Chris Gable - wedding duo AND wedding band in one day!

We're toward the end of wedding season now, but there are still enough to keep a musician busy on a Saturday! I drove about 300km and played maybe 60 songs in total, but that suited me just fine.

Wedding #1 was at Ottimo House in Denham Court (near Campbelltown). Never been to this venue before but it looks lovely. I always like venues suitable for both ceremony and reception; big properties with lovely vistas, country-style decor, plenty of room and beautiful backdrops for spectacular photos. Jeremy (violinist) and I performed some pre-ceremony background music, some special requests for the ceremony itself, and some more background music during the canapes that followed. Perfect weather made for a perfect ceremony with beautiful people.

Wedding #2 was a reception in Mosman, a very nice little venue at the end of Middle Head Rd named Burnt Orange. We had a brilliant four-piece band featuring my favourite people to work with - David Andrews on keys and vocals, Tim Wilson on bass and Andres Hyde on drums. All three of them are sensational musicians and such good guys to hang out with both on and off the stage. It was a small stage, but big enough to be comfortable; just big enough to accommodate the 30-odd guests who danced throughout our entire last set and begged for more - always a good sign.

Chris Gable - Cunard Queen Victoria

Two ships in as many weeks! Usually I avoid being away this much because I miss my girls, but when they're short local contracts (3-4 nights away from home) they're worth considering, and when they're aboard Cunard ships there's almost no question.

The Queen Victoria is basically identical to the Queen Elizabeth I took Linda on last week, so the main difference was my travel companion. I brought Nick, a dear friend of mine from high school, now living in Melbourne. Not only did my contract end in Melbourne (so Nick could just drive home), but I hadn't seen the guy in about 18 months, it was his birthday two days before we joined the ship, and he'd never been on a cruise. All cause for celebration.

I performed two sittings of my show our first night on board, and they went wonderfully well - excellent band, lovely audiences, wonderful feedback (which leads me to hope I'll be invited back again next year).

Once they were done, Nick and I were both essentially on holiday for the following three days. We swam, played shuffleboard & table tennis, ate like kings, drank like fish, laughed like old friends. If I get invited back in 2017 we may just have to do it again...

Again, I took a bunch of photos of which the below is a small selection. Enjoy!

The Queen Victoria, anchored off the coast of Kangaroo Island.

The Queen Victoria, anchored off the coast of Kangaroo Island.

A two-person selfie in the Map Room.

A two-person selfie in the Map Room.

We spent several nights playing darts in the Officers Mess (where drinks were a lot cheaper).

We spent several nights playing darts in the Officers Mess (where drinks were a lot cheaper).

Long tradition dictates I post this - an invented ad campaign for a non-existent clothing label.

Long tradition dictates I post this - an invented ad campaign for a non-existent clothing label.

This joke campaign has been running for nearly ten years, and it still makes me laugh...

This joke campaign has been running for nearly ten years, and it still makes me laugh...

Chris Gable - Cunard Queen Elizabeth

Being my wife would be a tough gig for a variety of reasons, but I like to think it has a few balancing positives... the biggest of which is free holidays!

I was delighted to perform my show aboard the Queen Elizabeth, my first Cunard contract. What a beautiful ship! I may have a new favourite cruise line to work for. The band was possibly the best I've ever had on a ship, the food was amazing, the staff all helpful and polite, and the theater easily the prettiest I've ever performed in either on land or at sea.

Most importantly, my wife got a well-earned break for a few days during which she got to sleep in til 9am, do no cooking or cleaning, hang out by the pool reading a book, and have naps in the afternoon if she felt like it. She does more than her share of housework and parenting; she's more than deserved a few days of poolside relaxing, fancy dinners and zero responsibility, and it was a delight to share those things with her for a few days. We had a really lovely time on board this stunning ship!

Here are some of the many happy snaps we took in our three nights on board. 

Me and Queen Liz in Circular Quay, just before we boarded.

Me and Queen Liz in Circular Quay, just before we boarded.

Linda in holiday mode.

Linda in holiday mode.

Linda takes way better selfies than most people.

Linda takes way better selfies than most people.

The stunning Royal Court Theater.

The stunning Royal Court Theater.

Taking in the view.

Taking in the view.

Chris Gable @ Wests New Lambton

I think we can all agree that there are many, many better places to be on Valentine's Day than in a stand-still traffic jam on the M1. That's where I was for about an hour yesterday afternoon:

Chris Gable M1 traffic

However, it was worth it - because there are many, many worse places to be on Valentine's Day than on the lovely auditorium stage at Wests New Lambton in Newcastle! It's a great room, honestly my favourite in Newcastle. The audiences are always fantastic, and yesterday's was no exception. The band (led by the hilarious Spike on drums) are one of the best and it's always a great time up there.

