"How did the whole Grillapalooza thing go in the end ?" you might be asking yourself (or "what should I eat tonight?" which is probably more likely but not really the point of this post).
Well, I guess it would be a question of perspective.
On the one hand I got a lot of praise after the set, but I'm at least realistic enough to know that the feedback of friends and relatives is not always the most objective. Although the father of the groom, a musician himself, warmly encouraged me to continue making music and complimented me on my voice.
On the other hand I was again left with too much frustrations.
Let's see: the sound was crap (and I'm being polite), I made too many mistakes to count and for some reason I had the feeling my guitar was out of tune for a good part of the gig (even though I kept checking and it was not).
But of course I'm also realistic enough to know that I'm often too hard on myself; STREET SPIRIT was intense and emotional as it should be and my rendition of PAPARAZZI got great reactions.
But in the end, what really matters is what I learned in the process and how I can use this to get one step closer to putting together the performance I can hear in my head. So here are a few (painstakingly) lessons for the future:
- GET READY IN ADVANCE. Unfortunately I was out of power for a while (the only electrical plug available was taken up by the beer dispenser - trust me, you don't want to argue on this kind of topics with Germans) so there was little time to get the settings right. As a result my voice was not very clear and audible on the first 2 songs. Not the best way to start.
- INVEST IN THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT. I spent some time finding the right sound in the weeks before the gig but it did not seem to help on the night itself. After thinking it through, it probably has to do with the fact I'm using an acoustic amp for my Gibson and a pretty old ZOOM FX box. I have already invested in a new POD PRO HD floor board, I'm seriously eyeing on a BOSS VE-20 for the voice (any feedback welcome) and I will have to break the bank for a new amp soon.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Making mistakes does not bother me as long as there are plenty of vibes. But having to furiously concentrate on the playing tends to get in the way. So I have now a new benchmark: playing with my eyes closed. Which in any case is a good idea when you play by the fire: you either can see f... all or you get blinded by the smoke (talk about stage effects).
- PICK THE RIGHT SONGS: I was unsure about a few songs before the gig (USE SOMEBODY is a great song but I'm no Paramore obviously) so I will make some changes to the setlist. Amongst others I'm thinking about covering "Moves like Jagger" if I can nail its nasty little funky riff.
Finally one positive point is that my (future ex ) manager did not quit after hearing me play (does it make him my ex future ex manager ?) and we are already talking about another gig in December.
J-J-J-J-J-J-Jingle all the way !