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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Video of Friday night's gig…

July 27th, 2008 · Comments Off on Video of Friday night's gig…

Here’s some fun video from Friday night’s gig at The Perseverence in London – the whole thing was streamed live, and archived, so that you can watch 45 minutes of it now! It starts of with Lobelia playing solo, then I join in, and finish up with a solo tune…

Enjoy!

Oh, and don’t miss Tuesday night’s gig at Darbucka! 🙂

Tags: gig dates · Gig stuff · Music News

"Nobody owes you their attention" – thoughts on multi-act gigs and audiences…

May 13th, 2008 · 4 Comments




Miriam and Jez again

Originally uploaded by solobasssteve

Friday night, I went out to a fabulous gig – Miriam Jones was playing at The Perseverance in London, with Jez Carr on piano, so Lo and I, along with lovely Susan went to see them. And they were, in a word, outstanding. Miriam’s amazing (check it out for yourself, she’s got a free album to download from her website) and you all know Jez is great from his playing on Conversations.

Anyway, their fabulousness is not the primary reason for this post. It’s what happened when they finished that inspired this… Miriam was the middle of three acts on, all doing half hour sets. The times weren’t announced before the gig, so we turned up at around the start time, and sat through the first bloke. Not great, but not dreadful either.

Having not seen Jez in months, or lovely Susan for even longer cos she lives in NYC, one of the main reasons we were there was to catch up with them. The gig was in the upstairs room of a pub, so we headed downstairs for a chat. This clearly riled the guy that was on last, whose behaviour implied that we should somehow feel obliged to stay and listen to him… We didn’t feel obliged, and didn’t stay to listen – his was a name I recognised from the circuit (the gig was put on by Freedom Of Expression), he wasn’t someone I’d had recommended to me, so didn’t feel any urgency to check him out either way. But crucially, I also didn’t feel animosity towards him either.

However, at the end of his set he came down to the bar, across to where we were sat and said to Miriam, curtly, ‘I enjoyed your set, shame you couldn’t be bothered to listen to mine’. OWN GOAL!!! With that one sentence he pretty much guaranteed that no-one at that table would EVER bother to go and see him play. Before that line, we’d have all probably checked him out next time as a name we were familiar with. After it he was put in the box marked ‘miserable shitheads’, not to be bothered with.

His problem was assuming that his music ought to be at the top of the priority list of people who know nothing about him. People who all had VERY good reasons to not listen to him on that night. People who if they had been forced to sit through a set instead of chatting would have ended up resenting him, and certainly wouldn’t be predisposed to liking what he did. People who, if he’d left them alone may well have stuck around to see him next time.

Look, there’s always a load of great reasons for someone not watching you play, for them not turning up early enough to see your support slot, for not sticking around to see you play last, for not coming to your show, for missing your bit on the radio… Nobody owes you their attention. Attention is a currency we trade in. We earn it, we should respect and appreciate it, and we shouldn’t ever get upset when live music isn’t at the top of someone’s priority list.

Maybe it’s part of the artistic temperament to be utterly self-absorbed, but it’s a tendency we HAVE to get away from, or we end up doing what sh’teed did on Friday night and actively turning future potential fans off from ever wanting to hear us.

If we’d sat at the back of the venue and chatted, he’d have had reason to be annoyed. That’s just rude, and it spoils it for everyone else. But the simple equation is it’s way better to play to 5 people who REALLY WANT TO BE THERE, than to 30/50/100/whatever who are there out of some misplaced sense of obligation or etiquette and really want to be elsewhere.

Don’t get caught thinking you’re the centre of the universe. You aren’t. I’m not, no musician is. And next time you play, thank your audience for being there and mean it! 😉


Tags: Musing on Music · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

more streaming video from me and Lobelia

November 13th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Last friday, I played with Lo. at the Freedom Of Expression night in Marylebone, London, and once again it was archived for your viewing and listening pleasure. And this time, I actually took my pedals with me – hurrah! It’s a lovely little gig, and well worth a watch…

Enjoy!

Tags: cool links · Gig stuff · Music News

Four gigs coming up in the London area…

September 22nd, 2007 · Comments Off on Four gigs coming up in the London area…

After a bit of a barren time gig-wise, I’ve got four London shows coming up – a couple more half hour sets at the Freedom of Expression nights in Croydon and Marylebone, a return gig at a church event in West London called The Waiting, and the much later on in the month, the Recycle Collective is back at Darbucka, this time featuring the genius talents of Patrick Wood and Roy Dodds.

