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gig report / Mike goes solo one more time for 2018 at the Lomond Acoustica - Wed. 1.12.18
But first some amateur-hour madness..
20.12.18 - I was half-way to the Lomond on the M3 when I started regretting not wearing socks. I already had the gnawing feeling that I'd left my songlist at home and it was also becoming evident that I'd underestimated my travel time from Mt Evelyn to East Brunswick - so my plan to prudently arrive in plenty of time with everything in hand was unravelling disconcertingly.
Geoff Achison being on the bill was guaranteed to draw a useful crowd and that meant parking would be at a premium and so I ended up parking some three hundred metres from the venue and puffing and panting onto the Acoustica stage at a tight five minutes from starting time.
Ray Moon, the honorary Lomond Acoustica sound engineer was a calming presence and indulged my trying to set up my experimental Amplitube app - and remained steadfast when all it could do was fart miserably and I had to go to plan B - or perhaps even plan C by this stage.
In the end he pulled a magnificent sound from the Morris as I finally launched into my set a healthy ten minutes late - although without bothering/remembering to tune-up.
At least the loop pedal functioned this time and after adjusting the guitar's tuning I actually started to enjoy my work.
I'd managed to scribble what I remembered of the songlist into my diary and Ray had provided me with a second stool to bring the diary close enough to actually read. It was a list of eleven fairly obscure songs (even for me) and when I got to the epic Superbody I called Ray over to enlist his support for the recorder solo - which was when he told me I might just have time for the one more song.
I elected to play the song that I wrote for my late mum, You're in My Heart, which I've struggled to get through without fluffing in the recent past - but this time it went pretty well.
In fact I was pleased with the way the set went overall and there were moments that I actually felt in control and that the audience was on the journey with me. Maybe this playing solo business isn't so bad after-all.
Being accosted by my old Kiwi friend Chris Grosz as I was leaving was a bonus and we spent nearly an hour in the Blyth St bus shelter catching up with each other's life story. Maybe the encounter will provide the inspiration for a late Christmas P&W..
gig report / The Indelibles go one more time for 2018 at the St Andrews pub - Sun. 9.12.18

1) I'm looking quite relaxed with my new toy in operation - pity nobody much was there..2) This is the app for the Amplitube
Some hi-tech developments make for the only fun to be found at Sangers
11.12.18 - We arrived at St Andrews in good time, in fact (tech warning!) in good enough time to set up my iRig2 with IK Amplitube app and plug it into iPhone and plug that in turn into my brutalist Fender Hot Rod Deluxe - then to play the first sweet notes on my Strat allegedly representing a Fender '57 Custom-Pro amp with a matched cabinet.
The fairly ancient Hot Rod has an oddly compromised amp set-up with two discrete channels - one digital and one with tubes. The tube channel should be the go-to channel but has only pre-set tones - so no tone controls to twiddle with - and only really works when you find the elusive sonic sweet spot i.e. one gig in twenty.
I mentioned that I'd tried the app through my PA at a solo gig a few weeks back and it was both surprising (hearing a nylon-string emerging as an electric guitar) and rather good fun.
The electric guitar is more predictable and perhaps more appropriate and I was very happy with the result. For the first time since I bought the Hot Rod I had a manageable level of distortion at all volumes and I felt far more relaxed as a result.
Broc at least was impressed that I'd so emphatically moved into the 21st century.
I started off a little loud, but once we'd pulled everything back it all fell into place. I was standing a foot or more back from the microphone a lot of the time and had fun vocalising.
So, what of the gig? It was a pleasant enough day, but bugger-all punters turned up. Brian Pieper braved the tyranny of distance to deliver some historically interesting photos, Bill's Rosemary popped in to say hullo..
Look, in the scheme of things I was glad of the distraction of finally sorting out an acceptable guitar sound (and Daz getting closer to a proper Hammond / Leslie sound) and having FUN with the music, including yet another formative appearance by a sleepy Keaton Robertson.
Will there be more St Andrews' gigs in the NY? Watch this space.
gig report / A snake under the stage! The Indelibles / Spectrum plays de blues - Sat. 8.12.18

1) Joe blows up a storm with The Giants blissfully unaware of the drama at the side of stage 2) This guy's a park ranger and knows how to handle snakes
VetRok gig goes off in a multitude of directions

