Friday, 12 April 2013

The morning...well, afternoon...after the night before

It was a long time coming but my first gig in about 10 years, and indeed first ever solo gig, happened last night.  It was an absolute blast.

This was the fifth of these themed nights at The Parrot bar in Carmarthen.  So far it's been Nurse With Wound, Sublime Frequencies, Coil & the Esoteric Underground, Sun Ra and now Ambient / Drone night.  I played a mix at the Esoteric Underground night but this time out I had a different idea.  I'd been saying that I wanted to play a gig or two this year and this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, particularly as these nights have a dedicated if, let's say select rather than sparse, audience.  This meant that my first time making drones on a stage was going to be a nice mellow anonymous little outing where i could ease myself back into the whole live performance thing.

It didn't quite work out that way.

When my name appeared in the event title I had a feeling that that idea was blown...

When my name appeared on the monthly listings I had a stronger inkling...

When Matt's Stretching Horizon's column appeared in the local paper on Wednesday i was fairly sure...

The big orange writing on the sign on the door did nothing to alleviate my fears...

(photo by Rhod)

And when I saw the goodly amount of people who turned up on the night I was certain...

early crowd (Quiet World alumni - Adrian Shenton & Susan Matthews amongst them)

(photo by Si)

later crowd (there're more to the left of shot and at the back right where the comfy seats are)

(photo by Si)

It's really good to see so many people willing and wanting to come out on a Thursday evening to hear something that they probably had no previous idea of just cause they saw a little article in the local paper.

We arrived early to set up and sound check...

(I love my old suitcase - there's a mixing desk and a MfOS:WSG underneath what you can see)

...only to discover we had incompatible plugs - i'm all old-school jack plugs whilst the Parrot's PA is XLR.  Luckily this was sorted by the technical genius that is Aled (thanks fella) and everything sounded nice and loud.

this is (a blurry) Aled (who worked the bar and the kitchen from 5 until midnight - kudos)

(photo by Si)

Either side of my performance we had DJ sets from first Simon

and then Matt

Matt is part owner of the club and the proprietor of the Tangled Parrot record shop upstairs (recently described in The Guardian as one of the 10 best independent record shops in Britain). These nights are also his idea (and he's recently grown a very distinguished jazz beard).

(photo by Si)

I started at around 9:30 and played a 40 minute set in front of a projection of the the pylon I used for the cover of The Prescient Machine sleeve...

 (photo by Rhod)

...and the Aurarora videos as made and provided by very buff monkey Mr. Rhod Thomas.

This is Rhod in a gold crash helmet (it's not from the night I just like it).

(photo by Jody)

The set went pretty well,  it was a little difficult to hear the subtleties of what was happening from where I was sitting and also there was a gaggle of very loud folks by the bar who talked for most of the set.  I was expecting that though - it's a pub after all - so that wasn't any sort of problem for me although a few people mentioned later that they found it annoying - Rhod described one of his video clips as being filled with "the fucking screeching nag guffawing'.

I was so pleased about the projections, I think they really helped create the vibe.

(photo by Rhod)

(photo by Rhod)

(photo by Si)

(photo by Rhod)

(photo by Rhod)

Here's a quick little vid edit

For a first gig back and all nerves aside (I've always got terrible stage fright - even when I'm teaching a new class) I think it went really well.  Met lots of new folk and finally got to meet Adrian after several years of typing to each other and had a thoroughly good time.

Many thanks to everyone who came along I hope you enjoyed it (one person told me I sounded like Tool but without the guitars - I think he may have been drunk).
A particular thanks to the Parrot crew - Matt, Si & Al - for being a fantastic bunch of chaps.
Long may these nights continue.


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