a gigful week

so that’s two down, one to go of this week’s gigs… actually three down if you count the Masterclass on Tuesday afternoon as a gig. Anyway, Tuesday, yes – set off early to pick up Rob Jackson from Cambridge, nice lunch, drive to Leicester. The masterclass was at Leicester College, arranged by access to music – marvellous organisation who put on clinics, tours, resource music colleges and run courses of their own. Great people to be working with.

So Rob and I did a clinic for a bunch of bassists and guitarists, talking about technique and looping and the industry and running your own business as a musician and all that stuff. Seemed to be very well received.

Off to the venue – The Looking Glass – in Leicester. Unloaded into a really groovy little cellar venue room. Out for a bite to eat with Jono from Access To Music, back to set up for gig. sometime around now, a piano player started playing in the bar upstairs, clearly audible in the venue downstairs… uh-oh.

Rob went on, played beautifully, did valiant job of ignoring piano-monkey upstairs (who, to be fair, was only doing his job…) A request to the barman to ask him to turn down didn’t appear to make any difference to the sound level, and it proved to be a big distraction during my whole set. At least for me, if not for the audience, especially when play-me-the-song-I’m-the-piano-man started banging his foot out of time with me and himself… not ideal conditions for a gig, and as a result, I didn’t play particularly well. Still, very warm response from the audience (which was not a bad size considering the gig was booked at the weekend…)

Very nice to see a friendly face or two there (thanks Phil)

Wednesday – Rob dashed home to tend to Rob-things, Kerry Getz arrived back, nice lunch, then learn Kerry’s tunes for gig that night. Kerry’s tunes, it has to be said, involve more key changes than this bassist is used to – I do all that repetitive looping nonsense, I’m not used to four or five key-changes in a tune! Still, I’m a pro, so it’s not hard, just a novelty, like combining the mindset of a jazz gig with music of a top-class singersongwriter gig. Anyway, Kerry’s songs are marvellous, so the songs weren’t hard to pick up – they make sense, which helps.

Drive down to The Bedford, in Balham, meet The Small Person and a rather drunk The Cheat there. Also on the bill are Cathy Burton and Dan Wheeler – good chums of long-standing – and it turns out the Johnny Berliner (his real name, not some obtuse JFK/donut reference) was on in the same venue as me at Edinburgh, in a children’s show, and gigging in the late night cabaret venue too! It’s always nice when someone wanders up back-stage and says ‘I was listening to your CD yesterday!’ – don’t happen all that often, mind you, but when it does, it improves that particular day by about 7 or 8 happiness/smugness points on the Saint and Grievesy happiness/smugness scale.

Acoustix at The Bedford is run by one Tony Moore – Tony used to run the Kashmir Klub, near Baker Street, which was in its time one of the most important and influential venues in London, due in no small part to Tony’s passion and enthusiasm for making top quality acoustic music available in nice venues to appreciative audiences. He’s tireless in his support for such things, and one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. A good man, for sure.

Kerry and I are on first (after Tony’s own song opens the show), we play Ocean In A Bottle, and Suspended in December (as an insight into the way my brain works, I wondered quite how the theme of the song would change if the title were suspenders in December, imagining that to be a rather cold and impractical clothing choice for such a time of year…) All goes well.

After us, Cathy and Dan, play, followed by Johnny Donut, Sarah Slean (fab canadian piano playing singer/songwriter person – at the Borderline tomorrow night), and a couple of others (sorry, didn’t write down names…). All good stuff.

Second set, order changes, we’re on second last, first song is duo – Julianne – another fine song. Second one Kerry does on her own, and half way through a recurring problem with the battery compartment on her guitar kicks in and the guitar cuts out. Cue me getting back on stage to hold the battery in place for the rest of the song… very odd, but funny nonetheless.

Tonight Rob and I are in Colchester at The Headgate Theatre. I’m looking forward to this one, as it’s a lovely venue – I’ve no idea how many people are going to be there, but whatever, it should be fun.

Before that, I’m trying to sort out final details for a couple of gigs in the US at the end of October (I’m heading over for a wedding, and taking a bass with me), and also the last couple of gigs with Michael Manring.

SoundtrackJuliet Turner, ‘Burn The Black Suit’; Nick Harper, ‘Blood Songs’; Andy Thornton, ‘Victims And Criminals’; Micheal Manring, ‘Thonk’; Joni Mitchell, ‘Both Sides Now’.

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