RAMfest: Flying Keyboards and Zebra Striped Skinnies…
Brother & Brother‘s much awaited performance at RAMfest 2014 went down this past Thursday night at the Carnival Stage. I had the privilege of wearing a pair of custom made trousers designed by my friend Cara Delport (for Black Stage Designs – her brand new costume design label). I’m the first person from a band or musical act to don one of her designs and rightly so, since the zebra striped skinny trouser she made me caught the eye of many a curious spectator. So much so, that I had a few wasted onlookers constantly chirping about the trouser during and after our set – which was very irritating for me, but ultimately very rewarding for Cara’s business. I constantly got referred to as ‘Zebra-Man’ or ‘Zebra & Giraffe’! Since uploading an image to Facebook of our performance the day after, Cara has already secured two interested parties – one of which is an electro band that just got nominated for a very prestigious award.
The ironic thing is that during the fitting process, there was worry that the skinny might break during the rock out sections of our set – what with it being too tight at first (which Cara later remedied) and so on.
I’ll assure you that it did not break in the least, what might be broken on the other hand is my keyboard! The Carnival Stage was so wobbly that during the highly energetic parts of our set, my keyboard stand would shake vigorously – not that I was paying too much attention to that during said rocking out. The problem with my keyboard is that it’s an entry level Yamaha E303 (which I bought when I knew absolutely nothing about piano playing) with virtually no real weight – no weighted keys, no heavy internal parts etc. With the result, everytime we would jump up and down or rock out to the max, the keyboard and stand would wobble. It was only during the performance of our new Jamiroquai inspired funk song that the keyboard slipped off its stand. I was lucky enough to catch it mid-flight and quickly hoist it back up with one hand while holding the stand steady with the other, but by then the intro to said song was already messed up! So, we had to start the song over – not a big train smash.
The big train smash came when immediately after, we played our last song The Fall – during which the keyboard went falling through the air! You see what happened was, we had rehearsed the most heavy rock out section in the last part of the song – which on my part included jumping, dancing and wild air-guitar jamming. It was during this section that the wobbly stage got the better of us! As soon as the rock out began WHOOPSIE went the keyboard, bang! By the time I returned to the keyboard stand for the last note of the song, only then did I realise the keyboard was face down on the floor. Luckily, it’s a pretty old instrument and has seen so much wear and tear over the years that I felt little pain for what had happened. Had it been a 20k Roland or 50k Nord stage piano, I would be mortified. Then again, those instruments are so weighted that their own centers of gravity make them sturdy enough so as not to fly into the oblivion at the fault of a wobbly stage.
What did suck though was that it must’ve looked really unprofessional from an audience perspective to see the keyboard go banging onto the floor like that. I heard a very audible laugh/gasp of embarrassment ripple through the audience when the keyboard slipped the first time. With the result, once we ended the set – all you heard was a clap here and there. Granted, we had about 30 people watching us but still it was quite painful.
I played at an event a few years ago where during the opening band’s set, the guitarist/lead singer tried to swing his guitar around his neck during his solo. As it came around, the guitar came loose of its strap and went flying through the air, landing head first into the floor. I was shocked, but what was probably worse was how the audience laughed at the poor guy. I felt his pain then, as I do now.
Now, to go see if my keyboard still works.