5:45pm. The car has finished being loaded and I’m about set off for the ‘Punch The Air‘ showcase live party band venue evening. These punters are going to get some indie rock party band music tonight.
5:50pm. My guitarist calls up to say the M42 junction we both get on at is backed up. He says alternative routes are arranged (leading to an extra 15 minutes on the journey).
7:05pm. We all practically arrive at the showcase venue at the same time and park in the car park right next door. This should be an easy load in then. We’re meeted and greeted by the client and shown to the stage area. It turns out to be the tiniest area Punch The Air have ever performed in. (see image) Matts going to have to be tucked in behind everyone else with little to no access so we set him up first. A couple of comped drinks arrive and a member of bar staff comes over to help us load our gear in (It must be my birthday). The rest of the PA, amps and guitars are set up, but there’s no room for our awesome lighting rig I’m afraid.
8:15pm. Sounds check goes so well that the crowd are already dancing, singing along and shouting for more. We soundcheck a new song we’ve only played in rehearsals (Parklife)…..they are loving our showcase live party band we don’t even need to sing it as the punters are doing the hard work for us…….this is going to be one rowdy and raucous showcase night tonight so we head off to get changed as no one likes to be kept waiting do they.
First Set – Showcase Live Party Band
8:30pm. The first showcase set kicks off and folks are up singing and dancing along from the offset (this is the best compliment we can get). A few Beatles numbers, some Van Morrison, Stereophonics, Cure, Jam and a couple more older numbers and 45 minutes have gone by already. “Parklife” the crowd shout…….”Moooooore” they scream. “Later, later” we say “Stick around, we’ll be back in a short while”. Matt squeezes off stage and we head out into the crowd followed by slaps on the back, hand shakes and multiple offers of free beers from the crowd themselves (I’m not sure they quiet realise this is our job AND we’ve got to drive back home later). We stop and chat with a lot of really nice friendly people who say a tonne of lovely things about us (Ahhhhh shucks).
Second Set – Showcase Live Party Band
10:00pm. A couple of fresh pints of water are lined up and were back on stage about to start the second set. The pub is crazily crowded and very noisy now (not that it was empty before) . Not three bars into ‘Hard Days Night‘ and people are flocking from the back of the room to dance at the front of the stage. Even those sitting at the bar are singing their hearts out. Key moments were getting the crowd to sing the riff to “Seven Nation Army” prior to commencing, ‘I Predict A Riot‘ nearly creates a mosh pit, and ‘Sex On Fire‘ takes on a new arrangement with everyone wanting the “sing-a-long chorus” to happen before we’ve even played the first verse.
Theres lots of pogoing up and down by us while performing ‘I Love Rock & Roll‘ with the ladies all screaming their hearts out. The second showcase set draws to a close, but its straight into an encore before the audience turn on us. More chanty classic tunes and more dancing. Theres a great mix of ages groups here from late teens to 60 somethings. All singing and dancing together in harmony.
10:30pm. Encore over, time for another short break but the crowd wants more. So we head back on stage and decide to try out a brand new track ‘One Day Like This‘ by Elbow (The soundtrack to the London 2012 Olympics). This track is the new ‘Wonderwall‘ and is greatly received. We perfectly segue into said Oasis track, ‘Place Your Hands‘ and a few more classics. The crowd are still foaming at the mouth for more. They are STILL buying us drinks and bringing them over to us. So now its time for ANOTHER new song…..’Parklife‘ sings the entire pub ‘PARKLIFE‘…….
We’ve been playing solidly for an hour and a quarter now (this is very unheard of for us). So ‘Ladies and gentlemen thats your lot, see you next time’. We head outside to catch our breath for a moment before we start to pack away. But followed out by the organiser whose giving us hugs and kisses. She’s telling us how awesome we are and saying “Can you play just one more song…..please….I’ll even get you another round in” (Crickey, we would have been wrecked if we’d taken everyone up on their drinks offers). So we return to the stage area playing “Back For Good“. Then the entire night is finished off with Jets “Are You Gonna Be My Girl“.
12:00am. We start to pack away and end up lining all the gear up outside the venue (See image – Thats a lot of gear for the size of the venue). Various punters very very kindly help us load our cars up. They wish us well and say that they hope to see us back soon. Its hugs and kisses from the clients and we’re finally on our way home.
1.30am. The M42 is nice and quiet and finally I arrive home, ears ringing……stomach grumbling…….yawn……”We’re a great showcase live party band” I say to myself “…..but time for bed now”.