The Alibis

The best thing…

What’s the best thing about being in a band? Is it the buzz of playing live? Is it the adulation of adoring fans? Is it the women throwing themselves at you (never happens by the way)?

There are many things that are great about being in a band – but I’ll tell you about what I feel the best thing is for me.

Last night was the first rehearsal all full-time Alibis would be together since June. We decided to spend the time working on some new songs. Yours truly had put together a couple of rudimentary demos and it was time to get the others on-board. Amy was running late, so it was myself, Gareth and Jan in the now familiar Alibi huddle. Jan had his trusty notebook (no doubt to be lost within the next couple of weeks), a newly buzz-cut Gareth clutched the hastily printed lyrics I’d handed him (complete with his own edits – I’m not great at writing words that actually fit when you allow time for stuff like, you know, breathing) and we set about putting the song together.

Piece by piece, section by section, it started to take shape. As I relayed chords to Jan, he started to find little embellishments here and there. Gareth began picking his way around the melody and the delivery of the lyrics. As we were giving it a basic, quiet run-through Amy arrived (wa-hey!) and Jan broke out the beer and crisps (BIG wa-hey!). I’d never had Innis & Gunn before – I highly recommend it. Anyway, we toasted our reunion (as you can see in the photo) and set about our new song again.

All it took was a brief run-though and discussion with Amy to bring her into the fold. She’d had a brief listen to the song and even recognised it as we were playing it when she walked in. We decided to tackle it as a four piece. It wasn’t perfect at first, but as we all got to grips with what happens when and how things ebb and flow, it happened. It’s hard to remember at which point in the practise it occurred, but during one of the run-throughs it happened. That intangible moment when everything collides in perfect sync. The little bits and pieces we’ve added in the last hour are thrown in with an instinct you just feel. The collective sound you make becomes something greater than the sum of the parts. You feel it. You know it. You look around and you can see it in your bandmates eyes and body language. Nothing needs to be said, because you can see they know and feel it too: it is happening. It is the precise moment an idea becomes a song.

Songs always turn into a different beast to what you first imagine when you run it through a filter of three other people. Most of the time for the better. I don’t have children, but I imagine its like when you become a parent you have an idea of what type of person your kid will grow up to be and as they grow up, they become someone in their own right, rather than your own idea of them. You created them, but they kind of steer themselves into the finished article – and it’s astonishing to witness.

Imagine that feeling condensed into an hour.

That is the best thing about being in a band.


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