A Typical Gig?

I met Michelle Johns and Chris Canning at the Elwood Blues Club around six months ago. Michele had been asked to play some music at a wedding and asked Chris and I to be part of a scratch band. We all agreed and had a couple of rehearsals and we thought we had it all worked out. Michelle was concerned that it was an outside gig with no A.C. power, that's how I was conscripted.
This is the story of what happened to us on the day

We are called either:
1. Mish's Mash,
2. All too sweet,
3. Sweet as, or,
4. Musin'.
No one asked, so the band name was moot.

John, Chris and Michelle

The caterer took this picture of us at the end of the gig.

Things to note in the pic:

  1. We are under three umbrellas, because we thought (knew) it was going to rain and it did.
    Prior to that it was very humid, hence the towel draped across my shoulder and now it was used to dry up things.
  2. Wet Rickenbacker case behind my right leg on the ground.
  3. Plastic drop sheet over the P.A. as it wasn't under the umbrellas.
  4. Remember the little amp on the seat in front of the P.A., it will feature later.
  5. Note the golden adapter on the microphone cable in front of us. This will feature later as well.
  6. We're still happy!

Left Churchill at 10:00 and picked up Michelle and her gear and then headed off to the Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

The deal is we are allowed only one car to enter the area and that will be an hour before we are due to start. At the end of the gig we had half an hour to exit. One of the bollards was removed to give us access. Have to drive slowly and have the cars hazard lights on. The other part of the deal is that the car has to be removed after we unload the gear. I noticed the caterers park their vehicle a little past the entrance on the grass. Well if it's good enough for them it's good enough for me.

While setting up I notice that the book of songs I had specially put together was nowhere to be found. I read over Michelle's shoulder. Chris had asked if I had a spare microphone lead. I normally do, but not today. Chris improvised using a multitude of adapters.

Set up all the gear and with ten minutes to go I am informed that I have to remove the car from the gardens. I drive out and find a parking space but I only have $1 in change. I buy a ticket and know that I will most likely to be booked.

Walk back to the park and fire up the battery/inverter and hear a little 'ping'. That sort of sounds familiar, sort of like when the battery gives out. A quick check revealed that the fuse had blown and I didn't have spares. There goes Plan A. Michelle wisely brought a second battery powered keyboard and amplifier. Set it up and no sound. There goes Plan B. Chris and I investigated and found the batteries in the amp weren't inserted properly so we fixed that and we had some sound. We were supposed to back a man to sing the bridal party in but the odds were against us. No microphone for the singer as there was no P.A. He sang without a mic. Michelle wanted me to play bass with her so my only option was Chris's small (tiny) amp, and that's how we did it. Jack Bruce would have been proud of me :)

I'd heard that silver paper can be used as a temporary fuse, so I scrounged up all the foil I could find and stuffed it in the fuse holder and we had power. We played a few songs and off goes the power. There goes Plan C! The culprit was the silver paper I had used, it was silver only on one side, paper on the other and it just melted under the current drawn. It was so hot I couldn't even hold it.
I scraped out the silver paper and then stretched the fuse compression spring. This looked promising until I found I couldn't screw on the end cap because it was deformed by the heat. There goes Plan D!
Chris suggested that I cut off the leads to the cigarette lighter plug and socket and just wire up the leads which is what I did and thankfully Plan E worked!

We played half an hour and then the rain came, with ten minutes to go. At this point all the guests deserted us unsurprisingly. I quickly covered everything that was exposed with the drop sheets and waited for the rain to stop, which it did about fifteen minutes later. I set off a little earlier to drive my car back. I covered my head with the previously mentioned towel which Chris thought was hilarious.

Found the car and a parking infringement, $75, OUCH!

Drove back and with the help of Chris and Michelle loaded up the car. Chris had another gig so he wished us well and walked off.

All of this exertion was having a toll on me and I was feeling rather ill. We drove back to the entrance and I waited in the car and Michelle took on the duties of putting back the bollard. I hear a sort of scream from Michelle and wondered what was going on. When Michelle came back in the car she told me that when she inserted the post into the hole a rush of very off water had sprayed all over her. She was not impressed.

Drove back to Michelle's place and took an hour or so to recover before setting off home.

What a day!

These things happen and you just have to get on with things. Glad I had the opportunity the perform with Michelle and Chris regardless of all the issues we had.

A day to remember.

Note: Near the waterfall were two utility boxes that contained power. Wonder why we weren't able to access it?