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Friday, September 30, 2011

Before You Die, You Gotta Play This Gig

Hi there,
Reverbnation just published the results of a survey on the venues where most artists want to perform. Top of the heap in New York? Madison Square Garden. Number one in LA? Whiskey a Go Go. Top dog in London? Wembley Stadium. No surprises there.

That would be that place in Sydney? It's not necessarily the biggest venue that holds the most appeal for everyone. For me, it was always The Basement - Sydney's iconic Circular Quay venue. It's dark but classy. It's the kind of place you could turn up and always know you'll see really good live music. Audiences know that and so artists on that stage always seem to be treated with respect. If Prince is coming to town with his stadium tour, he'll make sure he has time for a secret gig at The Basement. 

I have seen countless gigs at The Basement and I had always dreamed of playing there myself one day. I remember one night, quite a few years ago hanging out after watching a show there. Another singer girlfriend and I knew some of the guys in the band so we stayed on with them playing pool, after the rest of the audience had gone home.  

After quite a few drinks, my friend and I decided to explore. We snuck away from the rest of the group with a cigarette lighter showing our path through the now darkened stage area. With mischievous grins to each other (because I wasn't the only one who had always wanted to be on that stage) we opened the door to the backstage area. We marvelled at this cavern of gig posters and outrageous graffiti. After a few excited moments in the artists' den we decide that since we'd gone this far...we spotted the hole in the wall that led to the actual stage and giggling like schoolgirls, rushed each other to go through to the other side. When we got there we paused for a few moments in revered silence then jumped up and down (I believe there was some tap dancing and other Young Talent Time-style choreography) with absolute glee. We had been on the Basement stage!!
The Basement may well always be at the top of my heap. By the way, yes I did get to legitimately perform there - in fact I'm lucky enough to do so regularly, and on each occasion I still relive a bit of the thrill of that very first time.

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