Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The Summer Of Music
Much as I do enjoy the performance and art things that I get involved in, it's nice to get back to my first love from time to time. The last few weeks have been filled with playing and appreciating music of all kinds. On Thursday 3rd I headed to The Duchess in Battersea Park with my wonderful (and now glowing) friend Sarah Peach in tow. I've played a few times at this open mic night and it's always an enjoyable experience, in no small part due to the ebullient (and perhaps occasionally, slightly drunk - only slightly mind, and only occasionally) host - Will O'Durkin. For various reasons this was the last open mic night 'til September, so I really wanted to play. It turned out that one of those reasons was that Will and partner were having a baby, and as coincidence would have it, it's due on more or less the same day as Peachy's. In between the baby chat, I managed to play four tunes and was happy with how it went.
Next appointment was on Wednesday 9th when Peachy and I ventured out again, this time to the Jazz Cafe to see our friends Katrina and U'mau perform. True to form, we arrived too late to see Soul Bar, but did manage to catch a large part of the set by Tunday Akintan & The Yorubeat AllStars (catchy name that!) - who were an excellent set of funky musicians. U'mau was singing and the whole vibe was upbeat and infectious.
Thursday 10th brought a trip to New Cross for 2nd Thursdays at the Montague Arms. This evening was Ladies Night and once again the entertainment was diverse and interesting. The highlights were Holly & Jenny's montage of embarrassing situations and overhead mobile phone conversations and aerobics (highly enjoyable), Caroline De Lannoy's fragments of words and feelings to even more fragmented piano stabs (highly stimulating) and Jo Stevenson's songs and ukulele playing (highly hilarious). Her song about Hitler being her favourite dictator is a work of comic genius. Emma Leach was also giving medical advice to pub goers and performers alike, although by the time I got round to it she'd finished! I was also grilled (in the nicest possible way) by Felicity Mukherjee about safety and security in London, this might have actually been a performance art piece by Lucy Panesar, but as is often the case these days, it was kinda hard to tell. It seemed professional and off-beat enough to be entirely genuine.
Okay, slight art diversion there... back to the tunes. Sunday night saw me trekking a long way north to the Fiddler's Elbow near Chalk Farm station (how do you farm chalk exactly?). Two reasons for the trip, firstly to see my friend Johnny Ryder play (young, talented, good-looking, footloose, fancy free... ah he's just sooo like me... ha ha) play and secondly to check out the venue as I'm doing a set there myself this Wednesday (16th). Johnny was not having the best night, his acoustic guitar had given up the ghost, so he was forced to do his solo set on a borrowed electric guitar. It took him a while to warm up, but by song three he was cooking on gas. He sounds like a mixture of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Joan Armatrading, if you can imagine such a multi-headed musical beast. Following Johnny were Hedorah (sort of Garbage-lite - very pretty singer, moments of genius), Lost Gravity (lost in a rock-timewarp, the guitarist couldn't have been more Angus Young if he actually was Angus Young, and the bass player looked like an estate agent on his night off, great fun though. One of their fans had dreadlocks to his ankles, I kid you not!) and Thick As Thieves (super friendly guitarist - he loaned his guitar to Johnny - my personal favourite band of the night).
Well that's a round up of my musical week or so. My turn to play at the Fiddler's Elbow on Wednesday 16th, do come down. It's a great little rock venue, and I'm really looking forward to playing loud and unrestrained. Be there - 8pm.
Love to all,
P.S. Pics top: U'mau with Tunday Akintan & The Yorubeat AllStars, bottom: Johnny Ryder