Starting a rock’n’roll show at lunchtime is bound to have some repercussions.
Bands, musicians and ‘arty’ types in general don’t respond well to getting told what to do at the best of times, but when it’s at lunchtime and you’re sent towards (what can only be described as a shack) tempers could get a bit ‘tetchy’.
The deal was we were to be given 5 minutes to set up, sound check (yeah, right) then play. Go over the time limit and I guess you’ll lose points? There were bands Friday through Sunday and a variety of respected musician/producer types from the music biz would give you a score out of 100. There were more than 200 bands left in the competition, so that would just add to the intrigue. Or would the same-same factor kick in?
To add some confusion there were also judges who could have been dragged along from nowhere in particular who were precariously perched high in the ‘gods’ (or directly above us and to our left). I never quite got the hang of what they were there for. They would also score the bands, then the highest and lowest scores would be removed, leaving you with your final score. Make sense so far?
So, with a lot of time to kill we merrily made our way into the rock shack. The mood was one of anticipation, expectation, nerves, kimchi burps and boredom. We were kept amused by a few tv screens that promised to show us the stages but the sound was still getting done. Some guys warmed up, some groups chatted, drummers battered away on anything they could find lying around, and just to make me feel really old a kid in front of me was playing some kind of flying aliens game in 3-D on his cellphone. I had no idea what it was. He looked happy though.
Having no access to beer or any other goodies, some of us were more creative than others in how they utilized the down time. Ripley got out the face paint and was soon noticed by the few cameramen/people who were mingling in the shack, taking vox pops, interviews and that kind of thing. He started painting stars on their hands and arms and was soon causing a bit of a stir. In a good way.
Everyone was trying to relax and just get prepared for their 5 minutes of fame as best they could.
We weren’t allowed to move from the shack (except for the obvious refreshment breaks) so we could only see the stages being prepared from the back. It was taking its time getting the first band to the stage, but it would be ready rock any time about now.