Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond

Our US Trip So Far…

June 10th, 2010 | No Comments | Categories: Gig stuff · Music News |

We’ve been in the US nearly 2 weeks and this is my first blog post – what a bad blogger I am!

Anyway, we’ve had 4 shows so far and met up with friends old and new, having our usual fabulous time. We started out in Brooklyn, playing a house concert hosted by an American friend met in London. It was a great night, not least of all because it was a chance for Samantha (the host) to talk about The Urban Collective Project – a fabulous music industry social enterprise that has been a great success in the UK and is now launching in the US.

It was also our first chance to try out the QSC K8 speakers that we’ve been loaned for the tour… Borrowing unknown gear for a tour always seems risky, given that you’re stuck with whatever you borrow. Fortunately, my past experiences with QSC gear suggested that the K8s would make excellent house concert speakers, and I was dead right – they are amazing. The sound was crystal clear, and they kicked out an amazing amount of bass-clarity for such tiny speakers. We’re very happy campers.

We had a rather interesting situation with our rental car, as they (unbeknowst to an American car neophyte like me) gave us a downgrade, which also had a loose front wheel! Fortunately, they made up for it with the replacement, and the loose wheel stayed on long enough for us to return the car…

Gig No. 2 was at Banannie’s house – Annie is one of the original ‘Seesmic’ crowd – back in early 2008, Seesmic was a video conversation platform, in ‘closed alpha’, and a whole load of really remarkable people formed some pretty amazing friendships on it. Annie and her lovely hubby had been to see us in Philadelphia the last time we were in the US, and were the first people to request we come and play at their place. Which we did. And it was fun. Loads of. We were late (thanks to the car mess-up mentioned before) but did have time for breakfast with them the next day. Still nowhere near enough time, but unless we took them on tour with us, it was never going to be enough time.

Gig III was another v. special occasion, as it was our first meeting with Neil Alexander – AKA @nailmusic on twitter. Neil’s one of the most amazing musicians I’ve heard and comes across online as a fascinating and lovely guy, so we were really looking forward to meeting and playing with him. He did not disappoint. He and his family were like old friends within hours, and the music we got to play together was refreshing, exciting and a delightful blend of our two musical worlds. Much of which will end up online in one form or another over the coming weeks…

Gig goes Forth – Todd Reynolds has long been one of my favourite musicians in the world. It’s no exaggeration to say that there are very few violinists on the planet that can match Todd’s combination of exemplary ‘orchestral’ skillz with composition, improvisation and looping/electronica cleverness. Perhaps none. He’s a jaw-droppingly great musician, and has been a great friend for many years. I was particularly excited to hear what he would sound like playing on Lobelia’s songs, and he exceeded my expectations. Due to flapjack being ill, Lo missed out on playing with Neil (much to her disappointment), but at the gig with Todd, they got to play quite a few tunes together, as did Todd and I.

As well as getting the great sound from the K8 speakers, we also rewired our entire live rig with Evidence Audio cables (both were shipped to the Brooklyn gig, so we had them all here for us when we arrived) – the sound of everything in our set up is cleaner and clearer than it’s ever been, so we’ve been recording all the shows (recording straight out of the MOTU Ultralite which now acts as our mixing desk, straight into Reaper on our new Dell Mini 10V netbook) – there will be a lot of music emerging from this tour!

House concert tours are all about people – we feel so blessed to have caught up with so many old friends, met some great new ones, and encountered in the flesh people we’d previously only known by their twitter names and avatars. Special mention must go to our dear friend Kevin Quickle, who came to the first two shows, and has leant us a mic stand for the tour. What a star.

This week we’re spending some time with family, and from this weekend, we’re back out playing again, starting in Toledo on Saturday. More news soon, as well as live recordings…

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