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FatHand

Playing away from home

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I was just wondering about people's experiences of playing outside of their home towns. I have played a few gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow with varying degrees of success and fun and now that one of the bands I play in is divided between cities, this seems like this the logical way to do gigs from now on.

Does anybody do this on a regular and sustained basis? How hard is it to maintain consistantly playing in different cities round the country and possibly holding down a regular job?

Any thoughts welcome...........

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I plan to take a lot of my holidays in the coming year for playing gigs outwith Aberdeen. The only problem I have holding down a regular job is that regular jobs don't interest me, if you can plan it a bit in advance and book the time off I don't see it being a problem to play quite a lot in different places provided you make the effort to get the gigs. We played in Glasgow in the summer and really enjoyed it so looking forward to more of that.

Colin, as we spoke about before we could maybe make an attempt to get each other gigs outwith Aberdeen, play on the same bill etc.

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Without a shadow of a doubt, if you want to:

a) Get yourself known outwith Aberdeen and

b) Dramatically improve yourselves as a band

then gigging outside Aberdeen is a must.

A looong time ago (early to mid 90's), my band (The Lorelei, now reformed, and appearing at the Lemon Tree on December 23rd, along with Eric Euan and Onion Terror) did what a lot of current Aberdeen bands do - played Aberdeen to death. Before long, we noticed that attendance at our Aberdeen gigs were dropping - purely because we were playing Aberdeen too often.

So we took the first tentative steps on the road to futher afield, and bought an ex-council minibus, took the back 2 rows of seats out and started gigging elsewhere - Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Turriff (!?). At this time, most of the band had full-time jobs, and managed trips away by either taking holidays, or by travelling there after work, doing the gig then travelling back the same night, which made for some very tired working days (especially when the van broke down and we only got home courtesy of the AA at 6am, before starting work again at 8:30)

Before too long, that first van blew up (threw a rod through the engine block), but we persevered and bought another ex-council minibus and continued. We ended up playing further and further afield, from Shetland to London, Cardiff to Ullapool. At one point we played almost 100 gigs in 1 year (and recorded our second album which took the best part of 2 months).

All the band at that point had taken the massive step of jacking in their full time jobs, and believe me it IS a massive step. However, there are a few downsides to constant gigging.

1) Prepare to be really poor - At one point, in preperation for a trip to London, I was reduced to using the Marks and Spencers vouchers I got as a leaving present from my work to buy food (soup, tins of cold meat, etc) from Markies, and also packed a camping stove and kettle, so I didn't have to pay extortionate prices in service stations for a cup of coffee.

2) Make sure you don't drink your money away whilst on tour - otherwise you might not have enough to pay for fuel on the way home. (Or food - see below) We had to pass the hat round a few times whilst playing in London to make sure we could get further than Watford gap - mind you , the second van was a tad thirsty.

3) Be prepared to be bored and hungry. Unless you're lucky enough to be wealthy already, you'll live on cheap white bread, cheap cold meat, etc. And because you'll spend what little money you make at gigs on food/fuel, there's no money spare to spend on actually seeing the sights of where you're playing. Some venues supply food and/or accomodation for touring bands (kudos to The Wheatsheaf in Leighton Buzzard, who, although only a pub, ensured that bands playing their got a huge meal of chili after the soundcheck, and who also had a deal with the local indian restaurant which meant that the leftovers from the buffet could be eaten by bands.)

4) Be prepared in general. (I am a scout leader, so it's second nature to me) Think of every possible disaster and take what steps you can to avoid it:

Join the AA

Take spare everything - batteries, strings, kettle leads, jack leads, drumsticks

Take camping equipment - a tent is a godsend when there's only enough room in the van to sleep 3 people comfortably(ish) and there's 6 in the band, and the aforementioned stove can save you being ripped off too much by service stations.

If you're passionate about your music, and are reasonably good, then playing gigs outside Aberdeen can only make you better. If you've done lots of Aberdeen gigs, then you're probably lucky enough to have had the use of the in-house PAs in most places. A lot of places don't have their own PAs, so you'll have to buy your own small vocal PA, and being restrained this way really makes you think about how you should go about setting up and getting the best sound possible. Some venues are small, some are tiny (we played in a windowsill in one pub in Inverness) and some are relatively large. Beware however of only playing the same set wherever you go - it was one of the (many) downfalls of The Lorelei first time round that we spent so much time travelling and playing gigs that we didn't put enough work into writing new material.

