Another fine Darbucka gig

So last night I was back at Darbucka, which, contrary to previous knowledge is no longer underneath India EC1 – they’ve taken over the upstairs part now, and the whole place is Darbucka! How cool is that?

Anyway, ’twas my third gig there, and I love playing there. The atmosphere is fab, the seating very relaxed and the owner, Ahmad is a good friend and supporter of live music.

Last night was extra-specially fun due to my two special guests, BJ Cole and Cleveland Watkiss.

The slightly surreal air that seems to drift around at my gigs began even before the show started, with George Galloway being in the venue when we got there… …sadly, he wasn’t there for an evening of mellow bass noodling, and left not long after we arrived to set up.

First set was just me, doing my thing. It was fun to play a slightly longer set, and get to play a couple of old tunes I haven’t played for a while – Highway One, and No More Us And Them, as well as a couple of new tunes – one slow country-ish thing so far called ‘What Happens When You Listen To Too Much Gillian Welch Late At Night’ (subject to change), and another untitled one, dedicated to Eric Roche a great friend and genius musician, going through a bit of a rough patch. (speaking of Eric, he’s playing at The Troubadour in Earl’s Court tonight, and is unmissably good – please go along and support him, you’ll thank me afterwards.)

Response to both old and new tunes was good, and Cleveland arrived during the last song of the set, so that was good!

Second set began with me on my own doing on tune (No More Us And Them, I think), and then BJ joined me for the next world premier of the evening – it was the first time BJ and I had played anything that was pre-written together. Usually, we just start playing and see where it goes. This time, we did a tune that BJ had joined in on in my soundcheck, a new tune called ‘So Long And Thanks For All The Thumbs’, and he added a huge amount of loveliness to the track! We then followed that with a bleepy, trippy improv, which ended with BJ in fine industrial soundscape mode, wringing all manner of weird and wonderful sounds from his knitting machine. What a fab player!

So I then kicked him off the stage, and brought up guest #2 for world premier #3 – Cleveland Watkiss. This was the first time Cleveland and I had played together on stage – we’ve played together twice before, but both times in my living room. He started us off with a clicky vocal percussion track, which I looped, slightly out of time, and we glitched it into a really really cool percussive soundscape with layers of oohs and aahs, and some dubby vocal samples, just him singing and me tweaking. At one point I was tempted to join in, but it didn’t need it, so I carried on tweaking and he carried on singing, and that was tune #1.

The second tune we did I started it off, funky thing in Am, which built up with layers and layers of fantastic beatbox into a full on clubby dancey thing, wah-wah guitars, clattering drums, dub vocals, all from just he and I. Another big success.

To finish off, I closed the main set with ‘People Get Ready’, then got BJ and Cleveland back for a mellow country ballad improv thing which just topped off the evening perfectly. A resounding success!

Hopefully I’ll be back at Darbucka before too long, I love it there!

if you want to get BJ’s or Cleveland’s CDs, you can get BJ’s here and Cleveland’s here (BJ’s newest album Trouble In Paradise is fantastic, as is Cleveland’s duet with Nikki Yeo)

If you were at the gig, please post your thoughts over in the reviews section of my forum.

Soundtrack – Maxwell, ‘Embrya’; Lewis Taylor, ‘Lewis Taylor’.

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