14 August 2010 Saturday
Stew had to do a jingle before we headed off to our other gig tonight. The jingle business has been busy all August.
So I spent the morning sitting in the bar talking to some of the men from last night.
In particular got talking to one chap, I think his name was Gary. He was from Geelong, Victoria originally, but ended up in Top Springs and has been here for 8 years. He's heading off to Darwin to stay there for a year or two. Apart from talking about his travel experiences he also warned me to flush my toilet before I sat on it because there are frogs and toads under the bowl and if there are frogs and toads there are snakes too. Well sure enough I went to the loo and there were a couple of frogs under the bowl!
Our experience here in Top Springs has been wonderful. Everyone is so friendly. Our next destination was 25 ks down a dirt road from Top Springs. Pauline had organised for us to play at a Camp Draft at a property called 'Pussy Cat'. This was almost like a festival atmosphere but involving the competition between different horse riders on their skills of cattle mustering.
We drove for about an hour and couldn't find it - nearly ran out of petrol - came back to Top Springs hotel and double checked our info. We took the wrong road : )
Try again, this time taking the correct route. On the way through we noticed the scattered glass over the road where the accident took place last night.
The landscape in the bush - I think these are ant hills
The people who had the accident yesterday were part of the camp draft so we weren't too sure if when we got there, they would cancel our show. So we would have to wait and see. There is no reception or phone's around here so we had to drive there to find out.
This is real cattle country: massive cattle stations and nothing in between. It's really dry and dusty on these gravel roads, I'm finding it really difficult to breath, my nose gets blocked all the time and my voice is suffering because of it.
We finally found 'Pussy Cat' and saw all the big trailers and horse trucks. Stew and I felt like fish out of water in our little 'hippie-van". I get the feeling these people would not want to hear 'Gypsy soul', but we'll wait and see. Pauline told us to ask for Tinky on arrival. We found her and asked her what the situation was and if she still wanted us to play and she said "Too right we want you to play" ... and that was that.
The place we were playing at was basically a huge paddock with an open shed for shelter. It was all gravel and dirt. We put our picnic rug down and set up our equipment on that.
We played through that gate up in that shed
It was an 8 pm start for us and there were lots of young people (in their 20's) real cowgirls and cowboys. This was Acubra hat and shirt-tucked-into-jeans country. I've never seen so many acubra's in the one place in my life.
Ron from last night at the pub said that Top Springs was once actually the top selling place for Acubra's in the whole of Australia.
We decided we'd do one original then one cover for the first set and see how it goes down. The response was luke-warm. In one of my songs "Green", I mention "god damn contry songs!", Stew called out to me just before I sang that line "don't mention god damn country", so I quickly mumbled some other line to replace it. After the first set, it was obvious, these people just wanted to dance and hear songs they already know. They're not out to hear new music. Once I swallowed my pride, I agreed to Stewart's suggestion of doing mostly covers, so that we could get out of there alive ... we didn't dare tell them we were vegetarian. There were even a few people with T-shirts saying 'Vegetarian - means can't hunt, can't fiah and can't ride'.
So, we decided to bring out all the golden oldies songs in the second set - Elvis, Johnny Cash and the Eagles. Unfortunately I only know 5 cover songs, so Stewart spent the whole night singing, with me holding on for grim death with the harmony's to songs I didn't know. I belted the hell out of the tambourine to make up for it. My finger was bleeding from enthusiasm (or was it fear) and Stew was having flashbacks back to the 80's where he used to make a living doing these sorts of gigs.
By the third set the place was packed and everyone was up dancing. The one drawback of them dancing was that we were on gravel and everyone was kicking up dust as they danced right in front of us. We were performing and trying to sing with a haze of dust in the air - and in our throats. The dust was worse than inhaling cigarette smoke.
Stew had an orange tinge on his face, god knows what I looked like.
Some boot scooting
They had such a great time, Tinky asked if we could play one more set. In this set there was more dancing, more dust and a bloke name Gary who came up to sing a couple of country songs with Stew - yee hah!
Personally, this wasn't a very satisfying gig for me as an originals artist. I managed to squeeze in 6 of my original songs in a 4 hour set. I wouldn't like to do too many of these gigs, but the experience of playing at a camp draft was great.
This gig was hard work, but the people were really friendly and polite and very appreciative of our music - and luckily they requested all songs that Stew knew - phew :)
15th August 2010.
The camp draft competition started at 7 am this morning. We got up to have a look at what was happening. These people work hard and play hard. They were up until after midnight drinking and dancing and throwing each other around and then at 7 in the morning they're up riding horses like The Man from Snowy River.
This was a fantastic experience to have.
We dropped back to the Top Springs Hotel and Pauline had heard some great feedback about our show at the Camp Draft. She said she'd love to have us anytime we drop by. So that was nice ... I might have to brush up on my Dolly Parton songs.....You never know.
Heading back to Katherine today, on our way to Darwin. Internet and Mobile phones and electricity....civilisation : )
ahhh - after the gig