I picked up this flyer yesterday and it made me laugh because I am immature.
I was in a pretty good mood even though I was run off my feet. There were two meetings in the morning, blog writing, promotion for next season of The Shelf, discussions and jobs revolving around the Moosehead Gala on Sunday and I just found some time to squeeze in a show (Asher Treleaven's very funny hour of stand up that includes the greatest soft toy battle to Iggy Pop ever produced). I was in a pretty good mood by the time I arrived at The Comic's Lounge.
I heard two different opinions on the audience last night. One person said they were slow and unresponsive and the other person said they were really relaxed but into it. This is pretty much saying the same thing and would come down to my interpretation onstage. Unfortunately when I hit the stage the microphone was a wall of feedback. There was an echo on the end of sentences that was louder than the audience and was throwing my timing slightly. Whenever something like this is happening I attempt to continue performing as if nothing is wrong and usually the techie will sort it out. If you just ride it out the tech will fix it before anyone has noticed. I also didn't want to draw attention to it because it might have only been a noise coming through the foldback (they're the speakers onstage that allow you to hear yourself). Just because you're hearing something it doesn't mean that is the sound going out to the audience. I continued with my first few routines keeping to tightly to the script so as to get my rhythm with the jokes back on track. By the time I had begun my third routine it wasn't improving and I didn't really know if I could keep my concentration going for another 35 minutes.
I called out to the tech but didn't receive any feedback from him. I asked the audience if it was annoying them and received a half hearted response. I hate stopping a set to ask this this type of thing but there was little choice. A few people said it sounded okay which could have meant it was just onstage but even if I was the only person experiencing the sound problems then I was still going to need to have it changed. I decided that since the show was derailing early I might as well head straight into the mess.
Since I hadn't heard from the tech I decided to take the microphone with me and enter the audience. I began crawling over chairs and tables calling out to him and then watched him run past me to the back of the stage. This made me change my tact and return to the stage and talk to him backstage while he was attempting to fix the situation. We had some funny stuff going on but the audience wasn't into it. This was the type of audience that wanted "the set" and ad libs seemed to throw them off course. It is funny how some audiences love some anarchy and when you return to your set they feel a bit disappointed and then there are audiences like last night who just want the set, please don't deviate, this is freaking me out.
I realised pretty early on that this wasn't flying so made the decision to just let the whole gig grind to a halt. There was no point in attempting to ad lib my way back into the set so I might as well just let it be a cluster fuck at the beginning and from there build it back up. The sound problems were still happening onstage but nowhere near as bad as before. I acknowledged to the audience that this was not one of the better starts to a show and then from there slowly began to build it back up. Sometimes it is just better to call it for what it is and then move forward from there.
The setlist is therefore a little disjointed at the beginning:
Microphone issues ad libs (including "It is a word in Scrabble")
Invite Who You Want To Parties
Car Crash in Adelaide
Port Power Supporters in Adelaide
Being An Arsehole
Laughing at a funeral
Breaking Up Through History
Getting Angry as I Get Older
“You’re An Ugly Hooker!”
No Need to Share All Your Opinions
Glitter in Invitations
People wearing your glasses
As you can see once I had things back on track I returned to the set I'd been performing at the Lounge. The audience was a good one but they were very much straight ahead in what they wanted for the show. It was the type of gig that at the end I felt I had done my job but it never felt like it truly got to where I wanted it to go. In defence of my techie (who had just ducked out for a second when I started asking him if there was anything we could do about the sound) we hadn't had any problems in any of my previous 16 headline spots so why would there be one this night? That reveals the true alchemy of a show, that for no reason something can stop working (whether it is technical like microphones suddenly playing up or routines suddenly losing their pop) meaning you have to find new ways to make the night work and therefore each show is its own beast.
Was it my favourite gig of the run? Nowhere near it. It did present some problems that were overcome though and so in the end all you can do is console yourself with the knowledge you did your job. Not every gig will go the way you want it to and if this was one of those times at least it didn't crash and burn. There were plenty of laughs. I just feel I could have been better under the circumstances.
18th of April, 2013