8.12.18 - It was cloyingly hot and humid when we arrived at the VVMC Clubrooms in Longwarry North. When I say we, I mean the Indelibles quartet, but temporarily minus Robbo who'd accidentally strayed into the actual township of Longwarry on the other (southern) side of the M1. He still arrived in plenty of time as it turned out because Joe Camilleri, one of the main attractions for the afternoon's entertainment, had arrived late for his spot that preceded The Indelibles' / Spectrum's set.
We had been billed as Spectrum and because we're talking about the benevolent Stu Wood I let it stand, although I quietly billed us as The Indelibles on the website and on FB. The event was a fundraiser for the Vietnam vets and had a decent-sized audience of bikeriders and theirs', dressed uniformly in black, of course.
Broc and I ordered a complimentary burger - with onion - and found a convenient table-top on the bonnet of Robbo's Volvo when he eventually arrived.
A snake was discovered (pic) under the stage while Joe was performing with The Giants and was summarily despatched by a couple of blokes who clearly knew what they were doing - meanwhile Joe and the band were totally oblivious to the action on the side of the stage.
Speaking of Joe, he was in great form and even took the trouble to say hullo to me after he'd finished his set.
Under the pressure of time constraints my Lenovo became obstinate and I had no list and no hard copy reserve to refer to - in any case the band was saying we should do 'more blues' so after starting with We Are Indelible I went down that road - and it was good fun too. It was quite short but the abbreviated set went down as well as it ever does to that audience and we brought things back to schedule by not overstaying our welcome. Win, win.
gig report / The Double Bill survives The Bridge Hotel in Rozelle - just.. Sat. 1.12.18

1) The Bridge Hotel is nothing like the impression you get on the website home page. It's a bit of a pit, but still puts on the best rock acts around.

2) That's the stage you're looking at now - and for fun it has a mezzanine 3) The Madders get into a bit of banter with an audience member
The Double Bill at the famous Bridge Hotel in Rozelle
3.12.18 - The Bridge Hotel in Rozelle is unprepossessing enough from the outside, but I was unprepared for the dank darkness that awaited us inside on a clear, sunny Sydney afternoon. Natural light is clearly never allowed to penetrate the gloom and you get the distinct feeling it might just all turn to dust should that ever happen. That being said this is a famous Sydney gig and can't be faulted as yer archetypal scungy rock venue and the best rock acts around, local and occasionally international, still ply their trade to the faithful week after week - the supermarket-style fluro posters plastered all over the walls broadcast as much to the indifferent traffic on Victoria Rd.
Anyway, after a relatively uneventful flight up to Sydney on Tigerair (!) all ten players from Spectrum and Madder Lake Double Bill show rolled out of the Maxi Cab and crossed the very busy (and steep - and probably notorious) road without accident - and then had to pause in the doorway to adjust their vision to the gloom within. The hired gear had been dumped on and around the stage and the sound man was nonchalantly throwing leads and sand bags around with no discernible pattern - just a little too carelessly on occasions. Nevertheless he got everthing in place and sound-checked on time and the stage sound on the night was pretty much impeccable - we were told it was pretty good out front as well.
There wasn't a big crowd expected, so the tables and chairs were in place, (pic) a touch no doubt appreciated by the small cache of ageing followers who turned up.
As it turned out I was pleased with the way things went for the Spectrum set musically-speaking and the dynamics that were once a Spectrum trademark are starting to feel instinctive and sound almost natural. I was happy that my voice hung in to the bitter end as well.
I had time between sets to meet the venue's owner, Richard Keogh, who seemed a nice bloke and appeared to have enjoyed Spectrum's set and then join Brenden to have a chat to the two Harrys ('only six questions') for their 2RRR radio show and later on to join the Madders for 12lb Toothbrush as well as the usual Badlands to bring their set and the night to a close.
At 1.00 most of us jumped into a Maxi Cab and were delivered safely to the Capitol Square Hotel, our digs next to the famous Capitol Theatre, where I'd worked with the cast of Morning of the Earth earlier this century. (I was delighted to run into fellow MOTE cast member Robyn Loau as we were waiting for our cab to take us to Rozelle). Despite some unwelcome drama getting back to the hotel for Daryl and Madders' front man Michael O'Lachlan, everybody eventually made it back safely.
Quite often I don't sleep a wink on my first night on the road and this night was no exception, but my publisher Gus McNeil and Margaret took me out for a relaxing breakfast before we were all Maxi Cabbed to the airport to catch our Tigerair flight home at 11.30.
Annoyingly we found our flight had been cancelled and it wasn't until nearly 6.00pm that Broc and I, the last two Double Billers remaining at the airport, finally boarded the plane for Melbourne. It was the wild winds that had apparently disrupted the day's flight schedule and it made it a very long day for everybody - but mostly for Broc and me, of course.
OK - so there wasn't the allegedly typical Bridge sell-out crowd of sweaty punters on hand to witness Spectrum and Madder Lake's long-awaited return to Sydney town, but both bands were happy enough with the night. We will obviously review the numbers, but I'm certain that at least we haven't actually lost any friends with this experiment.
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