Wellington Rugby Sevens waterfront parade #2

Drumming in the rain, French maids, and an appearance on the catwalk

I thought there was an unwritten law that the weather is always insanely good throughout the Wellington Sevens weekend, with nary a drop of rain to be seen. Seems the Weather Gods mislaid the memo this year, because Saturday was wetwetwet.

At noon we did a short performance outside the stadium gates to a small and slightly damp crowd – check out the impressive fluoro-clad recording equipment! Video by AtThe7s:

Once we’d finished we were bussed back to the start of the waterfront parade route, and decided (seeing as the weather was so crappy) to do a bit of an impromptu gig under the arches next to Mac’s Brewbar.

The acoustics were amazing – I’ve no idea how it sounded from outside, but underneath the arches we were going off! A performance space like that where you sound LOUD and AWESOME – tends to galvanise you into playing better and stronger and more intensely – so we ended up playing LOUDER and AWESOMER as a result.

I think the Sevens fans in the pub next door enjoyed us too. And I think they particularly enjoyed the French maid costumes sported by one or two of the band, who’d been wearing them at the Sevens the night before…

Batucada French maids - Bill (surdo), Nigel (surdo), Debs (superfan), Christian (caixa) and Lisa (surdo)

Batucada French maids Bill (surdo), Nigel (surdo), Debs (superfan), Christian (caixa) and Lisa (surdo)

Eventually we left the comparative shelter of the arches and ventured out along the parade route in the rain. Lovely. The crowds didn’t really start to increase in size until we got to the sails at Queen’s Wharf where there were heaps of people in costume milling around.

We milled around with them for a while, then we got word that we were leaving the waterfront for a minute and heading towards whatever-was-going-on underneath the sails. It was hard to see where we were going, as there were so many people jam-packed all around us, and the band ended up pretty much in single file, slowly moving through the crowds towards the sails. Suddenly in front of us I could see steps leading up onto what I assumed was a stage. “Crikey! We’re doing a spur-of-the-moment gig on stage?? Ooooookaaaayyyyyy…..”

One by one we climbed the steps – attempting to continue drumming as we went (not easy!) – and once at the top we each realised that it wasn’t a stage at all – it was a catwalk positioned at head-height across Queen’s Wharf square. Not what any of us had expected!

It’s quite surreal to be suddenly thrust into the limelight like that, having to march proudly along a catwalk in the midst of thousands of enthusiastic costume-clad Sevens fans, while playing your drum, in single file, trying a) not to fall off the catwalk, b) to smile at and interact with the crowd, and c) to keep in time with your fellow band-members – most of whom you can no longer see or hear because they’ve already disembarked at the other end.

Needless to say, the boys and girls in their French maid outfits got the biggest cheers, and by the time the last band member got off the catwalk we’d all gone hopelessly out of time with each other. Bit like Chinese Whispers with drums really. No-one seemed to mind though.

We were all set to play a little tune (in time with each other this time) once we’d gathered together again, but the DJ had other ideas and launched into another choon of his own (maybe he doesn’t like samba!) so we sloped off back to the waterfront instead and carried on parading…

French maid Bill at the Southern Cross after the gig

French maid Bill at the Southern Cross after the gig
- ce qui est bon n'est-ce pas?

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