We asked 1710 drummer Alessia Mattalia to share her thoughts on the unique experience of gigging in Europe. Alessia, who played on Jeff Beck’s Grammy Award winning single HAMMERHEAD, plays several different genres of music and has a great perspective. We are happy to have her as a quest writer of our latest article. I look forward to your comments.
If you ask me to say what does it mean to gig in Europe, I will immediately tell you that one thing is a gig in Europe, another one is a gig in the UK. A gig in Europe is exactly what you expect a gig to be: arriving at the venue, unpacking your drums, assembling your set, soundcheck, eating (I can't play belly-pinched), gigging, autographs, usual things. All very similar to the States.
A gig in the UK (if you're from continental Europe) is another thing completely.
First, you arrive at the venue after having driven on the wrong side of the road; don't forget that side of the road is the right side for any Englishman. It's the kind of situation that puts you in the right mood for playing at your best, isn't it? You enter the venue and whether it's a spectacular theatre with a 100 meters squared stage or an obscure pub packed of drunken sailors, there is always an incredible audio system with stellar monitors, a digital mixer (I don't how many channels…surely more than 128) and a sound engineer worth of a place in the Hall of Fame of sound engineers. Crazy, isn't it?
Soundcheck, then you should eat, but you come from continental Europe, so you are not hungry because it's 5.30 PM. Suddenly you remember when you were strolling about the promenade of Cannes with your husband watching restaurants full of Englishmen eating at 6 PM when he said, “How can they have supper at tea break time?” 0k, I'll play belly-pinched. Gigging, autographs and the sound of a bell. No, it's not AC/DC “Hell's Bells”, it's just pub's bell that means “kitchen closed”. Now what? If your promoter lodged you in a good hotel, maybe you will be able to find two club sandwiches, something to drink, fruit, light but decent supper. If not, kebab is the word! Energetic and tasty, but enough to create massive disorders to your stomach if you have to keep eating them for an entire week.