Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Oh What a Night (revisited!)


For self-preservation purposes, I decided, long before I had even set foot in The Mermaid for the sound-check, that there was no way that we could have a replay of April's gig.

I mean, what are the chances of having, again, an audience that properly listened, sang along, clapped and cheered for more? What are the chances that the atmosphere would be, again, party, almost weekend-like? What are the chances that us, as a band, would have the best time ever and arrive home totally buzzing from the best gig ever?

Well, what d'ya know? It happened. Last night's gig was as good as the last and dare I say it, possibly better!

Why was it better? Well, there was comedy too. Like our gigs in general, the comedy was unrehearsed and totally organic - not a script or MC in sight. The comedy came in many forms.


A member of the audience could see a man in his bathroom through one of the pub windows and declared loudly: "I can see a naked man!" This was made even funnier by the fact that to everyone else it looked like she was pointing at our fully dressed bass player! Anyway, after a few 'Sid James does panto' quips - along the lines of 'That's not a loofah!' - we carried on playing.

We all enjoyed the hilarious endings to songs with the funniest being Mac finishing too early on Lily Allen's 'It's Not Fair' - oh, the irony! But the grand finale had to be Mac reading out the details of a football match instead of what was scrawled on the other side of the flyer publicising next week's duo! It's clear that our audiences love seeing us make mistakes. To them, when we're good, we're very, very good but when we're bad, we're better!

Between the slapstick, we played tight, tuneful, well-chosen songs with beautiful harmonies delivered with energy and a sense of fun. This is why people keep coming back for more - and we're so glad they do.

Oh What A Night....



Oh what a night, late December back in '63... actually late April in 2014 but still, what a night!

The MacLaren Wall Band played at The Mermaid, the atmosphere was electric, Mac's guitar wasn't, and the four of us rocked (and popped, countried and folked) the joint!

It was one of those nights that you think "Yes, this is why we play in a band". The audience wanted to listen to music, we wanted to play it and so everyone was very happy. It was more like a party than just a Wednesday night pub gig.

As some of you will already know, we very rarely get the chance to practice as a band and last night we concluded that rehearsals are overrated. It's much more fun to start a song in the wrong key or rhythm and give the audience a good old laugh. I mean, if every song was perfect what would be the point in our audience getting off the sofa and coming to the pub? They could just stick a CD or record on - couldn't they?

But to be fair, mistakes were few; and energetic, soulful and spot-on deliveries were a-plenty. Even the songs that we'd dug out of the archive - "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette and "St Teresa" by Joan Osborne - rolled off the tongue and fretboard like we'd played them yesterday. I started singing "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer in the wrong key - but we got there in the end and the song will definitely be part of our future offerings.

Something that I personally love is looking out onto an audience who are singing along, song after song. I feel how a chef must feel when all his food gets wolfed down and then gets asked for more - very satisfying.

The prize for the song that had the biggest round of applause last night was... drumroll... "She Said" by Plan B! I think the rap was very much appreciated which probably had something to do with the breakneck speed I delivered it in - I'm quite surprised that I didn't hyperventilate (thanks Mark!).

And finally, if last night's gig was a lager (ok Mac, or an ale if you're going to get picky about it) it was probably the best in the world! Thank you to everyone who made it just that, and may there be many more to come.