A Weekend of Highs and Lows

Wow.

What a rollercoaster ride of mixed emotions that was. I’ll start with the good stuff because its always nice to have something positive to take away from situations. Friday night was the debut gig for the Matt Reynolds Band, and I had the most fantastic evening.

I don’t really ever organise and promote gigs so this was a big deal personally; and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience some stress and headaches making it happen! But it all came together beautifully. At least I thought so…

Despite setup and soundcheck taking longer than expected we managed to keep on schedule and get all three acts running to plan. First up was Billy Driscoll – I had actually not heard of him or his music but someone had tagged him in a post I put up a while back asking for a support act. I was extremely pleased I invited him onto the bill – not only are his original songs fantastic with big strong hooks, but Billy is one of those rare people who when you meet you instantly click. Effortlessly likeable, friendly and helpful, I’ll definitely be looking forward to working with him again!  He made great use of a vocal harmony pedal too, and to my pleasant surprise chucked in a Zac Brown Band cover which I did not expect! Here is his set:

Then it was time. We were on! We launched straight into my old Red Dust Road song ‘Blue’ and instantly had people up dancing along. The set went very smoothly and was over in a flash – they always go too quickly when they’re fun! From my perspective, we sounded way tighter than we had any right to for a band that has only been playing together from September and had a handful of practices. The only one who fucked up was me! Once. The feedback afterwards was overwhelmingly positive – there was a great sense of optimism, fun and camaraderie in the room. I was extremely happy. Here’s the (unfortunately quite blurry!) set:

With my first band performance done it was time to have some beers and watch the awesome Recovering Satellites from Bridgwater. I’ve been a big fan of them for the last year and was beyond happy to have them come and close the show for me. They did not disappoint – mixing their own fantastic country-rock songs such as ‘Brown River’ and ‘Footprints Of A Ghost’ with a couple of covers; including the finale – the Counting Crows version of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ by Joni Mitchell. I was honoured to be invited onstage by singer Kerri to provide harmonies on it. Here is the first 40 minutes of their set before my camera gave up the ghost:

It was a brilliant close to a brilliant evening. I went home, uploaded the gig footage and headed to bed with a huge sense of achievement.

Saturday mainly consisted of nursing a sore head, followed by an evening gig with my covers band. During the day I contacted Nick, Sam and Kyle and outlined my ideas for the next steps in our musical journey together. Nick and Sam were positive and responsive, but Kyle was rather quiet.

On Sunday I suggested that maybe we were ready for a gig we had been offered at the Louisiana in March. Previously Sam and Nick were up for it but Kyle seemed quite reserved, saying he didn’t feel we were all ‘locked in’ yet. I must admit it had pissed me off at the time, but I smoothed over it and acquiesced to his concerns because hell, its early days for us all working together and we are of course still getting used to each other both as musicians and people.

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A few minutes later the phone rang. It was Kyle, and he quit the band. He cited Sam’s bass playing as a factor in his decision, believing that again they are not ‘locking in’ with each other. I understand that as a drummer in a band you have to be most closely in sync with the bassist and if you’re not feeling it then you’re not feeling it. But I think its a bit of a poor excuse in this case – point one, Sam played the bass on my EP that Kyle was given to listen to and learn from when he expressed interest in the band. Its all the same basslines, and Kyle was also playing the drum parts fairly closely. If he didn’t like it then why bother auditioning in the first place, let alone join?

Secondly, I challenge anyone to watch the gig footage above and tell me we didn’t sound like a good band. Regardless of whether the music is your thing or not, that gig does not sound like a band struggling to play together. I’m an experienced musician and can tell if something isn’t sounding right. There’s nothing there aside from a small sound engineering issue with the bass in the first song, that is fixed by the time the first chorus is over. We had several comments from both punters and the other acts saying they couldn’t believe that was our first gig. It was a success.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely gutted. I loved Kyle’s playing, he seems like a very nice chap and I thought we were working well together. But I guess something had to go wrong, right? I could almost laugh; if you’ve been following this blog from the start you’ll know this is just the latest in a long line of letdowns, disappointments and flakey musicians. I guess I just have to add him to my personal blacklist of timewasters. Its pretty long!

Oh well. As I’ve said in previous posts; in the past I’ve always thrown in the towel when something like this happens. Well not this time. I have Nick who is passionate about this project and is the absolute perfect guitarist to accompany me, all the parts he writes are spot on and make my songs sound ten times better. I have Sam, who’s bass playing is great, despite what has been said. Even though he has another band he’s always reliable and helpful with musical suggestions.

I also have a good lead on a keyboard player so fingers crossed. I have a promo photoshoot coming up. And as I said in last week’s post; I have a special announcement coming up with a new single. It was going to be announced today, but given the weekend’s drama I figure it best to leave it til next time.

Onwards and upwards. Wish me luck! I clearly fucking need it.

 

 

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