As I was flying into Dubbo that Friday afternoon, content in the knowledge that I had completely avoided the responsibility of packing the tour van (I do have a little bit of lead singer disease after all) it struck me, “we’re going on tour!”
I like to think I’m a rock star sometimes but I’m almost 40 and have never been on tour. What’s that all about?
Barely fitting my remaining gear into Tim’s car (do I really need two tuner pedals? Yes, I do!) we started the trek north to Coonabarabran. I have fun memories of Coonabarabran, it felt like longer in the family car when I was 10 but a 90 minute trip to hang out in a dinosaur themed park is right up there with my favourite childhood memories. It may have cost 20 cents to make the T-Rex roar but it was worth so much more than that… I miss you Miniland…
Anyway, time for a road trip, on with the tunes! Except not, because despite a CD being clearly visible in the CD player in Tim’s car, pressing eject could only elicit a “No Disc” message. Was it trying to tell us something? I don’t think so but it was frustrating none the less (for Tim) because any silence gives me the opportunity to fill it with diatribes about the music industry, politics and the state of education – sometimes even a combination of the three riveting subjects…
I’m sure the CD player will magically be fixed next time.
The venue awaits. The only place fitting enough for an unknown band playing unknown songs at loud volume – the local Bowlo. I can’t fault the CBC for their support, they even let us park on the grass, which is the ultimate sign of respect (I gather).
With 4 sets of hands and basically no idea what we were doing we started to assemble the PA. And all went swimmingly as far as I could tell, although I was doing a lot of pretending to be busy so I didn’t have to carry the subs. Banner up, instruments tuned and ready to go, schnitzels ordered and perhaps a beer or two to calm the nerves. It was time for the main event… the meat raffles.
In all the excitement, Tim and Dave invested their per diems in dreams of a meaty reward, exactly what we would do with 10kg of fresh fillet steak if they won had not yet been considered, perhaps the plan was to let them roast in the Coonamble sun the following day like we all would?
Righto – time for some music to calm the carnivorous hordes. Brad Haling sir, you are up! Only problem was, having plugged the PA in (we assumed) correctly in a slight state of panic we didn’t test it and now there was no sound. NO SOUND! That’s the only thing a PA exists for, to give sound and this one gave none… thankfully plugging the cables into where they really went instead of just where we thought they went fixed this.
Brad serenaded us with his gravelly folk tunes and women and children cheered (and men too I gather… I couldn’t hear anything, stress had robbed me of most of my senses… and this was only Day #1!)
Mannequin were next, hitting the stage in acoustic mode, very fine tunes not at all assisted by our inability to provide anything in the way of background music for the set change aside from some sub-bass sound that approximated being locked in the boot of a car doing midnight mainies. Still having class support acts paid off again as the night was righted and the mood was set for our… um… set.
Honestly I can’t remember that much from the performance. Still struggling with sound I begged Scott from Mannequin to fix it (which probably only he could, and did) and we’d just play. I swallowed my heart, my life flashed before my eyes (or perhaps it was the kitchen light being turned off) and I took out my in ear monitors (rookie error) and we played.
I thought it had gone about as well as we could have expected until our second to last song where we were joined by Churchy, friend and great supporter of the band since day #1, local hero and stellar guitarist for a guest spot. All of the sudden the phones came out. I’ve never had 7 cameras recording my performance before… and they weren’t this time either , they were on Adrian so I tried to photobomb him as many times as possible… it was a triumphant moment and a pleasure to have him on our stage.
Pretty good for first night jitters – look out Coonamble you (and we) don’t know just what might happen next!