Monday, August 28, 2006

rural Devon music camp + trio debut

On Friday night Vicky and I headed out to an undisclosed location in rural Devon for a night at a low-key music camp, the same one Rupert and I spent an evening at last summer.

low-key music camp in rural Devon
the low-key music camp at an undisclosed location in rurual Devon

The weather wasn't looking too good, but in the end, it held off for most of the evening. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Steve who'd been at the previous night's Drone session, the first person we saw when we arrived - he had an acoustic bass with him which he played with great skill and enthusiasm throughout the evening. Rob, an old acquaintance who's now his landlord was also there tending the central fire. I saw Jim Invisible briefly, but he's suffering from whiplash (recent car accident), and so didn't play that night, which was a shame. Stevie P kept everyone entertained with an excellent choice of songs played on his ukelele (which he actually practices and plays really well these days) - the highlight of the evening for me was clustering around with a ukelele, saxophone, saz and acoustic bass, playing a hilarious, extended version of Chic's disco classic "Le Freak" (sung by Stevie, who's got a few other disco numbers up his sleeve). Jon E. Aris sung some of his wonderfully eccentric songs of joy and love, many people joining in (he's a regular). A slightly drunk Irish woman sung a rather lovely, unaccompanied "Black is the Colour" and an equally-lovely accompanied (by me) "Spancil Hill". When the rain finally came in, we moved into a marquee and Stevie and I got into some psychedelic jamming, before it was finally time to drive back to Exeter.

The next evening was the first gig for the new trio I've been getting together with Henry (playing drums) and Keith (playing bass) from Children of the Drone. We still haven't come up with a name. I've been contemplating "Orbis Tertius" (from the Borges story - sounds a bit pompous and Latin, perhaps), "Earth Culture", "Otherworld" (both sounds a bit too "World music"), "The Honesty Box" (too twee?), "Parliament of Gnomes" (lifted from Andy Letcher's recent book Shroom - too whimsical? Vicky pointed out that Henry is entirely lacking in gnomic qualities!)...So we ended up being announced as "The Brotherhood of the Lurid Fez", due to the lurid, makeshift fezzes Henry's wife Lucy had hurriedly made for us. It was a kind of fancy-dress, vaguely Moroccan-themed charity evening (with Moroccan food, belly dancing, etc.). We were actually playing in a marquee pitched on a croquet lawn, and had our second set interrupted for a raffle draw (how un-Rock'n'Roll can you get?). On the positive side, the event was sold out, we were very happy with our sound and people responded very positively - lust the right kind of situation for a debut gig, as no one had particularly come to see us, or knew what to expect. As we're still working out a sufficient body of material, and it's 80% improvised, we played the "same" set twice:

Afro-Cornish, Ambee Dagez (trad. Armenian), Levitating the Pentagon, Uffington Riddle, Offa's Dyke, Pisci Cuspus, Mingus/Fungus, Bonny at Morn (trad. Northumbrian)

Only the first set got recorded (apart from "Uffington Riddle" for some reason):

Listen Here

We had a lot of fun and got some lovely North African food (plus beer) for our efforts. No idea when the next gig will be, but Henry's very enthusiastic, which certainly helps.


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