November 2, 2019 was our first gig as a band. We are all seasoned musicians that have been with other projects, but this was the first time we played together as a unit. We played at a local venue, The Warehouse in Clarksville Tn. They gave us a shot and it was greatly appreciated. Those in the stands said it was an awesome show and we looked and sounded great.
How did we feel? We thought it sucked ass. This was the first time I have sang there. I am a technical alto at a venue that is used to screamers, so the engineer wasn't having the best of luck amplifying me without feeding me back off the floor monitors. So I couldn't hear myself at all, the crowd could barely hear me as well. Turns out, that's not so bad, because I was off-pitch for a good chunk of the set because I couldn't hear myself sing.
Singing with your ears plugged is a whole different experience. I told myself that I needed to trust my abilities and just do my best. For the most part, I did surprisingly well singing deaf, but I did blow my voice out by the end of the set because I was inadvertantly screaming.
No fault of the venue or the engineer, they did just fine. Truth of the matter is, we were the first band and nobody had ever heard us or even heard of us, so it was a blind show in many ways. The 4 of us retreated from the stage after the show, not a single one of us happy about the performance. Nonetheless, several people came and congratulated us, telling us we sounded amazing and we killed it. Ok....a shallow win is still a win.
Just goes to show that an artist will likely NEVER be pleased with his/her/their own performance.
We then sat down the next night and did what I called "Army it out", which is referring to the Army's "After Action Review" (or AAR) they do after any operation. For better or worse, that's one of the positive take-aways I got from my service days. The AAR isn't about whether or not we sucked, it's about 3 specific things....what went well, what didn't go so well, and what we will do to make the next one better. It's a simple method of evaluation and improvement that has been applied to many things non-military.
So....we went over the big 3, we identified strengths and weaknesses, and we are making adjustments. The next gig is November 17th and we will be ready. Each time you see us out there, we will be better and better...we will be absolutely sure of this.
Whether or not I'm a fan of Meat Loaf, he said something in a documentary film that struck me. The interviewer asked him of the reports that he refuses to even speak on the day of his shows. He confirmed them by saying "Every fan that comes to see me spent his/her hard earned money to see me perform. I respect and appreciate this....and I will do my ABSOLUTE BEST to make sure they receive the best performance that I can give them."
I respect that. I hope we never get to the point where we take fans for granted. For now, there may be 2-3 people up front cheering for us. If and when that crowd grows, may we never forget that every person in the crowd is an individual who spent their money to support us and they deserve our best.
Here's to a busy and enjoyable gig season.