I have heard it said that some of the best musicians are perfectionists, that way the audience will always be guaranteed a first-class performance.
What nonsense. Sure, public performance is required to be accurate but there’s a big difference between precision and perfection. No performance can ever be ‘perfect’ because artists’ interpretations are subjective.
This was proved last night. Having seen Traveller Blues Band’s from their conception, it was easy to see in their early gigs that they thought their listeners would judge them as harshly as they judged themselves. Of course this is totally incorrect, in general audiences just want a recognisable tune they can sing, dance or clap along to. The majority are not technical enough to know if every note, chord or drum beat is in the correct key and comes in at the right time, their only concern is that the music is not out of tune.
Last night, Traveller were playing at the Tajinaste restaurant and everything that could possibly go wrong did – halfway through the band’s rendition of What a Beautiful Day, Whiskey broke a guitar string, as he desperately tried to replace it, the rest of the band just jammed along and the audience joined in filling in the gaps with their own version of
….. I’m the king of all time,
And nothing is impossible,
In my all powerful mind.
Shortly into the second set the batteries faded in the wireless guitar system so a bit more fumbling but no excuses just jokes and wisecracks from Mad Dog … Hey sh** happens! And the crowd appreciated that while these guys are great musicians they are after all just like the rest of us, but perhaps more talented.
As everyone knows, things come in threes and it was no different for Traveller. The bar was hot; everyone had lots of drinks except the band who probably all had dry mouths. As the final set opened the trumpet came out. A dry mouth doesn’t sound so bad for most people, but for a trumpet player it is disastrous and yep that was it. But no worries, the crowd were feeling really relaxed the atmosphere was like a huge family affair with everyone laughing and joking with the band. The former perfectionist image had gone; replaced these days with the self assured Traveller, albeit with the very high standard of music that is getting them recognised worldwide. These guys now know each other well enough to accept the unexpected, have the growing confidence to laugh at themselves and this easy going style along with their fabulous music is probably the reason why their fan club is growing so rapidly.