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Blog: New Approaches To Gig Preperation

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This week I have been getting ready for my forthcoming gig at The Sheffield Pop Weekender by PRACTICING!

"But this is hardly news is it?", you may say. To which I would reply - have you read this blog before? It is not exactly NEWSNIGHT.

"No no," you might continue, "the blog is full of earth-shatteringly vital content, what I mean is that surely you always practice before gigs, what with your consummate professionalism and that."

My response here would be to say thank you very much but - and hold onto your hats because this may ASTONISH you - in the past I have often not practiced at ALL before gigs. Yes, that's right, all of those delightful moments where I appeared to have forgotten the words, or the chords, or indeed what I'd actually come into the room to do, were NOT carefully rehearsed "bits", but actual genuine mistakes!

Usually these are of course DELIGHTFUL and All Part Of The Fun, but it did strike me that it's now been OVER TWO YEARS since I last did a full-length solo gig in front of actual people, so I might be a bit RUSTY. In the intervening time there have however been a few Validators gigs, for which I ALWAYS practice, if only to avoid The Vlads saying "you did Hey Hey 16K wrong AGANE" too many times, and this does seem to have WORKED - the last time we played I actually got it right (that song anyway) all the way through!

THUS I thought it might be a good idea to Actual Practice Some Songs in order to get myself back into the GROOVE. Initial efforts were extremely annoying, as it turned out I really didn't know the words, or the chords, to loads of songs, and had to keep stopping to look stuff up on my phone (the main reason why the full list of songs exists, to be honest!) which wasn't particularly handy. In order to SOLVE this problem I made myself a SONGBOOK containing about 30 of my songs with words AND chords, featuring mainly news songs and older ones that I don't do all that often (I left most of THE HITS out because even I can just about work those ones out). This was a flipping BRILLIANT idea, as it meant that when I practice I have a whole MENU of songs to choose from, rather than just going through the same small batch, making it a LOT more fun. It also means I've REALLY got into some songs I've never played much on my own, especially We Can Start Having Fun which I am currently playing every day. It is GRATE!

The only problem with this approach is that there are SO MANY SONGS (about 30 in The Songbook plus 20ish that I should in theory know off by heart anyway) that CHOOSING was going to be a problem. That was until I saw the below DELIGHTFUL tweet:

Apart from being very nice and flattering, this ALSO pretty clearly specifies SIX of my older songs that I should play in my set, which saves me a LOT of worrying about it. PHEW! I am thus now rotating through various of those songs, other Ones I Should Really Know, the various NEW ones I've got at the moment AND also some of the (even more than my songs usually are) OBSCURE ones what I haven't played for a while. It is frankly a JOY and I would heartilty recommend Actually Practicing A Bit to anyone!

The only trouble is that once I've DONE this gig, I haven't got any others booked, and don't really know what to do about it. It is a LONG LONG LONG time since the glory days when people used to email me regularly to ask if I'd like to play their gigs, and also MILLENIA since I knew any promoters who were still putting gigs on. What does one DO to get a gig nowadays anyway? Do you just EMAIL people still, or is there something else? And who is putting gigs ON? I realise there have been NO GIGS for ages too, so is anyone getting back into it? And if so, would anyone fancy putting ME on sometime? If nothing else, I will have PRACTICED!

posted 5/8/2021 by MJ Hibbett

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