Monday, February 16, 2015

the rest of 2014

This blog is still on hiatus for the next while, but I thought I'd quickly document various musical goings on for the last part of 2014:
  • A lot of saz and guitar/ukelele jams with Tom Holden at his new place (part of the old Greyfriars estate) next to Binnewith Island
  • 17/09/2014: Luke Smith and the Feelings, a free lunchtime concert in the Greyfriars grounds, part of the Wise Words poetry/spoken word festival.
  • 29/09/2014: Jouis and Syd Arthur at The Komedia, Brighton plus afterparty at Jouis's "Enterprise Point" antisquat. Jouis more intense than usual, upping the stakes, Syd sounding amazing to everyone except themselves (they have very high standards!)
  • 09/10/2014: Free Range (at new venue, Mrs. Jones' Kitchen) with Tricko (piano/cello)
  • 10/10/2014: live organic electronica from Koloto (and others) at Club Burrito
  • 12/10/2014: Owen (on clarinet) and Aidan (on my pedal harmonium) from Arlet improvisationally collaborating with Medway's "neolithic soul-drone" collective Hand of Stabs in the woods (two sets, one started by O&A, joined later by HoS, the other vice versa). My curation, very happy with the outcome! Originally this was going to be the first "battle of the clarinet and harmonium duos", but Sam Bailey and Tom Jackson pulled out, so O&A were first declared undisputed champions (without having played a note). And I got along to see Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Malian kora master Seikou Keita play a wonderful concert together at the Gulbenkian that night.
  • 17/10/14: pub reggae with Hey Maggie at The Phoenix (a bit ropey but fun, I was with good company — they seemed to have lost their drummer and organist)
  • October 2014: Listening to a lot of recordings of Syd Arthur on their recent North American tour supporting Yes, helping them choose tracks for a possible live EP. Some amazing stuff. And I got a free Yes T-shirt for my efforts!
  • 23/10/14 Mr. Lovebucket and Les Freres Smith at The Ballroom — Wow! An unforgettable night of Afrobeat vibes, blessed by Parisian visitors. Really good to see/hear Lovebucket back together, too, albeit with largely reconstructed horn section.
  • 29/10/14: Radigun (folkie duo featuring Ben from Arlet and Fred Holden on guitar), Rae and Whiskey Moonface in the woods. Pure magic. Last woodland gig of the season. Felt spoiled!
  • 30/10/14: Missed BLUBLUT at Free Range as I had Belgian visitors. Halloween fire next night with Sven playing some guitar (I didn't get my saz out) and a sweet mouth-trumpet solo from Leonie. 3/4 of Rae headed back to Bristol to record as The Evil Us's, Leonie stuck around for a few days of tranquility, not much music (just silly jams involving Miriam and my harmonium), but lovely to have her around.
  • 06/11/14: Free Range with Tim Long's machine and Lemon Otter reading disturbing poetry in Shipping Forecast voice! Fab.
  • 07/11/14: I missed the wonderful Usurp, Rise playing a gig with Lapis Lazuli at the Penny Theatre (had been invited to a Tim Ingold lecture in London)
  • 13/11/14: Relig Oran, Black Lion Courtiers (from Rochester) and The Flowing at the Ballroom after a particularly bad day. Fell in musical love with The Flowing! Got along to Free Range between bands for a bit of poetry too.
  • 20/11/14: Davy Jones Locker + Frances Knight, Robert Jarvis and Jan Ponsford at Free Range. Excellent stuff!
  • 21/11/14: Lindsay Cooper memorial concert at The Barbican in London. My coach was stuck in traffic so I missed half of the Henry Cow set (short, as they were only playing Lindsay's compositions). But that was followed by News From Babel, The Film Group and the "Oh, Moscow" ensemble, all permutations of Henry Cow and friends. A very powerful, emotional experience. Then headed to Stella's in Sussex to work on some tunes for a possible forthcoming collaborative album project.
  • 23/11/14: back to London for the Robert Wyatt book launch at the QEH. I met his half-brother Mark's daughters Saffron and Annelies + Robert's girlfriend from the 60's Pam (of "yellow suit" fame) and her schoolfriend Ali who used to follow the Wilde Flowers back in the day. Afterwards danced to Orphy Robinson DJ set (he'd played an experimental vibraphone set as part of the event) with tiny Jamaican granny (his mum?)... Met Robert briefly afterwards after Mark's niece Katrina insisted on introducing me! Talked about Lindsay Cooper and not sure what else, but it was lovely.
