Last night Andrew and I wrapped up our unsuccessful run in a battle-of-the-bands competition called The Duo, at Saskatoon’s Staqatto Lounge. I predicted in advance that we would be undone by the ’60s theme of Week Two, and that’s how it turned out.
We did Adelaide for Week One. We were pretty shaky, but good enough to get into the next round. (Actually, if we hadn’t entered into an ethically-dubious vote-sharing pact with another duo, we mightn’t have made it even that far.)
For Week Two we settled on the “Alabama Song” from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s opera Mahogonny – not strictly a ’60s song, but it was covered by the Doors.
We had six days to learn the song and come up with an original arrangement, and it never quite came together. We might have crept through to the next round if we’d made another pact, or if we’d goaded a few more friends and relations to come out and vote for us. But if the 19 supporters we managed to corral for Week Two weren’t enough to save us from elimination, it’s not like we had some untapped reservoir of fans who might have buoyed us through subsequent weeks.
So it’s okay. These battle-of-the-bands and open-mike gigs are kind of a pain anyway. First you have to pester all your friends to schlep out and pay the $5 cover charge to support you. Then you sit around forever waiting for your turn to play. Then you lug your equipment onstage, set up, and do a hasty soundcheck, all for the chance to do one or two songs.
I’m not saying we deserve better. But there’s a reason Andrew and I have spent most of the last decade playing in his empty basement. We’ve never cared much for hanging around bars, making small-talk with fellow musicians.
Given the dearth of alternative venues in Saskatoon, we’re probably stuck in the basement for a while. Hopefully we can come up with a new project to keep us busy. My girlfriend Liz has been joining us on keyboards on a couple numbers; the expanded lineup debuted at a friend’s wedding party last weekend, to modest acclaim from the half-dozen small children in attendance. Now we just have to put together a whole set and find someplace that will let us play. Suggestions?
PS. Now that we’re out of the running, I’m pulling for Jody and Kiera in The Duo. They’ve got the chops, and the good taste not to abuse them. Good luck, guys.