Saturday night I found myself at a pub in Wallerawang for a friend’s birthday. Wallerawang is a small town about 14km northwest of Lithgow (so Wikipedia tells me). All I know is that it is small and not at all what I am used to. At it’s busiest the pub had maybe 25 to 30 people inside, a big difference to pubs in Sydney that I am used to.
Anyway, the Commercial Hotel had a small stage and I noticed they were setting up for a band to play that night. Honestly, I was pretty sceptical about what was going to happen. My only thought was “how good could a band be that plays a pub in Wallerwang?” I was being rude, I know, and probably uppity, but I never said I was perfect. After they started though, I realised this, and my mind changed completely. I wish I could remember their name, or find it (I looked online, but had no luck) but maybe someone they know will see this and pass it along to the boys.
Currently Australia is caught up in the Soundwave excitement and so news of an unknown band playing a pub in some small country town is probably unimportant to most people. But there was something special about watching these guys play. This was my first small town live music experience, and I think I’ll remember it forever. These guys didn’t look like anything special. They didn’t dress up to play. They just played. They looked like the kind of guys who work hard all week, and just want to relax and play some music with their friends, and hopefully entertain a few people while they are at it.
They played covers. Old rock songs from the ’70s and ’80s. When they started the only people on the dance floor were four toddlers who were at least rocking out and having a great time. That didn’t matter to the guys on stage (really wish I knew their name). They still played as hard as they would if they were playing a show at Sydney Entertainment Centre. Eventually some of the older patrons got up and had a good time singing and dancing along to the classics they were playing.
There was nothing pretentious about this show, and I think that’s what made it so special. As everyone is swept up in the Soundwave storm, it’s easy to forget that live music doesn’t have to be all about the glitz and glamour. Sure, making decent money and playing to large crowds would be amazing for any musician, but not everyone is that lucky and sometimes it’s just about playing. It wasn’t about how many tickets were sold (it was free), or how many people they played for. It was just about doing what they love. They played songs requested by those in the pub even though they had never played them together before. They sang my friend happy birthday purely because I asked. You don’t get that kind of interaction at large scale events.
Festivals aren’t really my thing anyway. Too many lines, and let’s be honest too many people. Sometimes I just want to sit down, relax, have a drink and enjoy live music without being pushed or hit (yeah, yeah it’s all part of the experience, but I’m small and mosh pits really aren’t for me), and that’s what I got. It was a down to earth gig and a new experience for me.
So, thank you band whose name I may never know and sorry for being so judgemental before you even started.