In these blogs I do not usually name the venues I am writing about because the laugh/rant is at their expense. This blog strays from the norm.
Last night I was employed to perform my Human Jukebox act at Smoque at the Coney. It is a favourite gig of mine as I am kept on my toes there. The crowd are much, much younger than my usual audience but surprisingly are really into the set I put together, they dance, they applaud and say nice things. The guv (this is another bit where I stray from convention and give a name) Gael, is a cool looking French guy who just oozes personality and professionalism,
So that’s the background!
30 minutes before I was due to leave for the gig I realised that I had a problem, I could feel there was something wrong with my voice, I knew it was not going to work properly. It was far too late for me to try to get a dep, the venue advertise (and the punters expect) music so I could not phone and cancel. I have a pre-prepared play list (in case of this happening just before a gig).
My emergency set list is made up of songs with the keys dropped, and includes a number of songs usually performed by growlers. Although Lee Marvin is not included, Jonny Cash and Tom Waits are.
Obviously I was not happy about having such a limited play list, however I knew that the crowd at Smoque are generous and accommodating so I hoped I would get by.
10 minutes into the set my voice went completely (F2 was too high for me to sing), I morphed the song I was singing (Ring of fire) into a guitar instrumental, as it ended I faded in recorded music.
Quite a few of the crowd come over to ask what was wrong with my voice and what was going on. I explained and apologised to them, I then went to find Gael (the guv) to apologise to him and tell him I was going home (I did not expect a fee, and I expected the possibility of a slagging off).
Instead of anger, Gael smiled and put me at ease. He said don’t worry it cant be helped, I could hear you were suffering so thanks for trying. I told him I would keep my recorded music playing until he could sort his house music out.
When I returned to the performance area a few of the young women who usually ask for Human Jukebox requests were by my mic and asked could I play some “Old school”. I told them I didn’t know what old school was, they said just put on something like “I wanna dance with somebody, Whitney”. I actually had that song on a “wedding break” play list so obliged. They young women started dancing and were joined by their friends on the dance floor. As the track progressed I was getting more and more requests.
Two hours later after the cheesiest wedding playlist ever I had run out of suitable songs. The crowd at Smoque had kept dancing all night! I said my goodbyes.
The crowd at Smoque are amazing, beutiful, generous, nice young people, they forgave the appalling attempt of mine sing when I had no voice, they persuaded me not to run away (when I realised I could not sing) they danced, they applauded and we had a party.
To put the cherry on the cake, Gael insisted on paying me.
Thank You Gael / all the Smoque clientele for being such nice people and a special thank-you to my son Lyndon (a DJ) who had previously given me so much “wedding break” music.
I will be back performing my Human Jukebox act (with a voice) at Smoque on the 7th December.