A pleasant, socialble gig at the Left Bank last night. The programme looked daunting – sound check 6.30, solo set 8.30, three other bands then Houdini Box at 12.30. I reconciled myself to a restless night and thought I might nip off somewhere for a break. Of course being a sound check, the sound check didn’t happen till 8ish which wasn’t a good start, but the sound guy was so careful and keen to get it right it wasn’t so bad. This was just what you get as a local gigging player – turn up to a tawdry-looking hall (as they all are until the lights and people bring them to life), hand around with other bored-looking musicians and …wait. Eventually I had my spot, where the synth/loop stuff worked a treat, and Nelson on djembe added a human feel. I just need to get slicker on the changeovers. I offered a radically-reworked Hungry Ghosts and Nicole, an unlikely couple of covers in Strawberry Fields Forever and John McLaughlin’s Lotus Feet, a revisited old song of mine Damn Grey and was joined by Lynsey and Ross for Bob Dylan. I was followed by Red Casino, whose set I missed as I was deep in discussion of production and publishing with Scott Reilly; what I saw was good – straightforward guitar-based rock, I guess, very melodic. The place was filling up by now and there was a respectable size of crowd.
The Sawmill Buddhas were up next, with a five-piece lineup. I’ve seen
them before in various guises and never felt they delivered what they
aspire to, but last night it worked – EWB did his rock guitar hero bit,
and his songs came over best, but even the rest of the material avoided the moroseness that
I thought dragged them down on their recordings. Less self-indulgence
and playacting and more variety than before, I enjoyed it. I then had a
long walk and conversation with Sam from Houdini Box, so I missed the
beginning of the Electric Ghosts set, but what I saw was good – a
simple seated two acoustics and bass set, very homespun, with Elaine
providing an emotional vocal, particularly on Jolene, contrasting with Jamie’s lighter, fresher tones. They did some nice covers but it was one of Jamie’s songs that got the best reception.
The Houdini set was OK but not our best; although Lyns gave it her all during the actual songs, there seemed to be a lot of delay between songs, which is something we need to work out. When it works, though, as on Four Chambers, it ‘s really quite ferocious and great fun to play.
I’ve done more practising this week than I have for a long time. Now that I’ve learned, in less than a week, how to use the guitar synth and loops in a creditable solo set, with a song or two left over, I can get back to the recording of the long-forgotten Romantic Fiction CD.