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November
 
gig report / The Ruddster at Beach 162 in Frankston on Armistice Day Sun. 11.11.18

1) Mike is exhilarated with his new sound 2) The impassive bamboo (MG)
Life is a beach at Beach 162
12.11.18 – My old mate Billy Dettmer called a couple of weeks back wondering if I’d be interested in playing a solo gig at his favourite Frankston hangout, Beach 162. Being Remembrance Day this was no ordinary Sunday and Billy had committed to the goings-on at the Shrine of Remembrance and couldn’t make it.
A Sunday arvo gig is not to be sneezed-at, but my feelings about solo gigs are mixed, so I hesitated. Actually, my feelings are far from mixed because, try as I might, I seem incapable of mastering the art of singular playing.
I started off my career playing in a band, so I’ve had the buffer of other players sharing the audience focus for more than 40 years - and that’s my preference. I didn’t start off as a songwriter either, so I wasn’t your typical singer/songwriter plying his craft in smoky folk clubs back in the ‘60s.
Lately however there’s been a technical breakthrough, so I was hoping this might help me with both the technical side and eventually the emotional quotient as well. Although I write all my songs on my crappy Canora (‘crappy’ is redundant, of course) nylon-string acoustic guitar, I render them on stage with an electric guitar. However, I do all my solo gigs these days with my Morris solid-body nylon-string guitar and while it sounds unfailingly perfect amplified – perfectly acoustic that is – I miss the tone and sustain that I get on the electric guitar and I’ve become increasingly self-conscious about the imperfections exposed in my technique as a result.
I’ve got an account with IK Multimedia and was having a look for a possible solution on their website and discovered they had an interface for my iPhone (iRig2) which would allow me to play with my comfortable-to-play nylon-string – but sound like I was playing an electric guitar!
Short story is that I got the device a few days ago and did some practise with it – and it worked! So, yesterday Maria and I arrived at Beach 162, me as apprehensive as usual, but also hopeful that I would gain in confidence when I was able to get the sound I’d been missing. While it didn’t go entirely to plan, at least the sound was right and I’ve now got something to work with.
On review however, it’s obvious I need to revise my song list. Beach 162 has regular clients who vastly outnumbered (and out-chattered) the few Rudd-ophiles in the audience. I like my present song list, but it’s delusional to expect average bar-room habitués to be bothered with something totally unknown to them. Those days have passed.
The best parts in my three sets for me were when I got my loop pedal in sync and was able to riff away with my new hybrid guitar sound. Songs like Fly Without Its Wings would suit that approach and a few more blues songs sprinkled around might help too. I’m sure there are other Rudd-songs in my vast back catalogue that will be more immediately accessible for the average punter.
I really like the venue. The Three-Piece Suits played there a year or so ago (before they took delivery of their suits) and got away with it even though the stage is tiny and more suited (!) to a solo act. The entertainment is presented in what we used to call a beer-garden. It feels airy and the enormous bamboo plants make it all feel very tropical – Billy said it reminded him of Thailand. Maybe I’ll get to do it again sometime.
 
gig report / The Indelibles crash a folk festival in Maldon Sat. 3.11.18

1) Fabulous Phil Manning charms and delights the crowd with scintillating guitar work 2) Blues Café organiser Clif Edwards welcomes Daz
Rustic revisions - the old electric-rock-band-at-the folk-festival caper
4.11.18
- There was a sense of inevitability about the understated confusion that greeted The Indelibles at the annual Maldon Folk Festival yesterday, (Saturday). I found the organiser Clif Edwards chatting with Phil Manning at the entrance to the corrugated iron building that I assumed to be the Vintage Machinery Museum where the SteamRoller Blues Café may or may not have been located just round the corner from the of the only part of Maldon known to me and my fellow Spectrum cohorts from the odd gig at the Maldon Pub for the Maldon Blues Club. At least, I assumed it was Clif Edwards. Phil I know, of course, and he greeted me warmly as a brother muso, although perhaps a brother whose standard milieu was at odds with the rock-free manifesto of the average folk festival.
The sound guy, Josie as most people called her, or Josephine as she introduced herself to me and whom her partner Clif referred to as Joseph at least once, took me around to my delightful billetted accommodation they'd organised with Pam (and Jim). Pam is very charming and quite chatty and clearly, as a woman of the world, wasn't at all disturbed that I might not be in until after 1.00 am, although I got the distinct impression that the billetting arrangement was all a bit last minute.
I met Greg Champion on returning to the Museum. He seemed surprised I was playing at a folk festival with the band but introduced me to another folk festival booker just in case.
Clif assured us that Robbo and Broc were being put up 'just over there' somewhere (with a famous actor) and it was going to be no problem.
Nothing was any problem apparently and our spirits were raised when Clif materialised with a bag full of burgers and fish & chips and we chatted happily of this and that, and then more about that and this.
Daryl arrived in time for a luke-warm burger and we'd come to terms with the quite tiny stage on which we were setting up - a decent enough stage for a folk artist or two but quite tight for even a modestly equipped electric band like ourselves.
The other Chris Wilson reminded me of an 'outfield incident' involving us both at a Billy Miller cricket match at Fawkner Park where we'd collided heavily apparently many, many moons past - and then there he was up on stage entertaining the pretty decent crowd that had gathered.
Phil was on next and particularly in the first set his playing (and singing) was sparkling and his folksy anecdotes just setting it all up perfectly. Chris joined him in the second set and then finally, after four hours wait, it was our turn.
We scrambled to get our things postioned on stage but yes, we were finally playing. I was mixing things up a bit trying to find the right songs to unlock the crowd and I even chatted helpfully about the backgrounds to the songs, but the audience was unmoved for the most part (apart from Josie) and just looked on with bemused tolerance and clapped politely.
This is where I lost the plot slightly because after an hour I thought maybe we should pause and take stock before resuming the battle for hearts and minds.
I hadn't played The Song - in fact I hadn't even mentioned The Song and maybe that was the other mistake, because when we took our break, well, most of the audience put on their hats and scarves and deserted us, driving off in their Landrovers or more likely even, just walking the few hundred metres home.
'So that was the rock band ' they might've said to one another. 'A rock band at our folk festival was never a goer. What will they think of next? Portaloos most likely.'
We 'd arrived in Maldon with a virtually empty tank to discover the only pump in town was closed for the day. This became important when we discovered as we packed up the gear that the accommodation arrangements for Broc and Robbo remained an ongoing issue and there was only a 'possibility' that a couple of couches might be available for them to crash on.
Faced with this added dilemma I opted to make a dash for an all-night station Bendigo. 'Dash' isn't the right word, of course. In order to conserve what petrol I had left I drove very conservatively for the 30-odd k to reach Bendigo - and, of course, despite the tension, we made it and I finally got home at 4.00 am.
In all the years I've been driving the van and the band around I've not run out of petrol. That we came so close to doing so at this stage in my career tells me this was a very old-fashioned gigs-of-our-lives kind of night.
 
