The last two Filthy Spectacula performances have gone surprisingly well. Not surprisingly because we usually struggle, but because in each case there were what the economists would call ‘headwinds’ to a successful set for all concerned.
Ten days ago we were headlining the Pirates’ Ball at Steampunk Wales. The idea was well-conceived I think: a lot of steampunks don’t want to go to a rock gig, they’d rather have amusing music they can listen to sitting down and having a drink without getting sweat all over their gorgeous, expensive and impractical costumery. But some do want to dance around to rock-n-roll, so have a couple of evening events with chap-hop and similar solo artists for one camp, and a rock bands night, rather less classy, for the other. And we are certainly a good match for that latter vacancy (less so for the former class of steampunk crowd and event, which we have played to the evident mild frustration of both parties).
Unfortunately, doors for this event were at 7. By the time we finally took to the stage at just past 11, there had been substantial sets by three other acts who were not, I will dare to say publicly, very well suited either to the audience’s expectations and desires or to being warm-up acts for the Filthy Spectacula. Barely half a dozen people had been seen dancing all night, albeit to a comedy-punk duo and two backing track-driven two-pieces, and most of the people who had been in the room at some point had already left. Our expectations were low by the time we finally played.
And yet, those people who were left, or came back out of the hotel lounge when we started, proved to belong to that relatively rare breed the dancing uninhibited steampunk, and we had a very good and fun, albeit slightly tight on time, set with lots of great feedback afterwards.
A week later, we played on the Floating Globe stage at Lakefest. A very mixed festival (not necessarily in a bad way), but that second stage is where a lot of the more alternative and energetic music hangs out, and by mid-evening Saturday it was busy and ripe for a high-energy band (with all due respect to reggae groovers Samsara Collective who played before us). So the right event and the right slot, according to us, the crowd and the organisers, even if we’d never willingly clash with Jonny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos.
Not according to the power supply, which cut out (for about the fourth time that evening) two songs from the end of our set. We kept the crowd engaged in the dark for quite a long time with drums and yelling, eventually giving up on trying to jam ‘We Will Rock You’ about five minutes before they got the power back. Then with just ‘Drinkski Song’ to go Mr E’s guitar, or a connected bit of the PA, got upset by all the drama and wouldn’t be comforted, so he had to play the last song thrumming desperately into a microphone.
Despite all of this, several people said we were the best band they’d seen all festival. The stage manager couldn’t stop giving us more drinks. We sold all the albums we had. It amounted to a rock star reception. It goes to show you never can tell.
In two weekends’ time we play the Steerage Ball at Weekend at the Asylum, a similar concept to our gig at Steampunk Wales but, being the steampunk convention of the year, on a somewhat grander scale. It should be a great event – it’s already sold out – and the one of the two support acts I know of are an excellent match. Here’s hoping for no technical failures this time!