- 17/04/16 a funk jam at Bramleys — I was expecting the usual jazz/blues jam crowd playing funk, but it was a completely unfamiliar crew (from Margate I think), imported by the tirelessly enthusiastic Jules.
- Garance & The Mitochondries, also at Bramleys, a couple of days later — only found out about it a few hours before... Ewan Bleach on clarinet and baritone sax, an excellent new rhythm section, the brilliantly entertaining Garance on accordion, vocals and remarkable facial expressions, plus Leonie Evans on some backing vocals
- 22/05/16 The Fantasy Orchestra + La Mirastella at St. Peters Hall, Whitstable — the Fantasy Orchestra was something put together by Jesse Morningstar (sometime member of This Is The Kit with his wife Kate), involving an assemblage of local musicians playing/singing Morricone, Ellington, Hendrix, Bowie, the Star Trek theme and more...this is based on the model for "conducted" grassroots orchestras he's developed in Bristol, and as a bonus he was able to guarantee a decent, enthusiastic audience for La Mirastella, a new Parisian psych band he wanted to help get some gigs in the UK (they were described as psychedelic tropicalia, but I could't hear the tropicalia...still good though)
- 26/05/16 Pillowspeaker, Ekoda Map and Koloto at Club Burrito — a very attentive audience for this (mostly) electronic evening...Tom (Ekoda Map) debuted a new track based around a sample of his little son Milo babbling about cars, and Maria (Koloto) included the newer tracks "Life in Clay" and "Fay" along with the now classic Mechanica EP material, always great to hear her stuff through a decent PA.
- a couple of woodland gigs I helped facilitate: 29/05/16 The Miserichords (jazz/poetry/improv featuring Mavernie and Will from The Happy Accidents, plus experimental bassist David Leahy) with Leonie Evans (always a treat) and 13/06/16 Chris Banks (spacey guitar voyaging) plus Familia Fortouna (Yiannis and Alexis playing beautiful rebetika on guitar/lyra and bouzouki, respectively).
- 14/06/16 Adam Coney and Pete Bennie at Bramleys... I only found out a couple of hours earlier that these two members of the mighty (now largely dormant) Morviscous were playing an instrumental guitar/bass set. I last saw Pete at a Speakers Corner Quartet gig I helped put on, when he lent me a copy of Richard Mabey's Food For Free... that was four years ago, so it was nice to be able to return it! They played some far out stuff, lots of exploratory bowing from Pete, some looping, Adam playing a petrol can guitar, a piece based on four notes of a Wet Wet Wet song that had "earwormed" him some years ago and a barely identifiable reworking of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain" to conclude. I was running on minimal sleep, so experienced that one on the cusp of waking consciousness, not a bad place to experience it from though.
And Deal's as busy as ever. On 02/06/16 I dropped into The Lighthouse to see Meg Janaway & The Bujo Band (still Rachel on cajon, but now also playing some drumkit, Lulu on fiddle, with Jules having joined on double bass). A bit of a noisy crowd that night, so Meg's lyrical poetry got swamped by inane conversation, but still a good set. My birthday 11/06/16 coincided with the first date of the "Smugglers Trail", a one-day pop-up festival on Walmer Green (by the beach, across the road from The Lighthouse). I was helping Rosy with her "Chai-Angles" geodome cafe, DJing, washing up, and generally trying to be useful, but got to see some of the music, which included Molly's Lips (Phil and Billy from Cocos Lovers, Phil on the eve of flying to East Asia to tour with Nicola's brother's post-rock band, including six dates in mainland China!), The Douglas Sisters, Whisky Moonface (lovely!), The Boot Lagoon (Leonie and I ended up "prog-waltzing" in a variety of odd-numbered time signatures), Me and My Friends, and Dilla V & the Oddbeats.
So, a really great birthday. And then the next morning I walked up to Little Mongeham (the Smugglers Festival site) to take part in a film shoot for a new Deerhoof video as my eccentric alter ego Professor Appleblossom (more on that soon, watch this space!)