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A couple of weekends back we ran our first “Live On Deck” show at Continuumusic.  Basically, we put on four bands on our stage in the studio backyard, recorded them in multi-track and set up a bunch of video cameras to capture their performances.  It went well.  Each band was asked to invite some guests along to be part of “the studio audience” and from all reports, everyone had a great time.

I won’t lie.  It was bloody hard work putting it on.  Like watching a duck swimming in a pond, on the surface everything seems calm and relaxed.  Under the water, the duck’s feet are paddling for dear life and there’s a tonne of effort that never gets seen by the casual viewer who is only looking at the duck from above.  So too (hopefully) our audience was oblivious to the action happening behind the scenes.  We spent several weeks prior to it cleaning the yard, repainting the stage, water-blasting the decks, fiddling with lighting and visual effects and organising the bands.  On the day, both Paul and I ended up being battered, cut and bruised and neither of us even had time for a shower before the show kicked off in spite of starting at 8am in the morning.  We were thinking we’d have plenty of time to get everything set up and tested and have a leisurely afternoon that would afford us time to get showered and dressed and maybe have something to eat before guests arrived.  No such luck.  We were pretty grubby and stinky by show time.

That is the way with production.   Maybe that’s why no-one likes to get very close to roadies.  Black jeans and t-shirts after a day of lugging gear are not the sweetest smelling garments.  Anyway, it was a bit of a shit-fight.   Not that anything went particularly wrong, just that setting up for such an event always takes longer than you imagine and you are generally run off your feet until well after the last guests leave.  In fact, we were up until about 4am the next morning, cleaning and packing away gear.  Thankfully the rain held off until everything had been returned to its normal state for the usual weekly trade.

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I was surprised at how many of the guests we knew.  Although we hadn’t seen them in years, there were a tonne of people who had come along to see the bands that had been in bands themselves and utilised our services in the past.  It kind of made us feel a bit old to tell the truth.  In the few minutes we allowed ourselves to be distracted to briefly chat with these old customers that we hadn’t seen in a very long time, we found there was a similar story amongst them that they had left their musical past behind them and gone on to other things.  Though most of them looked back with fondness and a wistful yearning for “what could have been”.  Most had resigned themselves to just not playing anymore.  Something that saddened me greatly.  So many talented musos not pursuing something they love so dearly is not a good thing in my opinion.  I hope that perhaps coming along to the show might inspire them to dust off their instruments and start making music again.  Maybe they’ll remember what they have been missing in their lives.

Anyway, I digress. ..

The bands we put on were all awesome.  It kicked off with some great reggae from local five piece, “The Life Aquatic”, playing some very groovy stuff and setting the vibe for a nice relaxed evening.

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Second on was “Shunky Zen”, another five piece whose original songs are definitely destined to go on to big things.  They had some sweet harmonies and I reckon their version of The Police’s “Walking On The Moon” is better than the original (and I’m a big fan of all things Sting!). 

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Up third was “Icarus & Me”.  Possibly one of my favourite bands that play regularly at the studio.  Very funky, very tight and hugely entertaining.  I’m hoping to have the pleasure of doing a studio recording for them in the not too distant future.  

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The final band for the night was “The Shadez”.  Apparently this was their first real gig but you wouldn’t have known it.  They have their own style of hip-hop/groove/rock that is definitely unique and has a real “local” vibe about it.  One of their songs is all about Dee Why and, having lived on the Beaches for most of my life, I could certainly relate to the lyrics.  Their songs are funny and catchy and you certainly go away with them stuck in your head.

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All in all it was a great night and we’re currently in the throes of mixing down the songs and editing up the videos for the bands’ songs.  Each band gets one of the songs they performed turned into a video clip.  The results will be posted on our website and Facebook page (and no doubt theirs)when complete.

With a little bit of basking in the success of the inaugural show, we are keen to organise another one soon.

If you’d like to get your band on a bill for Live On Deck, please email us at mail@conti.net.au .  If you’d like to see some more photos from the night, head over to our Facebook page.  (don’t forget to like it!!)

Thanks to all the bands and their guests for making it such a wonderful night.

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