The TrainWreck – What happens when preparation is lacking
Early this year I wrote a post about the importance of preparation, highlighting that rehearsing should be the cornerstone of any self respecting performer’s routine. I shared some scenarios that happened in the Yung Shottaz days which informed us of the need to make sure we are always ready for every show we book. Prior to each show, we go hard for the month leading up to the gig and ramp up our rehearsals in the final 2 week run up. This approach has served us well as we have been on point in our last few sets as the Shottaz. Unfortunately, I dropped the ball quite recently when featuring on one of my bro’s sets. The gig was a big one, and it was on a big enough platform that I needed to step up with my A-game. However, I took a huge leap backwards on this occasion which was extremely depressing.
Biting off more than one can chew
When the bro booked this gig he hit me up immediately to see if I could jump on stage with him for his set. I didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity as I always try to support the fam when possible. The added benefit of doing this gig from my perspective was that I would get the chance to showcase the Shottaz brand on a different platform. I have to point out that the bro hit me up about the set about a month ahead of the actual gig date, which is great as it would afford me ample to time to get into my peak zone come event night. Unfortunately, this month has been one of the most hectic months for me this year. We were putting in work on the recently released SB.Shottaz mixtape, which was taxing on all fronts. We were also deep into production of the video for our upcoming single ‘Body’ organizing locations, extras etc. There are a few other upcoming content streams that I was engrossed in to the point that my bro’s gig completely fell off my radar. Don’t get me wrong, none of the above is a good enough excuse to forget about an important engagement, especially if you are a professional. That said, I’m ashamed to admit that I completely forgot that I had committed to featuring on the bro’s set, which is an unforgivable sin.
D-Day – The build up
On the day of the gig, I woke up feeling upbeat looking forward to a big night out. The All Blacks were facing the Wallabies in the Bledisloe cup decider, and I was going to catch up with some mates to watch the ABs dominate. After the game, I had convinced the whole group to attend the gig so we could all show love to the bro. At this stage, the fact that I had committed to performing at this gig hadn’t registered to me at all. I met up with my peeps, we enjoyed the game, and eventually made our way to the gig. I must point out that by the time we hit the venue only 2 out of 6 people were still standing. The rest of the crew had fallen off due to over consumption of alcohol. I was no exception in terms of being drunk but I was determined to attend the gig so I pressed on. Upon arrival, I announced to the bro that I was drunk and only when he reacted by being utterly disappointed did I realize that I had dropped the ball somehow. I asked if he expected me to be on stage and you can guess the response I received…
A high definition, cinematic train-wreck
After finding out that I was indeed supposed to be taking the stage in a matter of moments, I panicked. To this day I believe that showing up drunk was not my biggest mistake of the night, how I handled the situation was the most regrettable part. The bro asked me candidly if I was okay to perform and I confidently confirmed, first mistake. The mate I went to the gig with then kindly offered to buy me drink which I readily accepted and proceeded to drink as if everything was normal, second mistake. Before going on stage, the bro performing came around to ask if we should cut the song we were meant to do together to ensure I wasn’t fully exposed and I ASSURED him that I could manage the full song, third mistake. The bro started off the set and proceeded to light the place on fire with his high energy set. He got the energy rising at a constant rate and after about 4 songs of perfection, it was my time to shine. What ensued was one of the most embarrassing displays in my entire music career. I can only think of one other performance that was nearly as bad, my first EVER gig. The best way I can describe my showing on the night is it was a train-wreck of epic proportions that Michael Bay would be proud of. As I write this, I can vividly see the faces in the front row as they went from screaming and hollering in anticipation of our song, to confusion as they began to realize what was happening, eventually turning to pure disgust when all was said and done. Kudos to the bro for taking all this in his stride and delivering the rest of his set without any further glitches, despite my terrible showing.
The situation on this fateful night isn’t new to me, but there are always lessons that can be taken away from such situations. In this case, I realized the importance of managing my calendar more efficiently. It is completely unacceptable to confirm a gig and then forget about your involvement in said gig, regardless of how big or small your contribution is. When the schedule starts to get a bit crazy, it’s often a good idea to take on management, or at least get some help to ensure you stay on top of things. The main thing I learnt is to stay clear of the microphone when you are too intoxicated. The minute people start asking you if you are okay to perform, it is usually a good indicator that you are not. I’m one of those people that can jump on the mic and MC regardless of the state I’m in, but performing written songs is quite different to free-styling and creating vibes on the spot. Lesson learnt.