Glad the season is starting to wind down!
We've been going through some struggles all year and been having a tough time pushing through them. Most of them have involved the front line. We replaced one of the female vocalists at the beginning of the year, and while Sarah is a great singer and a great person to have in the band, adding her created some problems I wasn't really anticipating:
Her voice is naturally much higher than both Tiffany's and the singer she replaced. It made no sense to have her continue to sing lower than Tiffany. But rearranging the vocal parts was easier said than done. Tiff's not a natural hamonizer, and having her learn new parts was a struggle. Often she'd learn the right part, we'd rehearse it, think it was set, and then on stage under the "pressure" of the live moment, she'd start singing something else. Agonizingly frustrating. But we're finally getting all that locked in. 90% of the way there. Ugg!
An additional problem is that Tiffany did some damage to her voice at some point last year. She's been sounding very hoarse all year and at a few gigs has completely blown her voice out. She obviously needs to see a doctor about this but getting her to go has been a struggle. But it's caused some serious problems and tensions at the gigs. Last show was particularly bad. At this point it's about limping through the rest of our season and then seeing what next year brings. Right now our options are: have Sarah take over almost all the leads and not have as many harmony vocals on stuff or see if our previous singer is interested in filling for the remaining shows either replacing Tiffany or using all 3 girls. All those options have big pluses and minuses.
And also, I think largely due to the tensions of the first two issues, the backline hasn't been gelling as well as we are used to. Lots of arguments over tempo and groove, some guys have been drinking too much at the shows....yikes! You would think a lot of this stuff should get easier as people get older, but it doesn't.
On the bright side though---none of this seems to be really apparent out front. We haven't had a single show all year where the response wasn't fantastic. Including a couple of times where we were standing around going "how in the world could anyone have liked THAT????" But, for whatever reason, they have. Whether it's due to our ability to still put on a fun show regardless, drunk audiences, or simple blind luck---probably a combination of all three---we're getting through this stuff.
The most extreme example was a show we played a few weeks ago that was just horrid. We were outside in 95 degree heat, playing and singing horribly, and as a result all at each other's throats. After completing our four hour show, we're all of the "f*ck this!" mindset. And then the client comes up and asks us what will it take for us to do another hour. Nobody wants to play another song, let alone another set, so we look at each other and--hoping it will turn him away--say "wow, it's been a really long hot day. We couldn't do another set for anything less than $600." He comes back 5 minutes later with a check for $700.....and the dancefloor was packed and the applause was loud.
Go figure. I can't explain a lot of this stuff. I'm just glad we're getting through it ok. And looking forward to a few weeks off to get things back to at least where we were in 2012.