Blog: Inside The Institute (Part 3)

Another day, another dollar (witheld by a promoter)

This time Total Guitar's scholar at The Institute in London, Neelesh Vasistha, talks about the downsides of London gigging and jazzing-up Rebecca Black.

For the last few years TG has sponsored a scholarship at The Institute (formerly ICMP and The Guitar Institute), one of the leading contemporary music schools in the country. In his third blog, our 2011/2012 scholarship student Neelesh tells us what he's been up to of late.

Read Inside The Institute (Part 1)
Read Inside The Institute (Part 2)

The perils of gigging in London

It's been an interesting few days. This extended weekend started with a gig at a London venue that shall remain nameless.

As much as the venue is famous for its history hosting budding artists who would go on to colossal success (from bona fide British rockers to American teen popstars) I've found that the name floats around musician circles as a 'no-go' venue, notorious for committing 'pay to play' atrocities.

Not being one to pre-judge, I arrived at the venue fresh, cheery and consumed by pre- Jubilee Queen-worshipping ecstasy. In the next few hours every single thing I'd heard about the venue would prove to be true.

Despite arriving promptly at 7:00PM (as instructed), we were robbed of a sound check and instead scheduled a line check 10 minutes before show time.

In actuality, we barely had time to assemble our gear onstage before the soundman forced us to start the first song lest we cut into the set list, meaning that our sound both onstage and off was absolutely horrendous.

To truly s**t on our cornflakes, we were refused payment because we didn't hit the quota of people –a small-print clause, yet something the promoter had conveniently neglected to tell us over the phone.

This is an appalling practice that's unfortunately far too commonplace in London, where bands essentially do the promoter's job for them in terms of mustering drinking punters to the venue, only to get robbed blind on the door.

On a lighter note, all is quiet on The Institute front, primarily because we're on a one week break to digest and practice the ridiculous amount of work we've been set.

Currently I'm working on a slow jazz arrangement of Rebecca Black's Friday in preparation for my 'Chord Melody' exam. I hope the irony of song choice is transparent.

Stick around for the next blog to find out how that goes down!


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