Mama will be performing their 2016 show at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton, tomorrow night – Saturday 2nd April 2016!
Last Saturday we were at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale with an almost sell out crowd who gave us a standing ovation at the end of the show. Lots of new friends made and the good news is we will be returning in 2017. On that very subject we are working on some great venues for 2017. Several have already confirmed such as The Cavern, The Met in Bury and indeed Huntington Hall. We also have two shows lined up at The Floral Hall in New Brighton. We have a new venue in Gainsborough as we have had a lot of folk asking when we playing near the East coast in 2017.
Looking forward to all the shows this year including a first time visit to The Maltings in Farnham where you will all no doubt remember Genesis used to rehearse back in the “old days”. We are also in talks to bring Mama to mainland Europe with two shows in the planning stages for venues in Holland in early December this year so really looking forward to that.
Someone asked John W recently if it was “cool” being in a Genesis tribute band. “Cool and a lot of hard work!” he replied, which seemed to confuse the person who asked.
“But all you do is trundle up and play isn’t it?”
Clearly they didn’t know how hard we work as Phil Collins himself may have said at sometime, so in an effort to let you know how much work goes into a Mama show, here is what we did for the recent show at Huntington Hall.
Saturday 27th Feb 2016: 11:00 hrs
John W gets Bessie the band van from her den and loads in his equipment. He then checks and fuels the van and waits for Dave J to arrive with his equipment at 12:00. When Dave safely on board the next step is to collect band roadie and all round great guy Dave Broome. Onward to collect James C and load his drums into the van. We all set off around 12:45 and it is a two hour drive to the venue. Meanwhile Mark C has already been on the road for three hours from deepest darkest Norfolk stopping only for a quick snack and a peek at the girlie mags in the service station (that is a joke – actually he is more likely to be looking at photography magazines!). John C and Jan are also en route after loading his car with his keyboards and other equipment and Andrew and Jules won’t be far behind (Behind? Behind JC & Jan? Wash your mouth out Wilkinson! – Andrew).
Saturday 27th Feb 2016: 13:45 hrs
Bessie stops for a rest at a service station and the chaps grab a quick bite to eat. We call this, “breakfast!”
Saturday 27th Feb 2016: 15:00 hrs
We all arrive at the venue and guess what? No parking. All hands to battle stations as we frantically unload all the equipment into the venue. We then all try and find parking for three cars and a van while the rest of the none drivers set up their equipment in the venue which is a superb converted church.
Parking and equipment set up accomplished, we can start the sound check. This takes slightly longer than usual due to some “ghosts” in the keyboards and drum mics (we did hear later that the venue is supposed to be haunted!).
Saturday 27th Feb 2016: 18:00 hrs
Time for a quick chill as doors open at 19:30. The promoter has very kindly organised for us all to be fed and watered (a rare event we can tell you) and we all come back inside the venue around 19:30 just prior to doors opening.
Saturday 27th Feb 2016: 19:30 hrs
Quick change into stage wear and the show starts at 20:00 hrs, so there’s just long enough for James to warm up, Marko to panic, JC to fret about the ghosts in his keyboards and Dave to decide whether to wear his “first half” T shirt in the first half, or his “second half” T shirt. JW is just ambling around with his phone, sending messages on Facebook.
Saturday 27th Feb 2016: 20:00 hrs
The next three hours go by in a flash and even though the “ghosts” return after our 20 minute interval, stopping John’s main keyboard from working. Ouch! Everyone seems very happy and we get a superb cheer from the crowd. The promoter is happy. The crowd are happy and this of course means we are all happy. More than happy in fact. We loved it!
Saturday 27th Feb 2016: 23:00 hrs
Time to break down the equipment and venue load out takes until 01:00. Before we know it, we’re back on the M6 returning to our home base. Mark has a nice little five hour drive back to his home in Norfolk (yes we agree he must be mad to be in Mama) and JC and Andrew have approx a three hour drive back home. By the time we unload James’s drums and Bessie gets parked back in her den it is around 03:00 hrs. John W staggers up the wooden mountain to bed around 3:15 hrs (not true – I heard he opens the fridge door and when the light goes on, he does another 20 minute encore! These showbiz types eh? – Andrew).
So there you have it. Is it hard work? YES! Would we love an army of “crew” to do all this for us? YES! Is that going to happen anytime soon? NO! Do we all still love it despite all this? Hell YES!
Hope to see you at a Mama show soon. 🙂
Stop Press: JW decided to add a shed load more info to this post, so here we have the extra bits, which pretty much happen before a Mama show, not on the day. We like to publish things back to front. You may have noticed this before, with our Five Tracks Live CD release. 🙂
So let us take you though the process whereby Mama actually arrive at a venue near you. For the sake of this piece assume that John is looking to fill a date in 2017 today. Currently our diary is full to May 2017.
Finding Those Venues
John will contact a venue to see if they are interested in a Mama show in 2017. He sends out around 25 emails per week all over the UK. Most venues either do not respond or have too high a hire fee for the band to currently afford, however some will come back with interest. John will then suggest a date for the show to be scheduled in. The date will be checked against the Mama show diary which not only lists shows already booked, but also band members holidays and major events which can impact on possible ticket sales (the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for example). If the venue agree to the date, then this show will be pencilled into the diary, then either a percentage of door takings or hire fee is negotiated (very rarely do Mama get fixed fees). Contracts will usually be sent out, signed and returned within the first month.
The Technical Details
Mama have a tech rider which we send out to each venue which lists things like the equipment we use, dimensions of the stage set up, how we use the venue PA and lighting and other stuff too boring to mention here. 🙂
To Promote. Always to Promote!
The show will be put on our website and Facebook page and also we use Ents24 to inform folk about the show.
We keep in close contact with the venue monthly to see how advance sales are doing and we will send posters and flyers roughly three to four months before the show to allow the venue to promote. We always check that the venue is promoting as hard as we are by checking their website and Facebook page. It is fair to say that some of the previous venues we played were not so good at this, which is why they are now previous venues. 🙂 Sometimes a carefully worded email can work wonders with a venue, should they not be working as hard as we do on promotion. Most venues realise that the success or failure of the show is as dependent on them as it is us and are very good in this respect.
At The Last Minute
The final week before is always hectic as we have to arrange a load in time (which can sometimes change), make sure all our web based promotional duties have been done and make sure each band member has a set list and time to be ready for the journey to the venue etc.
All in all, a lot of work, even before we leave base for the show!