I got a new job 2 years ago where I work from home. Going from 2-3hrs commuting each day to no commute at all was fantastic, but, to my surprise, I missed the company of workmates. Male company in particular, living as I do with my wife and 2 daughters, and my female in-laws our most frequent visitors.
To combat this I started going down to my local pub on a Wednesday night where they had an anyone-welcome acoustic music session. I brought down an acoustic guitar at first, but then the regular bass player stopped coming and I started playing bass. It took me a while to settle in, but after a few months I really got to love it, and ended up having the most fun I’ve ever had in a pub in that place – the musicians standing on chairs and the pub jammed and every single person on their feet roaring along with the songs. It was just glorious, I never was anywhere like it.
The core of the Wednesday night session crowd play other gigs fairly regularly around where I live (as The Wednesday Gang), and after a bit I joined them and did weddings and parties and The Electric Picnic and lots of other fun stuff. I’ve stopped playing with them since, for the bizarre reason that they got too successful, and were playing so many shows I couldn’t keep up, but it was an awful lot of fun.
After one particularly enjoyable night playing for a Canadian wedding party in a pub on a remote Co. Meath crossroads I was struck by the evolution of my musical ambitions over the years:
- In the 80s: wanted my band to be as big as U2
- In the 90s: aiming for more obscure, but still critically acclaimed e.g. Tom Waits
- In the 00s: dreaming of being a fiercely independent but still successful underground act, like Fugazi
- In the 10s: find myself playing Sweet Caroline to a audience of drunken Canadians in an Irish country pub, and having The Time Of My Fucking Life