Our day started with a focus on that infamous finally that needed work the night before. After a few runs, I think we have it. The lyrics are sorted … the rhythms are being ironed out … people know their entries. It should be a great finish to the show.
The venue is sensational. I wasn’t expecting Wests League Club to be so huge. You could feel that the numbers were starting to heat up here, with bands performing in the main bar throughout the day, whilst we set our levels in the big showroom next door. I know that there are a few different events which are happening during the festival here, so I’ve picked up a festival membership for just $6. I always like being part of the team.
With just under a couple of hours before, everyone is making a real effort to pretty themselves up for the big event. I spent most of my time working on charts for the Aristocrat and CCMA National Talent Quests happening during the festival, so didn’t get too much time to beautify myself. It wasn’t really a big issue, as all I really needed to do was flick on jeans, a shirt, my cap, and some deodorant. 5 minute set up. No fake tan or artificial lashes required like the ladies.
As we enter the big room, there is a strong sense of anticipation. People are excited to showcase what they have been able to achieve during the Academy. It was sensational to see my dear friends Matthew McNeilly, and his lovely wife Amelia from Neillyrich. I haven’t had a laugh with both of them in so long since Matt made the move to Australia from New Zealand a couple of years ago.
SHOWTIME! Everyone nails it. Everyone hits the harmonies, lyrics, and much more to a 400+ audience. My version of “Like A Cowboy” was so well received, that heaps of people congratulated me out front during the intermission and after the show. I have to say that there are sampling too many people to thank for making the night as epic as it was. First and foremost to my family in TeamKB … your passion and drive made working towards this event an absolute breeze. To all the performers this year, you are all so talented, and I look forward to performing alongside every single one of you again. To the band, words can’t describe how much you mean to all of us. Please know that everyone appreciates all the hours of playing that you have done to support us with a wall of awesome sound. To everyone who helped put the show together (side stage, back stage, MCing, front of house, etc.), we couldn’t have put a show like this on without all your help. To all the visition tutors/speakers/co-writers/etc, your wealth of knowledge and experience has shaped us all. Lastly, to Lyn, Roger, and the very talented tutors, Cathy, Karl, KB and Simon … I know that everyone has loved the complete experience of the CMAA Academy Of Country Music, and will miss you dearly when we return to our home towns. I know that I will be making the effort to stay in contact with all of you, and return the favour to you in some way or other. We all love you to bits (said with a kiwi accent especially for Dobe).
After the show, Andrew, Sonic, and I cruised into The Albert … a bar in town with a jam night set up (thanks to Aleyce Simmonds). Unlike any other jam night I’ve been to, it seemed that everyone had their own bands to back them. WOW … there is so much musical talent in this place. I got asked to do a spot, and filled the floor with a couple of drinking anthems (With Or Without You, and Working Class Man). Andrew jumped on guitar with some lead, Simon Johnson (#TeamSimon) fattened the sound with some bass work, which was supported by a highly talented drummer (I think someone said his name was “Sticks”). Performing my high energy sounds in a room full of immense talent was incredibly special, and to be recognised, approached, and commended for your work by talented people in the industry.
Just one more day (and show) to go before I say goodbye to my CMAA family. I’m almost choking up just thinking about it.