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The Masquerade Ball!

Saturday 3rd June 2023 - a night of music, dancing, great people and fun



We've been looking forward to this one for a good while, and I'm sure you've heard us wanging on about it enough to know what it was all about.

The event was put on by Gilt Edged Events, c/o Devon Kenion. It featured us on the bill, alongside Winsome Montcrieffe-Mitchell, Frederica Tibbs, Gemini Don sound system, Papa Crook, Adele Harley and John McLean. It was held at The White Diamond Banqueting Suite in Coventry, which looks a fairly newly modernised venue.



We arrived in the height of the afternoon sun to a carpark that was buzzing with activity already, due to another event taking place at the same venue on the same day. Everyone looked so wonderful! I'm not sure if it was a wedding followed by a birthday party, or just a wedding, but regardless, the guests looked incredible!


We loaded into the venue to find Grandad and Brendon already sitting around having set up ready for us to come in. The catering staff arrived not long after us. After a phone call we found that the sound system still needed to load in so we had to move all the PA over towards the left hand side of the stage to make room for it.



We were joined for a little rehearsal before the performance by Papa Crook, who came down early to get prepped with us. He is such a lovely guy - genuine, down to earth and just lovely to be around. We ran through the tracks we were accompanying Papa Crook on and straightened all the sound out, and then we had about an hour before the event started, and many many hours before we were due to play.


We took to the outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and Papa Crook stayed and chatted with us for a long while, too! Angus coined the term 'Regguloitering', which is what we continued to do on the car park until it started to get really cold. The guys in the band just had a lovely time chatting to each other and talking all sorts of things - we genuinely never run out of things to say to each other. Brendon went home, as he doesn't live too far away, and was due back around midnight.


By the time we went back in, guests were arriving (looking absoutely gorgeous in Masquerade Ball get-up) and the food was starting to smell really nice. The caterers were absolutely brilliant - the staff were all really friendly and the food was absolutely phenominal. We didn't eat until around 930pm, with the VIP guests going first, and down through the ticket prices until we got to the entertainers! The selection was really lovely and they had full vegan options - yeah, more than one! - so our vegan and veggie members were super happy. We all sat around the table right next to the small house of a speaker stack on the left.



Once we'd eaten, there was a quiz I didn't know was going to happen, so we all knuckled down to 'name the tune' which is significantly shorter length snippets these days due to technology being able to hear what tune you're listening to on your phone - basically so nobody cheated, we all got a few seconds to guess the tune and scribble it down. This was directed by compere Mikey D. I doubt we got very many of them right, to be honest. It's amazing how much music you don't know even when you play it!

Anyway, whilst we were all around the table, we took many of the pictures that we have of the night, and all had a good laugh together. If you've seen any of the videos, I'm sure you've had a good giggle at us.



Around midnight, Brendon came back, just as the power tripped, and so Brendon did the smartest thing (which eventually saved everyone's asses) and checked the equipment was still all OK. Unfortunately, it wasn't! Basically, the trip had caused some sort of surge or something (I don't speak French, so I let the funky music do the talking) and had blown the router, and without the router, we don't have a desk...

dB Acoustics are our favourite sound engineers with bloody good reason. To start off with, they're family now. But when situations like this happen, they stand head and shoulders above the rest. They were straight to the event organiser and straight on the phone to the boss man all at the same time. Not long afterwards Grandad was on the road to go and fetch a manual desk, and not long after that Will arrived at the event after driving straight from a festival in god-knows-where to get to us and help save the night!


We managed to catch a little of Frederica Tibbs and Winsome Montcrieffe-Mitchell's sets, which were lovely. And they did a number together - bit of Uptown Top Rankin' - which went down really well.



There were a few moments where there was a little bit of tension. A mysterious high sort of hum was coming out of something. It genuinely wasn't us - it was happening when there was no power to our or our sound engineer's equipment, but I think we got the blame anyway. Hey ho, though, what can you do? Eventually the mysterious noise left as confusingly and randomly as it arrived, so it was all good after that.


Our set got cut down to half an hour, and when we all got on stage, Will made a little announcement to let everyone know that our hours of sound checking were basically out the window and that he'd just mixed us by sight, which is a big sound no no, and we'd hope for the best and adjust as we go. And bless him, he said he wanted everyone to be aware so it didn't reflect badly on us guys, which just makes me want to craft a latex super hero outfit for him (with big initials NB for Noise Boy) on the chest and watch him dashing around like the super hero that he is.


We played the set and people seemed to enjoy it. It was lovely to see Christine and Neville Staples there. We share our lovely Will with the big boss man and lady, Neville and Christine. They both looked stunning and Neville looked dapper AF.


After our set, it was tremendous for us to welcome Adele Harley to the stage, who is just a genuinely beautiful singer, performer and person. Her backing vocalist, Sarah, was equally as lovely and we were totally wowed by them - their voices have so much range, and watching Adele perform live is something that I've not experienced before, but having spent the last few months listening to her recordings, I can assure you as you're reading this, you need to go and see her perform live! The whole thing was just captivating. And they were both just lovely souls. We really enjoyed our performance with Adele and Sarah and hope they enjoyed us backing them.


As Adele left the stage, it was time to welcome Papa Crook. This guy. OMG. He's so real. I think most people were getting pretty tired by this point (we're talking passed 2am, I believe) but Papa Crook just really engaged the crowd, because he spoke to them as a genuine person and involved them in what he was going to sing. He speaks to audiences like friends he's known for years, and it really worked, particularly in this setting, where there had been lots going on all evening and lots of things to interact with and participate in. With Papa Crook on the stage just telling us all he grew up listening to these songs, and as a youngster he just fell in love with the music, you couldn't help but invest in his performance. He's so charismatic!

The set with Papa Crook went really well. I've got to say big big big BIG respect goes to Dawn and Sugar for their backing on this, because it wasn't rehearsed. We've only had the tracks to go on for both artists and we've obviously rehearsed by ourselves, but with Adele we only met her on the night as her and Sarah arrived from another gig, and Papa we only did a little bit of our sound check with. But Sugar and Dawn both pulled off beautiful backing. It was a real wow moment for me.



I want to say a huge thank you to Papa Crook for bigging us up on social media and tagging us in his videos of the night - it really makes a huge difference when someone with so many followers shares us playing or tags us in their posts and we're are extremely grateful and humbled for it.


So, all in all, although things blew up, it was very very late by the time we finished, and on the drive home, there were more than just Three Little Birds tweeting, it was a really enjoyable night spent with friends who have become family. We had Sugar, Anna, myself, Dawn, Clive, Teebs, Angus and Harry with us and they all had put in so much hard work to pull off the extra tracks (and ours, cause we're always changing the set!). But most of all, those band members plus Grandad, Brendon, and Will by the end of the night, were the best of company, and I wouldn't trade it for the world!


Thank you, Devon, for inviting us to be a part of your event, and huge thank you to Adele Harley and Papa Crook for performing alongside us. Hopefully we can work together again in the future!



 

To follow Gilt Edged Events, look on Facebook and request joining the group.


To see The White Diamond Banqueting Suite, look here: https://www.facebook.com/whitediamondvenue


To see or contact our AMAZING sound company, look here: Event Production | DB Acoustics | Coventry (db-acoustics.co.uk)


To see the wonderful Adele Harley, look here: https://www.facebook.com/adeleharleyofficial/


To see the awesomely cool Papa Crook, look here: https://www.facebook.com/OriginalPapaCrook/


June seems to be our collab month - so our next performance is alongside Susan Cadogan! See you there, Reggae Rebs! xXx







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