Friday, 7 March 2014

Be in the moment, because that's all you really have!

We took the stage last night so late that we lost some our potential audience through them going home after they had seen their favourite bands, these were potential new Neurotics fans and we didn't get a chance to get to them. I therefore tell Gilmar that I don't want to do the graveyard shift anymore. I think we came off stage at 3am in the morning that time, if my memory serves me well. That means very late to bed and I try to achieve eight hours sleep if I can, so when I awake, it's time to have lunch. Glimar and I do that at the Self Service restaurant again and then he takes me off to see a little children’s carnival the Culture Department was holding in Gamma that day. There was a big stage with first class PA, Musicians playing traditional Brazilian music and huge scary clowns that chased the children round the car free area to the sounds of screams and shrieking from the excited kids. We met up with some guys who were sitting in the bar, and they invited us to have a drink with them at their table. We accepted and sat down in the sun to join them. Again I was treated as a visiting hero and bought a beer and Gilmar who had planned not to drink that day gracefully accepted one too.

They conversed with Gilmar and a little with me too with as much English as they knew and then left us on our own to enjoy watching the festivities. As we sat there we decided to have another drink and just relax. I loved watching these clowns interacting with the children, these performers came from a children's entertainment troupe that had been going since the Eighties and were mighty fine stilt walkers too. Most people were having too much of a good time with their families to notice that the sky was darkening behind them, I noticed it and assumed it was a shower coming. It was to be far more than that, once it started; it rained with an incredible intensity well into the evening. The roads quickly turned to rivers and cars and coaches trying to use them appeared to be the bottom part of an Alton Towers ride with water shooting out of both sides of each vehicle.

The bar where we were sitting brought down plastic rain curtains on the three sides exposed to the elements so that it made it seem we were all drinking in a tent. A lot of families retreated to the bar along with organisers, there were children having fun at the table with colouring, there were adults enjoying a drink or something to eat, dogs running through, the scary clowns came in later, it began to look like a Ariston advert (or I wanna be sedated Ramones video). Gilmar suggested another drink while the rain still fell and then the bar put some music on and a party atmosphere leapt out from nowhere complete with dancing.
This was great, but the rain didn't ease up and Gilmar and I were drinking more and more beer. I was getting plastered and I had a gig later in the evening, so that didn't bode well.

Finally coming to the conclusion that this rain was not going to lay off any time soon, Gilmar goes off to find someone with a car to drop us off at home. We cannot make a run for it because it is too far and anyway I have the clothes on that I intend to wear at the gig later. I cannot afford to get them wet. Gilmar then returns not with a driver but surprisingly, with Manoel Preto, the Sports & Cultural director who then proceeds to present me with the agreed gifts from the Culture Department, the cacha├ža and the jar of chillies. As the downpour continues Gilmar looks again at what support he can rustle up to help get us home, it is difficult because his usual contacts were all helping to pack away the carnival. Eventually he comes up trumps and we get a lift back. I take a quick shower to wash away my inebriation and then Caio calls to take us to the gig at a venue called Sub Pub.

The Sub Pub Venue
The Sub Pub venue
When I arrive, I find the venue in a dark, lonely rain swept street, as I get out of the car I put my Converse encased foot into a broken water pipe and it disappears into a torrent of rain water. And yet, when I quickly pull it out, my foot is still dry, am I walking on water now? Anyway, Sub Pub is a venue split in two, one half is a bar with people chatting and drinking and the other half is the hall in which is playing ear splitting hard-core and there is no-one in there, or rather there might be some people in there but if they are, they are pinned to the back wall by the level of the volume and intensity of the music. I know immediately that this is going to be a difficult gig by the lack of space on stage and the stage lights consisting of, once again, a single red bulb, just like the Estudio Noise Terror gig. Later I discover that when someone goes to the toilet, the light from that room falls directly on to the stage and I wonder if we could organise the toilet light to be left on when we play.

Everything helps.

I feel a bit anxious, I am thinking that the rain is going to deplete the numbers and there appears to me to be a certain brutality of the surroundings and the hard-core that seem to say, "You don't belong here". That was dispelled very quickly as once inside everyone wants to say 'hi' and tell me how much they love my music and how pleased they are that I am in their town, and that they really, really can't believe it. I felt much better then, as always, a Neurotics audience is always a fine audience.

Once we start to play, the single red bulb stage light syndrome begins, just as we start to play 'Wake Up', and just like at the Estudio Noise Terror gig, someone comes out of the crowd filming me with a bright white light and points it straight in my eyes making our opening song a complete and utter mess. Thinking it through, I quickly realised that we would lose momentum if I stopped to ask the person to stop filming and even then he might not understand what I was saying to him so I decided that mid-song I would cover the camera light with my hand and push the camera and owner back into the crowd. And that was exactly what I did and the problem was solved, the owner got the message, loud and clear. It must be that when there is limited light on the stage, people who want to film have to turn on a bright light so I then suffer from a lack of light were I need it most and blinding light where I don't, the worst of both worlds. After completely ruining a song they then post that very song on to YouTube, thanks guys, let me do something for you one day that gives you as much pleasure as I feel when you do that!
There is something else, it's not just my inability to hit the right frets, something else is sounding strange, once the number is finished it becomes apparent. Caio busted a bass string right at the beginning of Wake Up and had spent the entire song trying to find all the notes on three strings.

The spirits are not with us tonight!

Fortunately, a replacement bass appears very quickly out of the darkness.

Anyway, there are other problems, Uri hasn't got enough foldback to hear the rest of band and he doesn't have enough light to read or anticipate stuff from my body movements. We are all put out, and are all miss firing on all three cylinders. This is a big disappointment after the soaring majesty of last night's gig. This hurts all of us, our professional pride dented and yet, this does not mean that the audience does not enjoy the show that we manage to deliver; they have no comparisons in their heads. The other thing, this is a three gig experience only, so don't intellectualise it, live it. We lived it, it was still great, we can't rewind it so move on, lets make the future, the final Brasilia gig, something we will never forget, for the rest of our lives.

Live it and own it.

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