The cat’s out of the bag

8Foot Felix - in our backyard
My housemate’s band 8Foot Felix launched their EP on Friday night – a triumph for feline-related music, excessive use of red light and pirate outfits.

The gig at Northcote’s 100-year-old Regal Ballroom was awesome, almost as good as the after party at our house, where the band’s ‘rum tum crew’ congregated to toast the success.

I was backstage as the guys were cheered off and the looks on their faces as they came into the green room were priceless.

There must be almost nothing like the feeling of euphoria after you’ve nailed a performance in front of a big crowd in your formative time as a band.

It actually brought on a strong case of de ja vu. The setting was totally different, as was the musicianship, but I reckon the feeling was almost exactly the same.

The year was 1994 and our high school band, Mouldy Cheese, was quickly rising to prominence.

We were coming off our most successful gig to date – playing to several disinterested farmers at the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall in the local village of Greenethorpe – but we were clearly ready for the bigger stage.

Our focus turned to auditions for the high school’s annual ‘variety night’. We rehearsed feverishly in the bass player’s garden shed, causing permanent hearing damage to his sister’s pet rabbit, but we made the cut.

On the night I remember being so nervous back stage I thought I was going to be sick. I was about to belt out Choirboys classic ‘Run to Paradise’ in front of all my fellow students, their parents and our teachers – none of whom had ever heard me sing before.

The silence as I walked to the microphone was deafening – it was as if the whole crowd was thinking; ‘Is that Walmsley? What the hell is he doing?’

Then we started playing. By the end of the first verse I had gained enough confidence to remove the microphone from the stand.

After the lead guitarist nailed his solo, I put everything I had into the finale. There may even have been a couple of pelvic thrusts toward the end.

We finished, the appluse was appreciative rather than rapturous (which I put down to the parents not knowing the song and kids being too cool to clap), but I felt absolutely awesome.

We high fived back stage and when I walked back into the crowd I was being clapped on the back by everyone – I even got a nod of ‘respect’ from one of the cool kids sitting on the gym mats in the corner.

I’ve never experienced another feeling like it and I hope that memory will stay with me forever.

Today I’m a great appreciator of music rather than an exponent, and musicians (or artists) are among my favourite subjects when it comes to photography.

They’re creative people, so they generally understand where you’re coming from, and will often run with an idea that seems to come from left field to get a more interesting image.

If you’re in Melbourne I recommend you get along to see the crazy cats from 8Foot Felix – their blend of ‘blues-inspired sea shanties with gypsy polka and piratical funk’ is not to be missed.

It’s simply impossible not to have fun at one of their gigs.

Like their Facebook page and you’ll be kept abreast of their upcoming gigs.

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