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Practice, performance, and patience

Thursday 30 December in Entertainment

Earlier this season local Manx band Voodoo Bandits supported You Me at Six during their visiting gig at the Villa Marina – Islandlife caught up with them to find out more about the gig, future shows and what it’s like playing in the Isle of Man and the UK.

What did it feel like to perform alongside a well-known UK band?

Pretty dang cool! Weirdly, we didn’t get nervous - maybe because we’re so used to playing on the Isle of Man or at the Villa Marina as we play there quite a bit and are friendly with the team nowadays. But it felt so good to do a proper gig using the proper sound system you’d find at bigger concerts and festivals etc. It’s unreal to perform in front of the artist you’ve grown up with. We got to have a drink with them afterwards too which was awesome.

What was the highlight of performing at the You Me at Six show?

Just being able to play! We love seeing the crowd enjoy our songs and I love getting into character onstage – the atmosphere is great.

Given the coronavirus pandemic stopped live music, is it nice to be back performing on Island and in the UK?

So much! We’ve just played a lot of shows the past few months, mostly in Manchester, but also Liverpool and Portsmouth. It feels great to get back out there and perform in front of live audiences.

What have you learnt about performing?

The crowd can vary so much! Sometimes it’s a little awkward and other times they're great. We never know what we’re going to get so we just have to roll with everything that comes our way and do our best regardless.

Is it more challenging being based on Island, than in the UK, where the music industry is more developed/larger?

To a point yes. Sometimes we struggle as there's a limited number of venues that allow us to play original music as a lot ask for covers. The most readily available and majority of the Island’s live music is made up of unticketed 2–3-hour pub/bar gigs, and we usually have to bring our own sound system and be our own sound techs. In the UK every gig we've done has a sound system and sound engineer at both big and small venues. I think for a lot of Manx bands like us find ourselves playing cover songs over the weekend, just to fund the band.

But this is also a positive about the Isle of Man, it's a really good way to fund your band, and a few other bands like us do this too, and the music industry is none the wiser to the weddings, and corporate events you play!

Can’t travelling away to perform be quite expensive?

Yes! We have to plan in advance a lot more, book the boat and arrange accommodation etc and it becomes a seven-day trip that costs a lot more money! Living on an Island does make it more challenging to play away. It’s not like being in a band in Manchester or Nottingham where you can drive 30 mins down the road to a gig and be part of the UK industry.

Does performing across in the UK differ to the Isle of Man? Are the audiences different?

Yes and no! We’ve found that audiences across are different to over here because they are used to bands playing their own music. We’ve found that UK audiences are more used to seeing small "up and coming" type bands than over here, and there’s always several original gigs happening on the same road in the city on one night!

We’ve had gigs in the UK where we're on early on the bill for the night and the room hasn't filled yet and people are a bit awkward, but we’ve also had that same scenario and they've been amazing. It's the exact same for the Isle of Man as you don't know how awesome the crowd will be till you start playing. We were really happy when we did our Villa Marina headline – the Manx crowd were so easy to interact with and had a great vibe!

When do you know if they like your music?

You can tell because they start dancing and singing! And if they do, they're there because they like you!

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