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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Band blog Feb ‘18
Band blog Feb ‘18
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SuperBee
5286 posts
Feb 25, 2018
4:34 AM
You know I’ve been playing in this weekend warrior type band for a while?
I think the first gig was late August 2016.
I dunno how many gigs we’ve played since; probably averaging a little over 1 per month, although so far this year it’s been more like weekly.
We’re capable of playing 3 full sets. I sing around half the songs and play harp all night, so it’s been challenging and I feel it’s been helpful for my development as a player.
Where I live, there is a ‘big’ blues (and roots) festival in March. Big is relative of course, but they get a few national touring acts. I think Mark Seymour (formerly hunters & collectors) with Undertow, Lachey Doley, Juzzie Smith will be on the bill.
In February the promoters run a series of ‘playoffs’ for local aspiring acts, with the a spot on the festival stage as the main prize.
Last week we entered the local heat and were selected to go through to the final.
The final was today. We traveled 300 miles to play 25 minutes (unpaid) and then drove home.
We managed to perform 6 songs in 25 minutes, including 2 originals. I sang 3 of the remaining 4.
The achievement of coming second should be seen in context that most pro bands do not need to put themselves through such a process. I certainly had mixed feelings about it, but by coming second we obtained free tickets to the festival and somehow also seem to have snagged the gig on the festival stage.
I’m really not sure how that happened.
Anyway, this will be our highest payed gig to date, but also the most expensive gig. It should also be our biggest audience, as the attendance will run to 4 figures I think.
It’s kind of a step up for the band. All this stuff is good for the CV.
I can notice how much better the band is playing lately. I think mainly that’s the difference between playing 1 time a week (rehearsal or gig) and playing twice a week (rehearsal and gig, or gig and gig). All this year we’ve been playing twice a week, and things just seem to be sticking better. Even though we’ve been practicing just 8 songs the last couple weeks, we played 28 songs on a gig Friday night and even though some were a little dusty we managed to communicate on stage and work through things very well.
Today’s mini-set:
Just your fool, vocals and 12 bar harp intro plus 12 bar solo, 2nd position D harp
Trouble (original) horn type accompaniment fills, Octave splits on E harp
Ain’t talkin to me (original) rhythm fills, 3rd position octaves, G harp
Hard hearted woman, vocal and harp fills and solo, 1st position A harp
Wish you would, vocal, fills and solo, 2nd position C harp
Got my mojo working,comping, fills and solos, 2nd position A harp

Oh yeah, more context; we were beaten by 3 teenagers who played instrumentals, in the style of SRV & DT.
But, we got the festival day gig. As runners-up I understood we would be given a gig at the (festival town) pub the night before the main festival. I don’t know why that changed, perhaps because we have to travel 300 miles and they think it’s a big ask on a Friday evening.
Anyway, some kind of achievement I think, 54 year old amateur harp player and blues yelling vocalist in weekend band takes tottering steps to festival stage. (Tottering under weight of Sonny Jr amp)
pythonbeg
56 posts
Feb 25, 2018
7:47 PM
Congrats Superbee, have a great gig and post some video if you can! I'm still trying to take the first steps towards playing outside.
MindTheGap
2538 posts
Feb 26, 2018
1:39 AM
Wow, congratulations!
Fil
373 posts
Feb 26, 2018
5:04 AM
You’re livin’ my dream. Nice.
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Phil Pennington
RyanMortos
1677 posts
Feb 26, 2018
5:38 AM
That's awesome SuperBee. I've been playing near a decade and having doubts lately about ever playing in a band let alone invited to play at a festival, lol. It's a pretty huge achievement.

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~Ryan

See My Profile for contact info, etc.

Sundancer
211 posts
Feb 26, 2018
6:49 PM
Paying those dues SBb. Did you receive my email?
SuperBee
5288 posts
Feb 26, 2018
11:16 PM
Hi Sundancer, yes I did and have drafted a reply which I am sorry to have not yet issued.
I’m leaving USA via LA on 31 May.
I’m leaving Mississippi on 20/21 May, and still to decide the points in between.
Ryan, you know I had all but given up on the idea that I’d ever play in a band performing this style. And I was ok with that. I was happy to keep working on playing for the sake of it, and work on harps as a way of being involved in the music scene, maybe take up a different instrument for composition and interest.
When this band started up I hadn’t played in company for nearly 2 years. I think it’s a rare thing that I’ve found a group of people interested in playing this (harmonica-heavy) style, with the stamina to keep on with it long enough to start to build a name. So I’m keeping on with it too. I had anticipated I’d be playing more jazz-oriented music by now, but while I have the opportunity to play this urban 50s style which I like so much, I’m gonna keep at it while it lasts.
We are taking a break in May, which seems a good idea in several ways.
It’s cold and dark here from May to August. 2 of us are going to travel overseas. And we’ve all been at it pretty steadily for 14 months by then, so won’t hurt to ease up for a few weeks. We have gigs booked in April and June so May is the best opportunity.
I’m thrilled at the prospect of traveling to US in May.
SuperBee
5329 posts
Mar 19, 2018
10:18 PM
Not sure if others will be able to follow the link but I’ll post here anyway.

Path is to a Facebook post with some photos from our festival set

https://www.facebook.com/anne.ponsonby/posts/1664140917005560
pythonbeg
61 posts
Mar 20, 2018
8:45 PM
Looking good Superbee, I was able to see the pictures without an account so I think it should work for everyone.
SuperBee
5331 posts
Mar 21, 2018
10:45 PM
Thanks Pythonbeg that is good to know. Much appreciated.
I have tried to write a review of this experience but it gets too long and I give up without posting. That’s happened twice. I’ll try again later
BronzeWailer
2044 posts
Apr 10, 2018
12:21 AM
Nice one Bee. I've liked the stuff you've put on FB. Glad to hear you are getting some regular action.

BronzeWailer's YouTube
SuperBee
5367 posts
Apr 10, 2018
5:09 AM
Thanks Bronzey. Dunno if you saw the last video; is a bit out of character. we were hired by people who really should have known the type of band we are, but turned out they wanted 50s rock and roll. We improvised ‘on the hop’

We are done for a few months now. I’m visiting US for all of May and Rob bass is going to Italy for May and June. I’m hoping to play a little in the states, attending the Hill Country event and my friend plays guitar so we plan to play some open mics. I’m also keen to catch a few gigs; should get down to NOLA and up to Memphis. I think the blues music awards are happening in Memphis while I’m there so hopefully some good acts will be about the place from all over.

There are not a lot of opportunities to play blues harp down here, and this band provides one for me so while it’s sometimes frustrating I think it’s worth sticking with for as long as I can handle it. I’ve had much worse band experiences.
We are gonna try deliberately recording some stuff in a couple weeks, so there can be some songs coming out while we are taking a break from live work.
BronzeWailer
2045 posts
Apr 10, 2018
10:45 PM
Saw the rockin' one too SB. You guys have a great sound going on, very tight. Keep it up! Jealous of your upcoming trip too. Will have to make the pilgrimage someday. Cheers!


BronzeWailer's YouTube


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