Words by Andrew Mullen of Pacing The Cage.
As I walked down the icy Melbourne street, the wind tunnelled through the alleyways like ghosts playing tag through the carcass of a whale… ok, a bit dramatic, but it was cold and wet. I was nervous and my brain was completely scattered from the excitement!
My name is Andrew, and I am the guy who stands in the middle of the stage, sings and plays guitar for Pacing The Cage. It is an absolute pleasure to be able to give you just a little bit of insight, from my point of view, of a recent gig.
Before this show, it had been a manic few months for the band. This was our first official gig playing songs from our debut album Intox.
In all honesty, we were being spoiled that night. It was after all, The Evelyn Hotel in Melbourne and we were supporting one of our favourite Aussie bands, RACKETT.
Like a puppy running to greet their owner, I entered the Evelyn Hotel excited, anxious and ready to roll over to anyone who looked my way. I think that by the time we had loaded our gear into the green room, my nerves had evolved into a ‘psycho killer’ calm – anything could happen!
The key thing I had to keep reminding myself was that all I had to do was get to the first riff of the first song and the natural stage performance I was used to would follow. All the anxiety would be released and the pre-show nerves forgotten. The band is well rehearsed; Leigh (Drums, Vocals), Luka (Bass) and Alex (Guitar) are experienced performers and excellent musicians. I had great confidence that once we kicked off, we would click into the groove, lift each other up and do what we do best.
As an alternative rock band, there’s no such think as a warm up song. We aim to bring high energy from the get go and we refuse to give the audience the opportunity to get distracted by an empty beer glass, a full bladder or by a performer’s worst nightmare… conversation! The songs from Intox are laden with dirty riffs, thundering drums, towering vocals and equally incendiary lyrics. Needless to say, I was mentally preparing myself for a barrage of rock music from the very start.
Showtime! 8:15pm! It was time to go, well, nearly. “Where the hell is Alex?” Leigh asked me. You wouldn’t believe it, but as the rest of us got on the stage, Alex was standing at the bar looking back at us! Ha ha, after some rather ‘motivating’ words, he was on his way. Ok, let’s go…. argh dammit! “Now where has Alex gone?” This time he was on the other side of the room having a chat! Nothing like working the crowd before a show! With further coaxing, he joined us on stage ready to blast the first song for the night. So I had almost made it, one final mental reminder that that once the first note is played, it would all be downhill! Or so I thought!
As we opened with our current single Thrill Pill, two things happened. First, a table full of beer glasses was knocked over and second, my microphone started to droop on the stand making it impossible to sing and play guitar at the same time. The crashing glasses I could handle, the microphone on the other hand was a bit more challenging. For a good part of Thrill Pill, I battled with the microphone like I was trying to prop a drunkard up against the wall. In the end I had to settle on the fact that if it was twisted as upside down, it at least held its shape!
Who said musicians were over dramatic? Ha! In hindsight, the drama that seemed to go on forever was only a few small hiccups. Apart from these moments of madness, the gig was an absolute riot. I enjoyed every bit. Sure I forgot to use the notes written on the set list to guide me between songs, sure I made mistakes, but being able to engage with the crowd – which for me, is what a live performance was all about – made all the little whoopsies insignificant.
The pinnacle of the night was playing our upcoming single Your Love My Love. The song is closely aligned with White Ribbon Australia and we had just announced that proceeds of the album would go towards supporting White Ribbon’s fight against domestic abuse. Your Love My Love is about the bullies we may have in our lives. These bullies may be very close to us, but no matter how much we love them, this love is not worth saving. The song felt like it had an extra charge running through it that night!
For Pacing The Cage, our focus now turns to our album launch showcase. The launch is at the Northcote Social Club on the 29th of September. You can buy tickets now, but be quick because the venue tells me they are selling quick. If you are in Melbourne, it would be great to see you there. And please, don’t be a stranger, come and have a chat!
You can also grab a copy of our debut album Intox here and join all of our exclusive behind-the-scenes fun… you might even win a guitar!
Big hugs to you all!