I didn’t know what to expect from a biker rally. My entire knowledge of biker culture comes from the TV show Sons of Anarchy, so I assumed there was a real danger of being killed by people with unconvincing Irish accents.
More to the point, are silly songs about aliens and tentacles and steampunk shenanigans really the sort of thing to play at a biker rally, even if it is the chill-out Sunday afternoon acoustic session? Might we get booed off, or worse?
It was with a slight sense of trepidation that Gareth and I headed into Sunday’s gig at the Underworld Rally 2017.
I headed up to Nottingham, where Gareth lives with his better half and my dog Charlie on the Saturday evening and we headed off for a very pleasant drive up to the rally which was taking place in Preston, finally turning in to the entrance to the venue, a farm somewhere quite a way from civilisation (being a lousy Southerner, I of course regard the interior of the M25 as civilisation and everything outside it as a bleak, desolate wasteland).
A lovely chap greeted us and gave us wrist bands. There was a woman with a baby at the welcome table with him. We drove in, still nervous, only to find a nice little group of people listening to the opening acoustic act, who was performing under a tree.
It turns out bikers like their rock music and a great many of them were wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts. I was obviously going to like them, wasn’t I? The event even had its own beer, a pleasant, rather wheaty affair. Apart from the bikes, which I have no interest in, this was the perfect event for me.
We were performing outside in the shade of a tree and an old carved statue of what I think was supposed to be a native american. It was the afternoon of the third day of the rally and the acoustic acts were the chill-out section before the final evening.
We were last on and played a pleasant little set to about 40 or 50 people. It Is interesting, the different audiences you play to. This gig was definitely a mixture of some people paying attention and some hanging out in the sun with the music as background. Which is fine, and presents a nice challenge for us as performers. Can you find the peolle who want to listen and engage with them, can you win some more round? We had some nice little chats with people afterwards, so I think it’s fair to say we did okay.
So it was a pleasant gig, the fourth as a duo and the end of what I’ve bern thinking of as ‘phase 1’ of gigging.
What’s phase 1? It’s the proof of concept phase where we answered the questions does this duo thing work? And can Gareth and I work together? The answers appear to be ‘yes,’ and ‘yes.’
What’s phase 2? Phase two is where we book gigs strategically and really put some effort into building the audience. This may involve a banner of some kind.