Mudcat Café message #2284149 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109300   Message #2284149
Posted By: Big Al Whittle
10-Mar-08 - 05:25 AM
Thread Name: Gigs (that pay better than coffee houses)
Subject: RE: BS: Gigs
Well I made a fairly good living from gigging old peoples homes - the last six years of my working career.

Its not a quick fix though - to give value for money and do the job properly.

1) you need all the local homes on a data base on your computer. has to be local - because fees are small compared to gigging pubs.
I'm not sure it would work - distances between towns are so much longer in the States. I could comfortably reach major connurbations like Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester, Lincoln - with less than an hour's driving. I know petrol is cheaper over there - but the time involved in getting to gigs... well that's for you to figure out!

2) A fender pass port PA system - often you are in awkward rooms you need to put one speaker in one room - one in another. Move between the two rooms. always face your speakers to the wall - so that they are getting a reflection of the sound. the sound directly from the speakers is too harsh. Play at a very comfortable volume - never ever loud.

3) sets of lightweight clothes - the heating is always on to maximum in those places. You are going to be jumping round.

4) backing trax for songs that old ladies like. Ask them. But think Al Jolson Fred Astaire, Gershwin, Porter, Fifties Scmaltz - Franjie Vaughan and early Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdink. These are expensive - they ain't run of the mill backing trax - you have to search like hell for them and they need to be in your key - or as mear as you can get.

4) a decent radio mike. Walk round sing to them individually. shake hands, make contact. Smile - sometimes its the friendliest face they will see all week. And be cheerful, you are doing a job you love - if you don't love performing - I can't imagine how soul destroying it might be. some people are very ill and can scarcely respond, but its brilliant when they do. beats anything!

5) a little trolley to take your stuff round in..

I always used to plays guitar for about ten to fifteen minutes to give a break from the recorded sounds - during the show.

So you need to buy that lot to do a good job. Do a good job, you'll be using your performance skills and providing entertainment for people who don't have any economic clout - and therefore no radio station or tv station caters for them.

If anybody tells you ordinary folksongs go down well in those places - you have been listening to someone who is used to being ignored and doesn't mind boring people who are too weak to throw things at them.

best wishes

al