‘the gig where everything went so wrong, then went so right’

not sure what to write about today , but i have some time so i want to write something. that’s what we do with blogs , right? Already this has become one of those things where I’ve started to think , ‘am I writing this blog often enough? How often do other people write their blog? Whats the expected input into a blog?’  I’m thinking this has to conform to some sort of unwritten rule of ‘blog’ rather than a spouting outlet. Even this paragraph is a sort of apology for not writing this as often as I thought I ought , aargh! Where does it all end…

Anyway.

could be after the I.O.W. entry i talk about the ‘the gig where everything went so wrong, then went so right’ to redress the balance.

so it was the Alternative escape , the great escape wouldn’t have me . not young or up and coming enough. can’t argue there. But managed to get a gig with the alt escape which is rising in popularity as the great escape grows and become harder to get on to . just to fill you in, the great / alt escape is a town festival in Brighton that runs for three days in various venues all over town, and is mostly about showcasing new bands for people and more importantly, A and R folks from record companies, to discover .

the alt escape built up around it as an alternative for the people who couldn’t get in to the great one. the advantage is , all the alt escape gigs are free.

so anyway , where was I? oh yes , standing on the street clearing beer can off of a borrowed kitchen table so Alex ( back line tech ) could set up my gear. but I’m getting ahead.

The particular venue I was booked to play at was a street party being held on a narrow rd outside the fiddlers elbow pub in Brighton. it was basically a couple of big , robust open sided awnings,the sort of thing people take camping with them to cook under,and a shut off street,with a nice P.A. All shoved up one end.

So.

9pm , stage time -1 hour

We were booked to play at 10pm. We got to the gig, met Chris , the guy running it, great person , totally on it and full of enthusiasm . Ran the stage with ruthless efficiency . I had though that the whole thing might have been a bit of a drunken affair with little regard for timings, but no it was a well oiled machine manned by people who knew what they were doing . So a great start. It was of course quite rowdy and drunken,but happy as you’d expect at an all day street party . We were shown to our kitchen table that had been supplied for my gear and proceeded to clear it off  of beer cans and other stuff. Alex got straight down to setting up the gear.

9:30 ,  stage time – 30mins

We had a little problem with the computer ‘seeing’ the sound card, that is the digital equivalent of a mixing desk, it’s the conduit that takes in all the synths and spits out all the sound to the sound man. Without it you have silence. So we played around a bit tried different cables , nothing, it was dead. I have no back ups at this point in my new career path as I don’t have the luxury of the double set up that we had with orbital , it’s all or nothing with this set up. I thought the gig was finished. Utter disappointment all round .

So there we were a fantastic, full street of happy lightly sozzled people patiently waiting for a gig that we couldn’t deliver.

Alex , conceding that the thing was truly bust ,but, pointed out he had an identical sound card at home, getting it and swapping it would be bound to make us late though. should we get it?

9:45 stage time -15

This was our last hope but the chances of sorting it out in time for the gig were dwindling , Gavin , my manager’s assistant ( who had taken up running in recent times ) volunteered to run around and get it , we though this might be quicker than getting a cab. So off he went.

The next 20 minutes were excruciating. I had my head in my hands for a lot of it white as a sheet , while Chris the boss of the stage , assured us it would all be great , every thing would work out , he was brilliant actually , he had a jaunty positive attitude the like of which was last seen on Eric Idol in the crucifixion scene in the life of Brian.

So many of my musical friend and others came up to try to help as they could see the horror on my face, but they all left helpless as the really was nothing they could do. We just had to set there and wait , and hope that it would fix the problem , while looking  at the faces of all the patient happy people in the crowded street. Thinking in half an hour or so I’m going to have to let then all down.

10.05ish stage time + 5mins

Gavin came sprinting back damaged foot but sound card in hand , Alex whipped it into place , turned it on…bingo ! It worked, but…

10:10 stage time +10mins

All the midi assignments were not working as it was a new set up . That basically means the computer won’t talk to my synths.

