19 Apr 2005

Played at Acoustica last night with the Houdini Box. We were preceded by a few good performers, including the formidable Graeme Mearns. One of the best guitarist/singers around these parts, on a par with Richard Thompson for the way he can use everything a guitar has to offer to enhance a song. I used to find his songs a bit too cynical and vitriolic but last night I enjoyed them all; he’s not exactly mellowed but seems to have matured in some way so that the songs stand as songs more than as an outpouring of Graeme’s spite!

The Box set was transitional. We’re without oboe and between drummers. We had Susanna MacDonald with us on djembe instead, which was nice. There was no stage monitor and the bass was going through my little practice amp which had a mic going to the PA. So the audience could hear what I was playing but I couldn’t most of the time, just playing on the physical feel of the strings and imagination. At one point we turned up the little amp. I played into the first verse of the song. I could see Dave and Big Jim, who were doing the sound, conferring and stroking their beards. Not a good sign, I thought. I was aware that, even though I couldn’t hear bass as such, something was suddenly missing from the general noise. On a hunch, I banged my fist on the amp. Dave and Big Jim jumped, smiled and waved, and a low rumbling returned to the onstage sound. Mission accomplished.

‘The quality of a person is revealed in their conduct in front of sex, money and the use of time.’ Robert Fripp.