The Dalriada was an OK night, hampered to my mind by the poor quality of sound obtained by feeding two mics and two guitars through one little guitar amp. I’d buy a PA, but I don’t have a garage – or even a cupboard – in which to store it. The audience response was typically low-key when we were playing, but as usual people came up afterwards and said they’d enjoyed it and gave other kind comments. A photographer came in and had a drink, asking us if we’d mind him taking some photos as he did so. His name is Nik Watt, and you can see his pics of Fi ‘n’ me here. Look through his other stuff too – the beach shots he took at Portobello the same night are very beautiful.
Today I played at the Acoustic Idols show at the GRV. This was a very nice gig. Ben Young gave a dazzling display of fingerpicking and some excellent songwriting in the Jansch/Renbourne/Thompson tradition. Lyndsay Sugden and her Storm did the best set I’ve seen from them, with Pete Rowan providing a superb balanced sound. I particularly liked a song called Time Stands Still, which they evidently liked too, as they played it again in the second half. I enjoyed playing my sets – solo and with Nelson, Fi and Mary. Others will have to judge what it was like to listen to, but from this side of the mic the solo set gave me a chance to explore the new Roadblock songs in a way that you just can’t do without an audience. I had to re-learn how to play Anywhere But Here for this gig, as I’d completely forgotten it – I knew I’d recorded it three or four years ago in an alternate tuning but couldn’t remember which. Turns out was DADGAD. That seemed to work, as did The Spell, which has to be sung carefully, with due attention to spaciousness and dynamics. I tried Dorothy’s Book for the first time, but don’t think it’s a live song. The band set was great fun – charging through Dylan and The Wolf with Mary at my side as of old. It’s not the Innocents, not even a band, really, but as a combination of people it worked for me this afternoon, and I came away with a glow.
Back home and back to whittling away at these damned songs, a tweak here and a tweak there. Roll on Tuesday and the Wright Brothers – with Mary and Ms Fi – at the Spiegeltent.