Had a fab gig last night, at the National Portrait Gallery. It was a corporate party, for a huge computer company in the City, playing solo ambient loveliness while business deals and schmoozing unfolded in the delightful surroundings of the Contemporary Gallery of the NPG.
A gig like this throws up all kinds of challenges that you don’t tend to face on a ‘listening’ gig, or even a normal function gig (not least of all playing continuously for 3 hours!).
Firstly, you’re there as part of the scenery – while quite a few people were milling around where I was playing (a good sign), there weren’t any chairs set out for people to sit and listen, no encouragement to be quiet, and certainly no dance floor (though the idea of all those city boys in their matching suits and sensible ties doing interpretive dance to my noodlings is marvellous – might have to make that into a video at some point…!). What’s more, because of the size and echoey nature of the space, coupled with the ambient talking volume, and not having the speakers pointing at me, I was basically playing blind – like doing a gig where all you’re hearing are the reverb returns (this is not unlike the last gig I did for the same company, with Theo). It’s rather un-nerving at first, but makes for a very different music making experience, like photographing shadows or painting with just water on paper… everything is done in gentle relief, and then you step out and have a listen whilst wandering round the room confusing people who thought you were the musician (‘hang on, the music’s still going on! is it all just a CD?’ etc.)
The response from the audience was great, ranging from ‘where can I hear more music like this – you and Brian Eno are the only people I’ve heard like that’ to an overheard comment of ‘my, what perfect music for an event like this’ which sounded like I’d paid them to say it, it sounded so much like ad copy!)
The great thing about doing a show like this is it brings every bedroom music geek out of the woodwork, ‘oh, I experiment a little with recording at home’ ‘yes, I play guitar a bit, and mess around with effects and stuff’ etc. much fun.
So, more of those please – any of you lovely bloglings who want to hire me for this kind of thing, my rates are exorbitant, but that’s the corporate world… ;o) Drop me a line and we’ll work something out.
Soundtrack – The Cure, ‘Disintegration’.by