  • 27/11/14: baryton (renaissance instrument) recital + Begin Again Again at Free Range, then over to the Ballroom — missed Mahalas but caught last hour of new local band Glasshouse (Afro, soul, jazz, Cuban and Ethio sounds...fab!). I didn't even know they existed before this. Beautiful guest vocals on "Children of the Ghetto" (they should recruit her as their permanent vocalist).
  • 29/11/14 Arlet, Cocos Lovers and Hot Feet at the Gulbenkian. Yeah! 16 people on stage for encore. Hot Feet not what I was expecting from the name (in the same general musical space as Rae and Kairo). Matt T down recording Arlet at The Bowerhouse in Maidstone, turned up a couple of days later to play me more premixes.
  • 02/12/14: jamming with Miriam playing mandolin (a blues, simple 3-chord thing and a free jam)... nice end to a bleak-feeling day
  • 03/12/14: The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, free lunchtime concert at new UKC music building: nickelharpa, hurdy-gurdy and Hardanger fiddle. Nice. Very civilised! (Dave and Miriam came along too.)
  • 04/12/14: Bandicoot and Syd Arthur at Rafters, Maidstone. Small crowd, but friendly and enthusiastic. Bandicoot sort of Radiohead-Floyd-Hendrix, pulling in multiple directions, kind of Furthur Tent 2008 material. Last UK date for Syd on the eve of their Irish tour.
  • 06/12/14: Spiro!!! Arlet's Ben, Owen, Aidan and friends all in the audience at the The Bowerhouse in Maidstone. Tiny, cosy venue with cushions and no need for amplification. Two sets of pure awesomeness (not a word I'd use very often).
  • 09/12/14: up to The Forge in Camden for Arlet with The Magic Lantern supporting. Prof. Appleblossom did an intro on "The ontology of n-tets", Dan added some beautiful woodland projections from their residency film for the last number. Miriam (working on a musical one-woman theatre show at Battersea Arts Centre) + some of the Little Bulb crew plus Alex from Spiro in the audience.
  • 10/12/14: trainride to Rochester with Sarah F for The Flowing (support from unknown woman with strong vocal presence). Amazing set from a four-piece Flowing (Dave on guitar/vocals + french horn, ukelele and violin), caught whole thing + encore (just!) before running for last train home.
  • 18/12/14: punk rock Xmas at The Lady Luck. Surprised to see Syd Arthur's soundman John Evans playing bass (didn't know he did) with Rob Gambell and Simon Berry + Tom Holden's brother Ed (No Half Measures). They rocked! This was a band from ten years ago that plays once or twice a year now. A Ramones tribute band (The Remains) which followed were awful, The Ramones stripped of all charm.
  • 19/12/14: Up to Battersea to see Miriam's "scratch" show (and a couple of others).
  • 21/12/14: epic solstice walk (no music, apart from a minute of inebriated saz playing back round the fire with everyone in the woods). Opted out of Deal Smugglers winter solstice thing at Astor Theatre to be with everyone.
  • 22/12/14: Cantiacorum (8-week old choir) singing early music in Eastbridge Undercroft, then on to Sarah F's for mince pies and Jane Weaver's The Silver Globe via Spotify.
  • 31/12/14—01/01/15: Listening to Miriam and Mo playing mostly jazz standards at the Goods Shed while being quizzed by Varley about free will and quantum physics, then on to Tom and Soph's to spin some old vinyl (Richie Havens "Here Comes the Sun" for midnight), Liam and Joel from Syd Arthur + friends all around. Then a tipsy ramble over to The Bungalow on the Old Dover Road (Lapis Lazuli HQ) with Liam, hear about their Irish tour, end up jamming with Oli (jazz guitar), Dan Sayer (flute), Neil S (drums), unknown bass player... Liam got involved with his Teenage Engineering synth module. All a bit vague, but lots of fun. Then on to Tom H's to stand around in kitchen listening to "tunes" off someone's laptop and chatting into the first few hours of the new year.


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