Opening Night

Its not the most promising start to the day. We think we’ve got the Cellar Bar all day but arrive to the sounds of a Dixie band. Thats ok though they’re out at 1 says Richard our DM for the day – but (isn’t there always a but) theres a wedding buffet happening above the cellar bar and theres no sound separation. So we can use the space – but not put anything through the PA.

Nightmare. The stress is palpable. Various contingency plans are put into place but none can compensate for the loss of the space. Theres an awful lot of hanging around. The atmosphere is tense and nervy.

At 6pm we crank up the PA and start rushed sound checks (the show is supposedly at 1930) but even that turns out to be too early. We rush through some final transition rehearsals and line checks, take a deep breath and pause….

…The show is far far better than it deserves to be given the day we’ve had – and its all down to the quality of the acts on the tour. Mark n Mixy – having had a very nervy Friday – really nail it – and its a great opening to the show. Different Words for Snow – with its new material – now has added extra depth and meaning. Aoife and Jainey pull out all the stops (especially considering the lack of time they have had rehearsing the show in the space with the backing track) and the Woodpigeon set is simply stunning. The Honeybear number is achingly beautiful. Only Murray struggles a little – a couple of awkward punters chatting throughout his set.

We grab a farewell drink in South Hill Parks bar. Despite the problems today its been fantastic having the space to explore and develop the material here – and SHP’s hospitality has been second to none. After a few fond farewells – and promises to do it all again – we head off into the night and into the tour.

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