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Blog: Gig One Thousand

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I've mentioned GIG ONE THOUSAND a few times on this here blog but I've just had a look and it seems that I've not actually EXPLAINED it properly yet, so let's do that right now!

On Thursday 2 February 2023 I'm playing a gig at The King & Queen in London which will be the THOUSANDTH gig what I have ever done. It will start about 7.30ish with ME doing a short set of solo songs, then ME (and Steve) doing a MEDLEY of Songs From The Shows, followed by a final set by ME & The Validators doing a set that is a statistically calculated summary of all of our gigs. If I can work out how to do it the whole thing will be LIVE STREAMED, probably via FACEBOOK, and I'll dispense more details of that nearer the time.

That's the general idea - here's the OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE, and after that a couple of CAVEATS!

MJ Hibbett's One Thousandth Gig
MJ Hibbett is playing his one thousandth gig in February, with a new single to celebrate.
The single I Think I Did OK sums up his attitude to this milestone. "I've averaged about 30 gigs a year since I first started playing," he says, "which may not seem much compared to someone like Elton John, but it's pretty good for someone who's had a full-time job for nearly the whole time."
The 999 gigs so far have seen him perform on Radio One, at the Edinburgh Fringe, in various back gardens and pretty much every pub venue you can think of. "The biggest audience was when we did the live session at Maida Vale," says MJ, "while the lowest was a gig in Stockton-On-Tees. Nobody came apart from a security guard who went to the toilet halfway through, leaving me playing to nobody at all!"
The thousandth gig will be live-streamed from the venue he's played at the most, The King & Queen in London (56 shows or 5.6% of all performances). It'll include a set with his band The Validators, some solo songs, and a medley of tunes from his series of Fringe shows with Steve Hewitt.
MJ has kept a database of all his gigs, and he's hoping to encourage others to do something similar by releasing his information in an Open Access format. "The sort of small DIY gigs I do happen every day all around the country, but then seem to disappear from the public record," he says. "It's a massive part of the UK's cultural activity, it should be valued more!"
With that in mind he has no intention of stopping at a thousand gigs. "I may not make it to two thousand," he says, "but I'm having too much fun to stop now!"
All true, and yes, there will also be another SINGLE to go with it. The original plan was to UNLEASH the (AMAZING) Frankie Machine remix of Hard To Be Hopeful to coincide with it all, but then I thought that a song about Not Being As Optimistic As Usual wasn't perhaps the best one for this, whereas a song about Worrying About My Previous Behaviour was VERY APT INDEED. Also, having heard the latest remix that Frankie's done, I think Hard To Be Hopeful deserves to be highlighted on its own!

CAVEAT-wise, I should say that this will very much be the thousandth gig listed in THE DATABASE OF ROCK (which powers this entire website), but it very much depends on how you define a "gig". Some may argue that a RADIO SESSION, for instance, is not a gig - I would say it IS because you're playing live to actual people, but then there are quite a few sessions I've done that I forgot to include. Also, when I've done two different SETS (e.g. a solo set supporting me and Steve doing a show) I've sometimes counted that as TWO gigs and other times as ONE. Meanwhile there are loads of gigs that I THINK happened, especially around the start of the 1990s that definitely DID happen but I have no idea when.

What I'm saying here is that what with one thing and another, all things considered, and with the best will in the world, if ANY gig is likely to be the thousandth one then this is it! I'm currently going through checking the DATA and adding in proper information about who I played WITH, both in the same BAND and on the same BILL, so I can do some STATS on that, and then I'm hopefully going to UNLEASH the LOT as an Open Access database so everyone else can have a look at it. I have been RUNINATING on the fact that it's really really REALLY difficult to find ANY information about these sort of gigs, even only a couple of years after the fact (for most gigs I google, even quite big ones, the top result is usually my own blog about it!), and that that surely can't be right. GIGS are a huge part of our Cultural Life, and yet we seem to be happy for all evidence of them to disappear in the ETHER. My hope and dream is that by doing this with MY gigs it'll encourage other people to start doing the same - I know there's Songkick and places like that, and numerous Facebook groups sharing flyers, but I think we can do better. And we should!

Also: the statistically accurate setlist for The Vlads very much depends on which songs I can actually work out how to play again. There's some songs we played A LOT back when we used to DO a lot of gigs but which haven't had an airing for over a DECADE, so we'll have to see if I can remember how they go. You'd think after a thousand gigs I'd be better at this sort of thing - maybe I just need to do ANOTHER thousand to really get the hang of it!

posted 13/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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