I’d had this problem in the week and it took over an hour to reassigned all the parts to the relevant synths so again I assumed the gig was dead. I moaned , I flailed, I spoke of doom and gloom , then got ahold of my self and proceeded to talk Alex through the process hopping we could salvage at least some of the set. We went at it working together properly focused with fear? Panic? Shock, not even sure what the emotion was. And got it done in fifteen minutes. Gave it a test. Everything seemed to be working…

10:35ish stage time +35

Lost 10 minutes in the panic somewhere.

We wheeled it all on stage , after I caught Alex resetting all the delays and faders on my controllers and had to explain that we didn’t have time for that and we would just start with it however it was set up and roll with the punches ( to be honest I may have said that with a little more impatience and a little less decorum )

10:40 stage time +40

Chris had made a little announcement apologising for the technical delay and that we were ready. So with a cheer, the patient crowd were ready , we were ready. Tom , who was in charge of the whole thing handed me a pint of ale and said the curfew was fairly soft and I’d get away with ten minutes or so on the end, so with a pint in hand and utter euphoric relief in my heart I went on.I lost the first two tracks and dived straight into a big Dancy number. The tiny stage was Surrounded on all four sides by happy dancing people, the barrier between us, a road works safety rail thingy just outside of the gazebo, ( that’s the word, gazebo . That’s what it was and that’s the word I was trying to think of earlier when I said awning ). I did one of the happiest carefree gigs of my life , rushing through the tracks , cutting a bit out here and there, putting it all into a few moment, seeing if I could get all that I wanted into the set. It felt like running through a maze, not bothering too much about where your going but getting there anyway. I got it all in , and had a totally brilliant time doing it . Such fun , such relief and such good ale.

And from what I hear , the PA was loader than the Isle of Wight! Pretty good for a street party in the centre of town.

Afterwards I went to a friends fortieth birthday party in a bar that was half parents from the school run,and half people who I knew, but hadn’t seen for ages from Sevenoaks , where I grew up. I stood and drank expensive pints of american pale ale from a massive bowl and watched two worlds collide ,  I was stunned.

9 thoughts on “‘the gig where everything went so wrong, then went so right’

  1. Anthony Pye

    Paul, after being in Orbital it seems to have been quite a struggle getting 8:58 off the ground (was reading your other post where you were talking about branding yourself). I’m shocked (the new album is great & up there with your work as Orbital) & it sounds like it has taken some getting used to. This tale of your gig at alt escape whilst sounding incredibly stressful, it does sound like you are enjoying getting back to basics. Keep up the hardwork mate, the rewards are only sweeter. Hope to catch your live outfit in not too distant future 🙂

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  2. Rob

    What a fantastic read! I’ve been a long time fan as have many. The album you released recently under your new guise 8:58 is absolutely brilliant and certainly not lost its magic. It sounds like it was a stressful encounter you had at the alt escape gig but you stuck to your guns and worked through it to achieve great results. Keep up the good work Paul, you’ve already done so well with 8:58 even with hiccups along the way.

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  3. irlmobri

    Tech issues Paul. They’re a bastard. And you feel the pressure of disappointment. But fair dues to the lads, they got you going again. Can’t wait to see the live set. Keep sharing!

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  4. Joh

    Love this blog – great read, and great that you got everything working! Good teamwork all round! Looking forward to seeing you at beatherder in a couple of weeks 🙂

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  5. dazron

    Bloody sound cards. Did you have an aggregate card that had to be remapped? Such a sod they are… Wish I was there for that one Paul. Don’t stop xxx

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  6. Ian_Marchant

    Another nice read. Would love to hear more about the creative side as well. I have no idea where you start with producing anything like this and listening to things like the new album leave me wondering even more

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  7. kelvingreen

    I was perched just off the side of the stage through all this and I saw a lot of these emotions crossing your face but it ended up as a great little gig and I’m so glad I got to see you play in Brighton again.

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