Took me a while to get home but that was okay; my wife Linda and I are celebrating Valentine's Day properly next week... stay tuned.

StrumStruck Duo @ Ramsgate RSL

What with various family, work and travel commitments for both Luke and myself, it felt like an age had passed since the last StrumStruck gig... even though it was less than two months ago we played a great little private gig in Manly late December (which the family didn't want posted online). So it was great to get back together last night, this time at a new venue for us - Ramsgate RSL.

I've performed my cabaret show at this club several times over the years but had never actually seen the downstairs area; it's great! Nice big stage and dancefloor, friendly patrons and cold beer - basically everything we want from a gig. 

We'll be back here again soon (25 March) and we're hoping it becomes a regular venue of ours. Come on down!

StrumStruck Duo Ramsgate RSL

Aboard the Diamond Princess

I don't do ships as often as I did before becoming a Dad, and that really suits me very well - I miss my girls too much to spend long periods away from home - but if I'm going to be on a ship, it may as well be one as beautiful as the Diamond Princess. I've sailed on her many times and it's always a delight. Check out the Princess Theater:

This is a little panoramic I took with my phone. It's actually a 360 degree "Photosphere" which you can navigate around on a phone or tablet; just doesn't quite translate to the blog that way! Regardless, it's a gorgeous theater and a pleasure to perform in. I believe it seats over 1,000 people. 

I did two 35-minute shows here my first night, then played another two shows in the mid-ship Explorers Lounge Theater on my last night. Both shows went wonderfully well. Performing to lovely audiences, backed by a great band, surrounded by luxury and opulence... even though I miss my girls like crazy, it's still a pretty great way to spend a week. Having said that, it's so wonderful to be home with my family again - even if I don't get to sleep in beyond 7am anymore...!

Got a couple more cruises coming up, my first on the stunning Cunard line - stay tuned!

Chris Gable solo - Private parties? You bet!

I often get asked at gigs if I do private functions. The answer is a resounding YES! I love parties!

Some months back I met some lovely people whilst doing a solo gig at Erina Leagues Club. Kim and her husband approached me to ask whether I was available for Kim's 50th at their Central Coast house; I gave them my card and after a few emails the booking was confirmed.  It was a great night, as you can see!

The house had a fantastic covered balcony perfect for entertaining, which they tell me they do a lot of; by the end of the night everyone was up dancing away to the classics and having a wonderful time - right up until a bit after 10pm, when I had to rush off in order to get a few hours' sleep before my early flights to join the Diamond Princess the next morning (and also give Kim's poor neighbours a break from the noise of 40+ people singing and dancing!).

If you have a private party coming up and are considering live entertainment, I'd love to hear from you - go to my contact page and get in touch!

Happy New Year!

Just a quiet solo gig at Wyong Bowling Club tonight, to wrap up 2015. After the crazy busy year I've had, that's totally fine with me! 

Rather than posting the typical on-stage photo, here's a more "reflective" shot from the balcony where I'm spending a few minutes having a pre-gig beer and watching the sun set over 2015 for the last time:

Chris Gable NYE 2015

How's the serenity? So much serenity...

I hope everyone has a great night celebrating tonight, and that 2016 turns out to be a great one!

Chris Gable solo @ Florida Beah Bar, Terrigal Crowne

STILL love this gig! How can I not??

Chris Gable Florida Beach Bar Dec 15

Another beaut afternoon playing at the Florida Beach Bar at Terrigal Crowne Plaza. Perfect sunny weather, great food, beautiful beach, cold beer, attractive young people wandering around in swimwear... I've done gigs in worse places. Hopefully I'll be back here plenty more in 2016!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Chris Gable & family!

Just a short note to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!

To the clients and the agencies who booked me: thanks so much for making 2015 far and away the busiest year I've ever had as a land-based musician. I set a new record of 172 engagements (counting any cruise ships as one gig) and I largely have you to thank for that!

To my musical brethren: thanks for the fun times both on and off stage. Every gig we do we sound better and I'm honoured to both work with you and hang out with you. Hope we get to play together loads more in 2016 and beyond!

To everyone else: thank you for sharing in the journey! 

As Christmas really is all about family, here's a lovely picture of the two gorgeous girls who basically constitute my entire world - Jaime (left, 14 months) and Kara (right, two and a half), enjoying warm milk in front of the tree on Christmas Eve Eve. Even attempting to describe how much love I have for these two little monkeys would take the rest of the year so I won't bother beyond saying that though I thought otherwise at the time, I never knew true joy until I met these two. The word love is way too small.