That's my perspective - hope it's useful.

Regards

Flossie

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Without a shadow of a doubt, if you want to:

a) Get yourself known outwith Aberdeen and

b) Dramatically improve yourselves as a band

then gigging outside Aberdeen is a must.

A looong time ago (early to mid 90's), my band (The Lorelei, now reformed, and appearing at the Lemon Tree on December 23rd, along with Eric Euan and Onion Terror) did what a lot of current Aberdeen bands do - played Aberdeen to death. Before long, we noticed that attendance at our Aberdeen gigs were dropping - purely because we were playing Aberdeen too often.

So we took the first tentative steps on the road to futher afield, and bought an ex-council minibus, took the back 2 rows of seats out and started gigging elsewhere - Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Turriff (!?). At this time, most of the band had full-time jobs, and managed trips away by either taking holidays, or by travelling there after work, doing the gig then travelling back the same night, which made for some very tired working days (especially when the van broke down and we only got home courtesy of the AA at 6am, before starting work again at 8:30)

Before too long, that first van blew up (threw a rod through the engine block), but we persevered and bought another ex-council minibus and continued. We ended up playing further and further afield, from Shetland to London, Cardiff to Ullapool. At one point we played almost 100 gigs in 1 year (and recorded our second album which took the best part of 2 months).

All the band at that point had taken the massive step of jacking in their full time jobs, and believe me it IS a massive step. However, there are a few downsides to constant gigging.

1) Prepare to be really poor - At one point, in preperation for a trip to London, I was reduced to using the Marks and Spencers vouchers I got as a leaving present from my work to buy food (soup, tins of cold meat, etc) from Markies, and also packed a camping stove and kettle, so I didn't have to pay extortionate prices in service stations for a cup of coffee.

2) Make sure you don't drink your money away whilst on tour - otherwise you might not have enough to pay for fuel on the way home. (Or food - see below) We had to pass the hat round a few times whilst playing in London to make sure we could get further than Watford gap - mind you , the second van was a tad thirsty.

3) Be prepared to be bored and hungry. Unless you're lucky enough to be wealthy already, you'll live on cheap white bread, cheap cold meat, etc. And because you'll spend what little money you make at gigs on food/fuel, there's no money spare to spend on actually seeing the sights of where you're playing. Some venues supply food and/or accomodation for touring bands (kudos to The Wheatsheaf in Leighton Buzzard, who, although only a pub, ensured that bands playing their got a huge meal of chili after the soundcheck, and who also had a deal with the local indian restaurant which meant that the leftovers from the buffet could be eaten by bands.)

4) Be prepared in general. (I am a scout leader, so it's second nature to me) Think of every possible disaster and take what steps you can to avoid it:

Join the AA

Take spare everything - batteries, strings, kettle leads, jack leads, drumsticks

Take camping equipment - a tent is a godsend when there's only enough room in the van to sleep 3 people comfortably(ish) and there's 6 in the band, and the aforementioned stove can save you being ripped off too much by service stations.

If you're passionate about your music, and are reasonably good, then playing gigs outside Aberdeen can only make you better. If you've done lots of Aberdeen gigs, then you're probably lucky enough to have had the use of the in-house PAs in most places. A lot of places don't have their own PAs, so you'll have to buy your own small vocal PA, and being restrained this way really makes you think about how you should go about setting up and getting the best sound possible. Some venues are small, some are tiny (we played in a windowsill in one pub in Inverness) and some are relatively large. Beware however of only playing the same set wherever you go - it was one of the (many) downfalls of The Lorelei first time round that we spent so much time travelling and playing gigs that we didn't put enough work into writing new material.

That's my perspective - hope it's useful.

Regards

Flossie

I would comment more on this thread, but the above post is superb and covers pretty much everything.

Playing outside aberdeen is a great experience and also a good laugh - if you get on with your fellow bandmates that is. I also actually really enjoy the travelling to be honest, which is handy as we've been as stupid as to play in Torquay and Folkestone (kent) in a single weekend! Most of us hold down regular jobs as well, so we can play close Scottish gigs during the week, and then the further away ones at weekends or during holidays. Working and being in a band don't really go hand in hand, but it does mean we can afford decent equipment, eat decent food and not worry about being skint all the time - which is great for peace of mind.

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Guest Tam o' Shantie

if you want my advice, i would read up a bit and learn from other bands' experiences, but ultimately just get out there and you'll learn pretty quickly how it's done.

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