could have at it. From the smiles and remarks given to us as we left I am guessing overall it went well and people enjoyed the music. Maybe not all of it but enough, or grateful for just the effort of coming out for them.
Our next performance is at a club end of this month. We should sound fairly decent then. It is a small comfortable venue.
We are slowly getting a song list together. I am hoping for some different tunes from the mass of other Blues bands here. So our distinction will be not only the American of color singing, but some cool tunes, unlike the other Bands. It would be good to develop a following and get some actual “gigs”.