Well last night was my first ever solo performance on guitar and playing my own songs. I was incredibly nervous and I think this showed through the overall performance, but I had friends there and they helped me through.
My long term friends Craig and Julie were there as was Phil. Caroline was there as she had never seen me perform and I wanted my 14 year old daughter Ella there too but there was some confusion over collecting her and she didn’t make it.
The pub landlord started with some poetry and then I went up onto the stage. I opened with the comment “I’ve never done this before so… be nice.” which generated a small laugh, but I was too nervous to talk properly between songs which is my only regret really. Next time I will be more inclined to talk a bit. Before the third song I said something like “This is my last one. This song is about me.”
So I played ‘Regrets’ which is a strummed pop song that I wrote recently on the piano. It transferred fairly well onto the guitar and it went ok. Then for my second song I did one called ‘Holding on to Life’ which was written about my daughter also on the piano and this was the worst of the three. It is a slow song and I kept playing a G at the end of each chorus section instead of an F minor. I did it both times which is odd as I’ve never done that before. Phil, who is a musician said it didn’t sound wrong as such but he thought “That’s interesting”, which is not so bad. Finally I played ‘A Normal Bloke’ which was written for the ukulele and is a light-hearted song and I felt that it went well, probably the best of the three as I was getting into the swing of it by that point. In fact, as I was closing, I realised that I was nearly done and I was gutted that I’d almost finished as I was really enjoying myself.
It was amazing looking out at an audience of probably about thirty people, who were all watching me and properly paying attention, especially my friends and also Caroline who looked enraptured. Being up on stage, especially on my own, was a feeling that I can’t describe. I had to try hard to get myself in the right mindset to just get on with it and although I felt at the time that it hadn’t gone well. I’m writing this the following day and I’m feeling much better about it.
What I’d like to be able to do is to vary the instruments and use a ukulele, guitar-lele and maybe even an electric piano. When I’ve done a few more of these and tried some new songs, I’ll look to build up my set until I can do proper gigs. I was paid in beer at this event but I’d like to be able to get some cash in my pocket.
After my slot there was another poet and then a guitarist who was fairly good. He did a lot of finger picking which I didn’t feel confident doing last night but may do some of that in the future.
I definitely want to do it again, and I may contact the landlord to see if he’ll have me on again next month. I’ll also be looking out for other open mic nights too.