Patrick’s done lots of Recycle gigs before, and always brings a whole load of beauty, funkiness and melodic magic to the gigs. His playing at this year’s Greenbelt Recycle gig was some of the finest Rhodes playing I’ve ever witnessed, especially in an improv setting. So I’m really looking forward to that!

Roy is an amazing drummer that I first heard playing in Estelle Kokot’s trio, then played with him in John Lester’s band at the 606, and recently heard him playing with Theo Travis’ new project Doubletalk at the Vortex. But I’ve been listening to him play for 20 years, as he was the drummer in Fairground Attraction, and has played with Eddi Reader ever since. I’ve found over the years with the RC that the musicians who are primarily ‘song’ players tend to improvise the most coherently; players who are as happy supporting what’s going on as they are leading. and both Patrick and Roy have that quality by the bucket-load. They’re both fantastic versatile musicians, and I’m really excited about it…

So for more details see the gigs page on my website, or the event page at last.fm, or the event page on facebook.

Tags: gig dates · Gig stuff · Musing on Music

fun gig.. eventually

July 27th, 2007 · Comments Off on fun gig.. eventually

So Mum and I went down to see my lovely Grandparents in the tin-box-on-wheels, a little later than planned due to road closures (pointless detail for the benefit of The Cheat – he panics if he doesn’t get the full picture). Lovely day spent with Les Gramps, then mum and I set off to Gipsy Hill in South London for me to play at Freedom Of Expression II – the second of the nights that Tim Eveleigh is now running (the first being the one in Croydon that I’ve played a few times, and the third being one i’m playing soonish… need to add that to the gig calendar).

Anyway, once again, I gave Google Maps directions far too much benefit of the doubt, and we got hopefully lost in that bit of South London that has towns called things like Pratt’s Bottom and Badger’s Arse or something…. So it took us about 45 minutes longer than it should’ve to get there.

But when we did, all was good – the lovely Cara Winter was on stage as we got there, sounding great as always, was followed by the also-great Gaz Twist, followed by me. The sound was great, the new strings were a little disconcerting (I change the strings on my fretless every 2 years or so, so new strings feel VERY odd to start with…) but I played OK, talked rubbish, and a fun time was had by all.

This morning my car was ready to be picked up, so I took the tin-box back, paid the £369 that could’ve been so much more if what they did hadn’t got it through, and got into my own car… shit, this thing’s easy to drive!!! Only after the tin box did I really get the full contrast. I remember what it felt like when I first got it, after 10 years of knackered diesel fiestas… yummmm.

And onto today magazine columns to be written, albums to be recorded, stuff to be packed. The life of the itinerant solo bassist…

Tags: Music News

Croydon gig

October 3rd, 2006 · Comments Off on Croydon gig

Just back from a lovely little gig in Croydon, at the Freedom Of Expression night down there. Modeled on quality acoustic nights like the Kashmir and The Bedford, Tim Eveleigh has put together a great little gig down there.

I say ‘down there’ – Croydon’s a hell of a long way away! I’m sure I saw signs just before I got there saying ‘you are now entering Mordor – heyre be dragons’ – I felt like Reapacheep in Voyage Of The DawnTreader, getting into my little boat and sailing off to the end of the world…

Anyway. The line up was fab, but the audience was even better – especially one completely nuts woman who spent her entire time there shouting in a really loud and shrill voice at her brow-beaten broken-looking husband. Oh, and at anyone who suggested she might keep her voice down during the music. A total disaster that just screamed ‘mail order bride’ – came across as one of the most obnoxious people I’ve ever seen, but had sadly left before I went on, or we’d have had some fun.

As it was, I realised just before I went on that I’d forgotten the power supply for the Looperlative!! Oh bugger. Not good at all. There goes all the tunes off the new album that I was planning to do.

Fortunately, help came in the form of the lovely Cara Winter, who had been using a DL4 for some excellent vocal loopage in her set, and offered to lend it to me. Yay! It’s a hell of a long time since I last did a gig with a DL4, that’s for sure! But it meant I could do Grace And Gratitude, Amo Amatis Amare, an improv groovy thing call ‘Mail Order Bride’, and in between I did What A Wonderful World, Deep Deep Down (the Eric Roche tune) and Deeper Still. All in all, not a bad set, which was very well received, even by the mad drunk bloke who kept giving me quite positive heckles, but didn’t seem to mind me just referring to him as ‘nutter’.

So, a fab gig – if you live in Mordor, (or even Morden) do check out Freedom Of Expression – it’s every Tuesday night, and I’m bound to be back down there soon…

Tags: Music News