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‘Ode To The Smartphone - running a professional party band from a touchscreen

‘Ode To The Smartphone - running a professional party band from a touchscreen

 

The smartphone has become such an important part of our day-to-day lives that, for the most part, they are taken for granted. Gone are the days where a mobile phone used to be just for phone calls, text messages and playing countless games of snake. These days there are thousands of applications available for them that help us with our busy daily lives. The smartphone can be a very effective tool to organise and run a professional corporate and party band like Goosebumps. Armed with a mobile charging lead and mains plug, let’s just see how many times we need to reach for our phone.

Band member in suit with phone
"You want to jam with us on your bagpipes? Of course you can..."

 

This isn’t going to be an exercise in discussing which type of smartphone is best for the job - half of the internet is already dedicated to this on-going debate. Whether it be Android or iOS, Nexus, Samsung, or iPhone, it doesn’t matter as ultimately any will achieve the same goals for being able to conveniently and successfully run a professional performing live band.

Booking Enquires -

Any direct booking enquiry that we receive through our own band website will be either as a phonecall - expertly handled by our lead singer Mark - or by email of which will be answered by yours truly. In both cases, our phones allow us to offer a very quick response, especially as mine tends to pretty much surgically attached to me 24/7. Whether it be a quote enquiry, a booking confirmation, or to run through the final timings a day before the wedding, we can guarantee that you'll hear back from us within a matter of hours, offering you the confidence that we are always easily reachable. Oh and the venue need us to email through our PAT test and public liability certificates - no problem, they’re on their way.

Travelling to the gig -

So we've got all the details for our gig planned out on our shared band calendar that the five of us in the band have access to on our phones. Now it's time to travel to the venue ready for our performance. If the event is not in our local county of Kent then we will tend to convene at one of our homes and travel together in our band van. Of course being a professional wedding band we need to make sure that we arrive at the venue at the agreed time and what better way to do this than use a sat nav on one of our phones to work out our arrival time for us. We’ve had a lot of success with Google Maps recently - particularly when driving through London where we have been initially puzzled by some of the, what we like to call, ‘jazz routes’. “Hang on, it’s telling us to turn left! Really? Surely not!” will be the usual chant in the van as we are sent down some random back street, only for us to subsequently realise that the Sat Nav has successfully managed to circumnavigate us around a major delay on one of the main routes into the city. 

International Travel -

Passport, check. Sunglasses, check. Oh hang on, where’s my boarding pass? Gone are the days of fumbling through luggage side-pockets and compartments, trying to find that crumpled bit of paper that has our boarding passes on. Airlines allow you to check in online 24 hours before departure and then offer the option to email the pass, keeping it safely stored as a digital barcode. A quick swipe on the screen will reveal the boarding pass and is immediately ready for airport staff to scan. International gig, here we come. 

At The Gig -

With the huge variety of venues that we play at, what better way to share the experience than on social media. A few quick pictures taken with the phone camera and then they can go straight to upload directly to the Goosebumps FaceBook and Twitter page. 

Here are some example shots from our camera phones:

 

View From Stage At Faversham Hop Festival
View From Stage At Faversham Hop Festival

 

Goosebumps in Cyprus RAF AkrotiriAt RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Spot the helicopter

 

View of London - corporate gig at Bar Altitude
View of London - corporate gig at Bar Altitude

 

For no extra charge, we like to offer the option of playing pre-recorded music through our PA system between our performance. If the budget of the client doesn’t allow for the addition of a DJ between our sets then we can help out by keeping the party atmosphere going all night long while we have a quick break. We can play a music playlist from one of our phones through our PA and using an automated DJ app will ensure that the start and end of each tune is blended nicely between each other to avoid a few seconds of awkward silences on the dance floor. The only thing it won’t do is talk over the tracks like some DJ’s do. “What did he just say?”

For the musicians that play stringed instruments in the band, (guitar and bass) it is paramount that we remain in tune throughout the gig. We have floor-mounted tuning pedals for the stage for during our performance but if we need to check our tuning pre-show, it is so much easier to just launch a guitar tuner app on our phones to quickly double check the tuning backstage, knowing that we can simply walk on stage and start the first song straight away. 

“Do you guys play….?” -

Many times we have been asked if we can play a certain song that isn’t in our repertoire. Of course we need to have some prior recollection of the song in question so that we have a vague idea of how it goes and then all we need are a few chord prompts and we’ll happily play it. So, let’s say someone asks us if we can play a version of Come Fly With Me so that they can sing it with us, or want us to play a version of Wonderwall by Oasis in F# so that Uncle Jim can jam over the top with his bag pipes (yes, this actually happened) then out come our phones once again and we’ll load up the iRealb app of which has countless jazz standards amongst many other popular tunes. Check the key, after 4 everybody….

The return journey -

For those of you that don’t get travel sick, like Nick our drummer, then you can also watch a movie on the way back for some entertainment in the van going back home. I tried this idea once by pre-loading a movie on my phone but alas, could only get about 20 minutes into it before feeling really travel sick. It probably didn’t help that the film in question was Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks - great movie but most of the film is set at sea. And some of it in a lifeboat where the camera work is deliberately shaky to give you that queasy choppy-waves feel. Needless to say I turned the movie off and just listened to some music for the rest of the journey that, of course, I had on my phone.

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