May 2016 bring success and happiness to you all!

Chris Gable Jaime Kara Christmas

NEW VIDEO - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Another carol, because 'tis the season after all:

Swingin', right? It's an arrangement of the great Lou Rawls' version. It sounds amazing with a full brass section, but even with a just trio it's still a great arrangement - eve if the sound quality of my phone leaves much to be desired...

This was sound check at Blacktown Workers Club before their annual Christmas show began. I shared the stage with Lisa Crouch, who I say without hesitation is one of the best vocalists you'll find in Sydney - as evidenced by the loooong list of ACE and MO Awards she's won over the years. What a voice! The show was hosted by the ever-delightful Cheryl OBrien who it's always a delight to see and work with.

I believe there are some rudimentary plans for me to perform some more at Blacktown in 2016 so if you're in that area be sure to check in!

NEW GEAR! Behringer X-Air X16

OMG OMG OMG. Near gear new gear. Just treated myself to a Behringer X16 digital stage mixer! I know it won't interest many non-musicians but this is a big deal for me; it's so rare I buy myself new equipment.

The Behringer X16 is a digital mixer. Hard to describe what it is without getting technical, but basically a mixer is the thing you plug all your microphones and instruments into, which you then "mix" to get the right sound & volume from each. The mixer then sends a signal to the speakers. The mixer is basically in control of what you hear; it's one of the most important bits of equipment I own. 

This new one is fully digital, meaning it's controlled entirely via wifi from a tablet / iPad / smartphone. Again without getting too technical it's just flat-out amazing what this thing can do. Even as recently as ten years ago, this technology simply didn't exist. I've done a few gigs with it now and I absolutely love it! It replaces a very basic mixing desk that cost about $400 which worked perfectly for over five years, no complaints at all considering how little I'd spent... but there's an immediate difference in sound quality with the new one. The flexibillity and power is just incredible, and the sound is absolutely superb.

Most of all, I can't get over how cheap it was: $820. When you account for inflation, it's barely more expensive than the one I've been using for the past six years - but it's in an entirely different league in terms of what it can do. 

I'm extra-pleased because I found the absolute perfect travel case for it at Bunnings for a mere $25 - a bit of packing foam and it couldn't be more perfect:

Chris Gable Behringer X16

If you see me at a gig and are curious about such things, come and let me bore you to death with a run-down of its specs...!

NEW VIDEO - Chris Gable: O Holy Night

Ever feel that Christmas carols are neither sexy nor self-indulgent enough? Me too! That's why I made this:

I've been performing this sexy saxophone version of O Holy Night since I hurriedly wrote the arrangement on a ship in 2010 - the cruise director needed a Christmas variety show when another guest entertainer failed to board due to horrible weather. It actually went really well and has since become my favourite carol to perform! 

It also gave me a chance to show off (although that's entirely the wrong phrase to use in this case) my new drums. I totally suck at drums but I love playing them; I got them recently with the intention of getting back into regular recording in 2016, so hopefully you'll see some new videos soon - and some marked improvement in my drumming over the next year...!  

Chris Gable solo @ North Sydney

Take two at this gig worked much better than the first attempt! Last time we were rained out; no such problems this time:

Chris Gable solo performer North Sydney

Boy was it HOT. Lucky we had the portable shade and lots of sun screen.

It was lovely entertaining the lunch time crowd at North Sydney, all the more so because I actually used to work in this very area; when I was at university back in 1997-98 I spent a few months working as a temp at a recruitment agency that quite literally directly overlooked where I was playing. Amazing when the past and present mix in such a way.

P&O Pacific Pearl - Tequila Mockingbird

Well, that was a a very long but very fun day! By the time we went home we were utterly exhausted but still delighted to have been a part of P&O Cruises' massive five-ship Sydney Harbour celebration. 

We all arrived at Circular Quay at 10am, got to the ship around 1130am, sound checked around 3pm, performed around 6pm; the rest of the time was spent relaxing on board the lovely Pacific Pearl. I've performed my show on the Pearl several times over the years so it was nice to be back; it was also great to introduce various friends to the wonderful world of cruise ship overeating...!

We played great, if I say so myself. And we had a blast. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Here's a photo I shot just as we were setting up to play:

Tequila Mockingbird Pacific Pearl

And here's a shot just before we disembarked and headed back to Circular Quay for the trek back home. Like I said - couldn't have been more perfect. 

