Almost everyone, deep down, knows it will rain. The light patter of rain isn’t a spot of bother, not right now. It’s the clouds surrounding the quaint Masgar, in Mtarfa, that preoccupy most of us here. There’s a blend of red and grey clouds hovering above a surreal, if startlingly beautiful setting.
Welcome to the first annual edition of Wirdien (Brikkuni+PDM+Stalko) folks.
Come 9pm and I’m on my knees and playing, underneath a heavy plastic cover which my old friend Steve Lombardo, tonight’s soundman, has laid across all his equipment. I have just enough space to reach out for the faders on the mixer, change the track on the cued CD and maybe maybe, catch a breath.
But my torments are minor compared to those of the organisers. Among others, Timmy Ellis is busy surveying the atmosphere, Mario Vella is pacing around the place, smoking a few more cigarettes than his vocal chords would appreciate. Together with the rest of the organisers, they’ve put a lot into this and, truth be told, the venue does look very good indeed. There’s even a burger/wrap stand, Andrea and Mark and their cupcakes, PDM’s soundcheck echoed through the Masgar like a CD playback, and the usual healthy amount of vibe made sure there was enough interest to expect a “memorable event”.
Perhaps it wasn’t memorable, but it was rock n’roll. A few minutes into PDM’s show a gust of wind and downpour of biblical proportions decided to strike. The electricity is suddenly cut off and the light canvas tarpaulin covering the band from the elements wrangles itself loose, falling onto the unsuspecting band below. Cue lots of panic, people rushing around like headless chickens, two girls even banged their heads together in what must have been an epic Headbutt in the Dark. The rain only lasted five minutes, but surely enough to empty sections of the venue and drench most people into their next bronchitis. And it’s only 10.30pm.
Some stayed on for a few more drinks as the rest of the musicians figured a way through the mayhem to rescue their instruments from a second deluge that would have been tragic. (The second deluge didn’t happen). A few hundred metres away from the venue, in a field that doubled up as a carpark first, and as a quicksand marsh after the storm, a good soul was helping out people whose cars were bogged up, offering to push every single car out of the mud. Big. Fucking. Respect.
Up at Masgar, it’s quieter though not silent. Band members confabulate on how best to offer a refund for those who coughed up €12, most barefoot, the rest shirtless despite the temperature feels like it’s bloody ten degrees Celsius. Eventually I’m asked to put a CD on, I oblige by knocking a quick playlist on my iPod titled “Kitchen Classics 1” (including the likes of PJ Harvey, The [English] Beat, Manic Street Preachers, Nick Cave, The La’s, Rino Gaetano, Franco Battiato, Bugo, Elbow, Can, The Verve) which runs until 2.30pm. It’s time to leave, with my jeans still wet and my lovely North Face jacket keeping my upper body dry.
The day after Brikkuni’s Mario confirms that Wirdien will happen again on the 2nd October. Which is just as good. More details about the event here. In a week’s time, weather permitting, I will tell you about the great event at Masgar.