Sunday, July 23, 2017

Musician for Hire!

July 22nd 2017
Now that music forms the main part of my income, I have to get used to the idea of very short notice gigs from time to time, luckily my semi-acoustic and acoustic guitars were already packed following a more technically full-on rehearsal than usual with Rickety Wireless the night before. 

If it had been a gig with The BYs for example, I would've needed maybe an extra hour to get stuff unpacked from my strat/SG bags and into the acoustic/semi set up.

Here's what I said on my 
instagram account about this gig supporting the opening Mexon Street Market Thanks very much to the team there who rallied round for me and really looked after me, not something you take for granted in music!:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

All for Alsager!

July 16th 2017.

Packed out in front of the stage.
Thanks to Stath Kyrantonis, one of the hard-working Alsager Music Fest organisers,  for this photo.

Many thanks to Martin Butterworth for this photo.
art of my preparations for this gig was, I explained in this instagram post, was to stop my continual problem at gigs of the unscheduled 'moving of the dials' of my delay pedal, which is otherwise a beautiful sounding bit of kit. and it worked, no unexpected psychedelic moments!

I think I'm right in saying that I've been lucky enough to perform at every single Alsager Music Festival since it began a few years ago, but this was the best one yet personally as I got the excitement of playing with my mighty bandee-pals The Blue Yellows!

Introducing a song, or summit.
Many thanks to Ceri Bugg for the photo.
This is now one of the best music festivals you will find anywhere. Any fellow musos reading will know what an enormous physical, psychological and emotional burden is behind all the work that goes into every gig, especially at the gig itself, but events like this make it all worthwhile, the organisers work on this all the year round and it show, hats off to them! The crowds who came along to support us... many familiar faces and many new ones, you were incredible, thank you so much from all of us at BYs central.
We hope to see you again soon!

I'm always in a constant battle with my nerves before a show something I wrote of, recently; sometimes winning (successfully turning the nerves into a quietly focused excitement) sometimes not so much... it's especially hard sometimes when so many good friends turn up to see you and support you and you know you really ought to acknowledge them and chat with them and thank them for coming, but you also want to be locked away somewhere to work on blocking everything out and getting into the zone, and warming up on the guitar. So, I'm really delighted to see them, but end up feeling incredibly guilty that I hardly spoke to them! So, thank you, you know who you are, and sorry!

Something that did help me relax was finally getting to see the wonderfully talented Gary Wilcox and various different combinations of bands he is in. As a talented songsmith, radio show host and musician, Gary is one of those people who seem to be at the fulcrum of something of a scene; for one thing his radio show really helps a lot of under the radar talent out there and he also either fronts or is in the bands Wilcox-Hulse, Don't Call Me Ishmael some of whom stayed on with the rest of The Taskers who were also ace! All fabulous bands that all have something of a folk-rock element and great vocal harmonies or backing vocal combinations. I especially enjoyed DCMI who were sometimes lilting, sometimes stonking, but always drawing you into emotional musical stories. Great stuff!

Our own set was inspired and pushed on by the amazing crowds. Thank you Alsager Music Fest, thank you to your amazing team of organisers putting on this brilliant, brilliant event, to the lovely Lodge pub, thanks to those who came along, strangers and friends!
YOU make it all worthwhile!

Em from the BYs enjoys  Gary Wilcox with young Casper.

HUGE Thanks to David Barrs for all his hard work videoing and uploading!!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Cars in the Arts Lab (*and a sad discovery while writing this post).

Multi-Disciplinary artist Mark Sheeky has a regular arts show on Redshift Radio featuring all new, all never previously released work. It's a fantastic concept and to be honest with you, I'm amazed he manages to make a whole hour long show each week of the work submitted, given the context, but I guess it just goes to show how much is happening out there.

Mark requested submissions on the subject of 'Cars' and I couldn't resist. I wanted to make sure the dark side of car culture was included. After all, some 1.3 million people are killed on the roads each year worldwide and car use is a major contributing factor in global warming, which threatens much of life on Earth, particularly coral reefs at the moment and ultimately all life which depends on a diverse eco-system, like humans. *As Heathcote Williams put it, cars represent "a humdrum holocaust, the third world war nobody bothered to declare" (In Autogeddon, 1991). 
*See bottom of post.

I knocked this up in a few hours. You can hear the original version on the 'listen-again' mixcloud of Mark's show (this is the 1st track on the show). Today, I have also added drums.
There are no synths here, the whooshing sound representing cars racing about is actually slide guitar of sorts, actually an empty beer bottle on my Firebird and shed-loads of reverb!

The plan is to make this a temporary download, so if you like this dark soundscape, then download it quick. As Mark says in his show, wear headphones to make the most of it.

Listen again to Mark's show below:

*Heathcote Williams, particularly his piece 'Autogeddon', has been enormously influential and inspiring for me. In researching a link for this blog post, I have just found out that he died, just a few days ago on July 1st.
Please read his outstanding works Whale Nation and Autogeddon.