gig report / The Double Bill hits the Spotted Mallard on Fri. 2.11.18

1) Double Bill Bren and Mike trade licks while Broc rests his case 2) Maybe this is the chord you're looking for young Bren.. (pics MG)
Mike takes a tumble at the Mallard

3.11.18 - I thought I knew a better way to get to the Spotted Mallard, buried as it is in plain view on Sydney Rd in Brunswick, but it turned out not to be better at all, the reverse in fact, and I took a full 90 mins in peak hour to get there from Mt Evelyn on a muggy Melbourne arvo. Nevertheless, I was the first of either the Spectrum or Madder Lake bands to arrive so had plenty of time to survey the Mallard in broad daylight. Nightclubs always look a bit grotty in daytime and the Mallard is no exception, but it's still an impressive space. It has the feel of a 2nd World War ballroom, but I shall have to check out its history to see if that feeling bears any resemblance to reality
Spectrum and Madder Lake's Brenden Mason was the next to arrive. He looked exhausted - he always does - but this time he looked really exhausted. Bren's always cheerful though and he asked me if I'd seen his Mallard animation for the show on his FB page. I hadn't, so I took a gander. (!) As you would expect of Bren it was very entertaining. I'm continually amazed that he finds the time to do all this unsolicited but practical creative stuff. Proof of the adage that if you want something done, ask somebody who's busy, I suppose.
Everybody from both bands eventually arrived, even Daryl (and Deb) who'd just returned that very afternoon from their whirlwind trip to the States - and had to cope with a flat battery to boot.
The other band guest, Maria, had driven in on her own and showed up about the same time - she was massively stressed out from the GPS jamming her phone and having to drive blind in the unfamiliar and congested Brunswick streets.
Everybody else got their's on the band bar tab but the tab allegedly ran out and we were compelled to buy our meals - and to make matters worse it was probably the most disgusting plate of fettuccine we've ever attempted to eat.
A very late sound check ensued, but things sounded pretty OK and we walked on stage feeling reasonably confident about our set despite our lack of rehearsal.
The aspect of playing gigs I resent most these days is taking down the equipment after the set, particularly when there is another band trying to get their gear on stage at the same time.Then there's the loading out.
I made thing doubly difficult for myself on this occasion by forgetting to latch my harp case (after retrieving my spare pair of specs) and spilling all my harps on the floor, then spectacularly tripping over a keyboard case and so-nearly splitting my head on the wall.
It actually bruised my psyche more than anything else and I was immediately overcome by a feeling of hopeless exhaustion. Yes, I think I was feeling my age.
Broc helped me out (literally) by ferrying most of my stage gear, as well as his own, down the the van and then Robbo volunteered to stay to the end of the Madders' set and take his drum kit home to be picked up on the way to Maldon the following afternoon, rather than sensibly loading it into the van after the gig.
I did stagger on stage with the Madders to add some harp to Badlands, but after that I slunk down the Mallard stairs a couple more times with the remnants of my gear and escaped home to bed.
The ever-thoughtful Brenden filmed both bands and if something is worth showing I'll stick it up on the site and FB. You'll never know how it all works until you come and check the Spectrum/Madder Lake Double Bill show out. Next stop - Sydney!!
 
 
 
 
 
M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D B I L L P U T T . C O MM M I K E R U D D