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Blog: Touring - Lessons Learnt

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It's now a fortnight since the end of the 'No Headliner Tour' with Mr M Tiller, which I think is sufficient distance to examine what LESSONS we can LEARN from the experience. I have identified FOUR (4), as follows:

The first, as detailed previously (and indeed throughout the tour), is that ROCKING around the country with Matt was GRATE fun. I would highly recommend him as a TOUR BUDDY and officially Would Tour With Again if consent was given!

The second is that doing gigs once a week is RUDDY GENIUS. The driving principle behind it was that Matt and I are both MATURE ROCKERS and so cannot be doing with the TREADMILL of doing gigs on subsequent days, and this turned out to be very wise as even playing a gig once a week was KNACKERING. This is partly because of all the travelling, late nights and early starts, but also because we ROCK SO HARD that it takes about a week to recover.

Another truly excellent aspect of weekly gigging is that you know there's always another one coming up, so if one gig doesn't quite work out how you expected in some way then it doesn't really matter as it's NOT the only gig you're doing. For instance, when the Leicester gig wasn't the SELLOUT SMASH I'd hoped for it didn't spoil the evening, and I was able to actively ENJOY the very lovely people who HAD come.

The other aspect of weekly gigging that I really enjoyed, and that brings us on to our THIRD lesson learnt, is that it gives you plenty of time to learn DIFFERENT songs for each show. In the past I have tended to fall back on an "uberset" of GUARANTEED BANGERS, which is good for Actually Remembering The Words Most Of The Time, but is less good for VARIETY and, especially, for writing new stuff. I'd also found it a bit embarrassing in the past when I'd play with people who DID change it up a bit - I especially recall being vaguely ASHAMED when I toured with G Petrie and, especially, G Osborn, who were forever introducing new songs into the SUITE, while I was basically doing the same set every night. Thus I wrote up a list of about 45 songs to have a go at and, in the weeks leading up to the start of the tour, diligently went through trying them out. Some of these songs were abandoned, some got straight into the set only to never return, others took several weeks of practicing before I was confident enough to actually perform them in front of people, and some even got written along the way. In the end I did THIRTY FIVE different songs, as listed below, with number of gigs in brackets:
  • Two Blokes, One Pub (6)
  • You're A Tory Now (6)
  • Cheer Up Love (4)
  • I'm Doing The Ironing (4)
  • It Only Works Because You're here (4)
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30 (3)
  • An Office Ballad (3)
  • Someone Else's Turn (3)
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B) (3)
  • Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine (2)
  • Clubbing In The Week (2)
  • Come On Apocalypse (2)
  • Hibbett's Golden Rules Of Beer (2)
  • In The North Stand (2)
  • Say It With Words (2)
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths (2)
  • I Don't Have To Worry About That (2)
  • Another Man's Laundry (hanging on your line) (1)
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid (1)
  • Billy Jones Is Dead (1)
  • Can We Be Friends? (1)
  • Do The Indie Kid (1)
  • Easily Impressed (1)
  • Hey Hey 16K (1)
  • I Come From The Fens (1)
  • I Did A Gig In New York (1)
  • Mental Judo (1)
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once (1)
  • Payday Is The Best Day (1)
  • Rock & Roll Mayhem (1)
  • That Guy (1)
  • The Perfect Love Song (1)
  • The Saturday Lunchtime Wrestlers (1)
  • We Did It Anyway (1)
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock (1)
  • Crumbs, that is a LOT of songs, and a LOT that only got done once too! Initially I had MAD ideas about doing entirely different sets from night to night, but it quickly became clear that there were some songs that I WANTED to keep doing, notably the newer ones like Two Blokes, One Pub and You're A Tory Now which both got played on six out of the seven dates, so I let myself off and DID them.

    FORCING myself to play different songs also forced me to practice a bit more too, and made me more LIKELY to because it gets VERY DULL trying to practice the same songs over and over again. It also made me think that, without wanting to blow my own trumpet or anything, some of these songs are PRETTY GOOD. Clubbing In The Week, for instance, could be wheeled out a lot more, even though it has basically now become FOLK MUSIC, with the previously HILARIOUS idea of going into a nightclub and feeling as if "Everybody in there looks like they are half your age" now passing ACTUAL FACT and heading instead towards WILD OPTIMISM.

    The fourth and FINAL lesson I learnt from all of this is more of a reminder really, that going and doing gigs is not just about, well, going and doing gigs. The thing I loved most about the tour was the fact that I got to travel around meeting up with some of the EXTREMELY lovely people I have got to know in almost thirty years doing this ridiculous thing we call ROCK. Doing gigs irregularly, and especially doing them mostly in London as I have done lately, makes you forget that sometimes really nice people that you LIKE will sacrifice a perfectly pleasant night IN and come OUT to see you, and that once the business of the GIG is over you can sit around with them and have a chat. This is clearly the BEST bit about touring, and the main reason that I would like to do it again!

    Not just at the moment though - I'm still worn out from this one!

    posted 4/4/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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