It’s strange. Gig to gig can be difficult whether you’re selling out crowds night on night, or no one bothers to turn up, but nothing can make you quite come crashing back down to earth more than when you get to experience both extremes alongside the other.
I recently toured the UK for a month on a really successful tour. It was a real joy to behold. I had done a similar tour with the same band the previous year, and as it was my first full tour, I really enjoyed it – but sales weren’t huge! They were modest, but with the band not having released anything you could tell they were suffering from it. Go forward the year and the band are releasing a hotly anticipated record, and suddenly they’re selling out venues on a tuesday that they struggled to make look busy on a saturday the previous a year. It was for sure, the best tour of my life, and after becoming friends with the band, knowing all their songs off by heart, everything was brilliantly locked in and I felt I was performing the best live sound work of my life! It was exciting times.
And then suddenly – all my dreamy visions of the band making an astronomical step up in such a short time were brought back down to earth like a comet wiping out the dinosaurs. All when we went to Ireland.
Don’t get me wrong, Ireland is a beautiful and wonderful country, filled with lovely, friendly and funny people – however never go there at the beginning of November if you’re expecting a busy or wild time. At least with my experience.
As us brits regularly have to find the time to challenge ourselves to a Sobre-October or Dry January to persuade ourselves we aren’t alcoholics at the same time of using it as an excuse to go far, far harder on the drink at Christmas time, when Halloween is finished and the pumpkins are halfway to rotten, the Irish do No-Drink-November. Fucking great.
So there we were after selling out huge venues, playing on £70k+ PA Rigs with desks that I may not be able to afford after selling most of my vital organs, I was stuck in Ireland playing what was essentially, an organised open mic night. A free to entry event where my 20+ channel list was whittled down to 5, in front of a few of the local hardcore drunks (they certainly weren’t giving up) and the friends of a young soon-to-realise-she-should-stick-to-singing-and-hire-a-real-guitarist musician.
So the message of this post really is that yes, you can be at the top of your game, yes the band you’re with can be smashing it everynight, wowing crowds and selling out of merch, but whether thats the case or not – whatever you do don’t ever go to Ireland in November!
PS. I must confess that nevertheless, living like a fish in a tank of fresh Guinness is certainly not to be sniffed at.