A Randy Dogs update
For various reasons every local aggregation from the Baroque to the Pillows couldn't do New Years Eve in the hall. My sidekick Terry, sensing a disaster, and lacking faith, took off for Albury for the duration.
So a week before NYE I made a faint attempt to book the only remaining prospect, The Randy Dogs, but they are so disorganised they were unbookable.
The day before NYE another Hall committee member put up notices cancelling New Year. Standing alone, 'with nothing on the radar' it was faith alone that made me take them down again.
When NYE finally dawned with no sign of Alaric, the co-owner and operator of the PA who was to return and do it with me, I decided to face reality and accept that I seemed to be the only thing happening, and give up. I went around to Ray's for mourning coffee. (Ray is Dogs drummer, also patron saint of the Pillows because we practice in his studio). But Ray drops a bombshell.
The previous evening Hans has come into the doghouse to remind the Dogs that it is actually the Co-Op, then announces that members will be using it on NYE for an 'acoustic night'. Suddenly the situation is truly fluid again because the Dogs have decided to fade rather than fight, even if the concept of an acoustic NYE is totally dubious.
Well, I'm decided. Despite starting from zero with only 14 hours to go - last NYE I was playing, and this NYE (the real Big One) I'll be mixing, even if it is only for myself - it fits me perfectly.
So Ray and I lug the PA to the hall, only to find Greg and Arnold already fixing the rickity front steps “in case something happens”. I set up the PA, and Panky (an excellent drummer, bassist in the Pillows) arrives with Rik's hand-painted backdrops and his own loaner drum kit. By 6pm a nominal 'jam night' is finally taking shape.
Now it's 9pm. The hall is rigged, sound, light. I'm alone having a smoke and a beer with my feet up on the desk, listening to one of my tapes on the playback, slowly becoming resigned to the fact that I have apparently made a real dickhead of myself, but resolved to work myself into Jimmy Buffett's “tumultuious uproar” all on my own if needs be gaddamit! I wonder what's happening in Sydney and my home town Melbourne on this night.
Then Tab's head pops through the door, looks at the vacant setup, goes “Oh Wow!”, and disappears. Then the side doors explode and the Dogs and a torrent of equipment pour on to the stage, while sundry folk carrying pots and trays head for the kitchen.
By 10pm there is wild dancing to music (of a sort), chic-pea curry and rice, dhal, banana and coconut, donated homebrew for the crew. A very fun evening with many stories, but a few of the more notable elements;
- The Dogs made a serious attempt at musical credibility and managed to be danceable all night (Ray later calculated that he was on the kit for almost four hours straight).
- There was a tacit agreement among the so-called 'real' musicians that this was a night for the beginners/improvers, and that our role was support not takeover - we normally do the job but this was their night; and it worked.
- Two really shy people got up for the first time and played in front of everybody under the bright lights.
- By midnight everybody was having so much fun, as Ray put it later “I like living in a village where nobody notices that it's midnight until 20 after”. So we all missed the Big One.
- “We haven't had one of these for a while” as the doors are kicked open to let the dawn flood in on the dancers; while the Saintly Mark feeds a starving show crew a big hot breakfast(!).
- Particularly light clean-up, only one string broken, tapes of the chaos on sale in the foyer, $55 door donations to hall.
One of the results of carrying it off on the night is that the Dogs have now had a taste of Hollywood and after playing together a couple of times a week for twenty years are now trying to practice for real. This may not be altogether such a Good Thing if they become less accessable to the lame and hopeless.
http://www.ozvalveamps.org/nye2000.html | Last update: 21:30 24/09/05