Tequila Mockingbird Pacific Pearl 2

Chris Gable solo @ Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza

Much as I love playing with my duos, trio and larger groups, sometimes a solo singer & musician is all that's required to set the right atmosphere, and walk the line between background ambience and real live entertainment.

I always love playing at the Hunter Valley Crowne, but this time they outdid themselves:

I was delighted to be asked to perform for a large group of young up-and-comers at Ernst & Young who are staying at the Crowne this week. Approximately 450 people. Big group! About half the night was quiet background music during a wonderful buffet dinner under the stars; the other half was performing requests for an increasingly large group seated on comfy cushions right in front of the stage. A great time was had by all. One of the most fun solo gigs I've done in ages!

10-piece band TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD - rehearsal

I'm going to need a wider-angle phone for this band:

Tequila Mockingbird is a new 10-piece project a bunch of friends/colleagues have thrown together in preparation for a big day in Sydney: on 25 November there will be five - FIVE! - P&O ships docked in Sydney Harbour. Two new ships will set sail on their inaugural cruises and three other P&O ships will be there to help them celebrate - and we will be performing on one of them! (We don't actually know which yet.)

Tequila Mockingbird party band

With the help of my most trusted bass player Tim Wilson, who is musically directing the group, I wrote out a whole lot of brass charts for our one-hour set; can't tell you how much of a relief it was that they all worked perfectly in rehearsal. It's been a long time since I did any arranging but it seems I've remembered how it's done. Phew.

Should be an absolutely fantastic gig - there's a LOT of talent in this band! We've got the aforementioned Tim on bass; my very talented friend & colleague Luke (of StrumStruck) on percussion; the always amazing David Andrew on keys and lead vocals; an old friend, master of groove and incredibly nice guy Tim Gannon on drums; the superb Ben Fox on guitar and vocals; his gorgeous partner Josie on vocals; and three other people that I've never met before rehearsal today on trumpet, trombone and vocals but who all seem exceptionally good at what they do and are lovely people too.

Rehearsal went perfectly, very excited about our first gig next week...

Hunter Valley wedding music

It's no mystery why the Hunter Valley is such a popular wedding destination - it's stunning! Everywhere you look there are gorgeous green rolling hills, wonderful restaurants and venues, and of course some of Australia's best wine. Let's not forget the wine.

Here was my view during the ceremony at the lovely Wynwood Estate:

Chris Gable Musician Hunter Valley

Not a bad place to tie the knot! The weather held until after the ceremony; as we left the receptio a few hours later the photographers were working to create some stunning backlit shots in the rain. Rain might send some wedding day plans a little awry, but it makes for GREAT photos. And I'm speaking from very personal experience...!

Chris Gable Quartet with Belinda Adams @ Ettalong Oyster Festival

We had a great time performing at the Ettalong Oyster Festival yesterday! 

Festival gigs are hugely fun (even if you have to arrive by 8am after getting home from a gig at 2am the night before, like both Luke and I did...!). A lovely big stage, the open air, an audience of a few thousand people, and a SERIOUSLY great band.

Chris Gable Ettalong Oyster Festival

We were joined again by the wonderful Belinda Adams, a singer who a friend of mine in the audience described as "friggin' flawless". I'd have to agree. She's amazing - one of the very best. Very much hope we get to work together again soon.

Couldn't think of a better way to wrap up a very busy week. Six gigs! I was definitely a little on the croaky side for the last few numbers. Happily I've got three days to recover before the next onslaught... now all I need is my two infant daughters to behave perfectly in that time so I never have to raise my voice... 

 

Chris Gable Quartet @ Sydney Dance Company

The last time I was at Sydney Dance Company was in 2002, when I auditioned for Universal Studios Japan - possibly the biggest watershed moment of my life, considering all that followed.

So it was decidedly odd to be back there again for Brent & Sylvia's wedding last Saturday night! It's looking a little different now; back then it wasn't a "venue" as such, more a rehearsal space. But now it's a beautiful space where a four-piece band can have a great time entertaining wedding guests:

Chris Gable Quartet Sydney Dance Company

Our keys player David was suddenly required elsewhere (looking after his very pregnant wife!!) so we looked through the phone book and just happened to get lucky. Very very lucky. We got Darryl Beaton, one of the best piano vocalists in Sydney. In fact if there's someone better in Australia, I would VERY much like to meet that person... but I honestly think Darryl might be the best. 

That's not to say that David isn't staggeringly good. Don't get me wrong. He's absolutely amazing and was much missed on the night. But if you've got to have someone fill in, well, all I'm saying is that it may as well be someone as stupidly talented as Darryl. 

Fantastic band, great crowd, beautiful venue. Yep - still love weddings! Congratulations Brent & Sylvia!