This is the first post in a series that will chronicle the efforts of blues band The Blueswater as they put together and perform their show 'Blues!' at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe. 'Blues!' showcases 90 years of blues music in 60 minutes.
As Scotland's biggest blues band (at full strength we are a 12 piece outfit) it will never be the easiest thing making sure that all components of the show are smoothly coordinated.
I have just been able to book a rehearsal space for our merry crew, after many panicked calls that were left for too long to be made.
We had a space! We lost the space! We know a guy who knows a guy who can get us a space!
Panic sets in. Phone numbers are gathered. The charm is cranked up to the maximum, and it feels as if I've talked to everyone who might have some kind of room. But finally we've cracked through, and found something large and comfy in the south of town, next to a bunch of laboratories at the University of Edinburgh. And even better, we have it free.
It has been a similar odyssey with our publicity, rounding out the band with some extra members, and drafting and sending press releases to everyone and their mother. The effort has lasted months and feels endless.
But it's worth it. We have a fabulous show in a fabulous location on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh's busiest street. Last year, 'Blues!' managed a feat that is rare for a Fringe show with a 100-seat theatre; we made our money back plus a small profit in our first year. This year we've managed to cut costs so we hope that we can make even more money, and feed all of us starving artists.
The band has tightened up in the last year as well, so the sound should be better than before. We've got an ambitious song selection to match. But as rehearsal time gets closer, it's a little nerve-wracking. I have to do my best to practice and get my voice sounding as powerful as singers such as B.B King and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, every night for 23 nights, and for extra gigs outside the show as well. Charlie Wild (his real name!), our guitarist, has to learn solos by guitarists from Clapton to Hendrix to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Similar technical challenges arise for all our musicians. We'll find out soon enough how well it will all come together...