Saturday, 22 June 2013
Mill Hill Music Festival Diary - Day 7 - The Bateman Brothers tribute to Louis Armstrong
The gig was a bit of a luxury for those of us in the crew. One advantage of doing three nights at a venue, we didn't have to break down the gear on Thursday night, or set it up again. The PA was all set, we just needed to mic up the instruments and off we went. A process that can take three or four hours was done in an hour.
I arrived around 5pm. My festival colleagues had arrived earlier, to ensure everything was ready. The Band started to drift in around 6pm. For once we were done and dusted with the soundcheck with a fair old time to spare. One thing we've noticed this year is that people have been far less willing to book early. In previous years, most events sold out well in advance. This time only the Opera had actully sold out. As Allianz Park is a large venue, we didn't expect to sell out quickly, but the tickets had been slow. What had happened though was that a far greater number of people than usual turned up on the night.
As to the actual gig, it was a fantastic show. The band work extremely hard to bring the music of the great man to life. They have a fantastic singer in Maggie Reeday, who gave a stunning performance. My personal favourite was Blue Skies. This was my Dad's favourite song, my Dad would always sing it when it rained and hearing it again brought a tear to my eye. From a sound perspective, large Jazz bands can be challenging. Instruments such as clarinets can get a little lost in the wall of sound. Fortunately the Allianz Park venue has decent acoustic properties and we managed to get an excellent sound.
The band were well received by the audience as was the fish & chips, provided by Allianz Park. The show finished just before 11pm, and again we had the luxury of an easy breakdown of gear. Rather than de-rig the whole show, we simply powered down and took the microphones down.
Tonight we have the final night of the festival. This is the Polecats and Loaded Dice. It is a gig I've been looking forward to since we booked it. It's the first time the Polecats have played in their hometown of Mill Hill for 35 years. I was at the last one, in St Pauls Church Hall. Shortly after that, the Band had a top ten hit with "John I'm only dancing" and they have all been professional musicians ever since. Boz, Tim and Phil have been mates of mine since school, and were the very first paying customers of my studios when they opened in 1979. We also have a rock and roll disco tonight, so it will be a great chance to get down and have a boogie. If you've never been to see a rockabilly shindig, it's a hoot. Come one down.