Thursday, March 26, 2009
Where Am I?
Jet lag is real - I know, I'm feeling it right now. Monday night I flew the red eye back from Newark, NY and, despite having a full row of four seats to myself, got no sleep whatsoever. I did try, but a crying baby and proximity to the loo made it impossible. Still it was a novelty to be entirely horizontal on a jet plane - now I know how the first class passengers feel (they have some very natty bed/chair type thingies these days).
New York was good fun. It was fantastic to see Alex again, and I enjoyed staying in Brooklyn and traveling around different parts of the city on the subway. I really like New York, it's probably my third favourite city in the world (after London and Paris) and particular highlights this time were walking in Brooklyn Heights (great view of Manhattan), viewing art in Chelsea (Deitch Projects is always interesting), eating in 'the only diner in LIC' (that's Long Island City of course) and catching a funky Brazilian influenced jazz band in the West Village. I have to confess that I didn't make it to any open mic nights (boo!) - preferring instead to have a break from playing - which has really energised me for more gigs here.
After arriving home on Tuesday morning I got a text from my friend Wayne reminding me that it was Hadar Manor's album launch at the 12 Bar Club that night! Well I um'd and ah'd for about half an hour before deciding that I might as well fight the fatigue and go anyway. I have to say I am very glad I did. The 12 Bar Club is a very strange venue which used to be an old forge or something, and it's very hard to see some of the acts due to the close proximity of stage and balcony. All the same it was a very special night. The warm-up acts included a bagpipe player, a harpist, and several singer-songwriters who were all excellent. Hadar sat in with most of them, and I began to wonder how her set could match up - but I needn't have worried. When she finally took to the stage with her band (a little later than advertised) they produced one of the finest live performances I think I have ever seen. With the peerless Wayne Myers on guitar and Tom Fry on bass (sorry, don't know the drummer's name, but he was excellent too - AND he had a nice hat) they were joined by a succession of other musicians. Violin, trumpet, vocals, percussion, harp, keyboards and guitar accompanied a wonderful set that covered all the emotions and was constantly entertaining.
Here are the other artists who I saw that night: Vashti Anna, Sean Taylor, Bare Hat, Judith Haustein, Wayne Myers, Diego Lavardes, Daniel Spiller & The Broken Record Project, Gemma Fuller, Tom Fry, Geoff Southall, Spencer Pierce, The Entertainment, Beth Rowley...
(Pictured are Hadar Manor, Wayne Myers on guitar, drummer in nice hat and you can just about see Tom Fry on right of the shot)
Tiredness overtook me rapidly after Hadar finished so I headed home in a drowsy (but happy) haze.
I finally fell asleep at about midnight...
...and woke up at 3pm the next afternoon!!
Somehow, despite all this sleep/music induced euphoria, I managed to practice for tonight's gig at the White Hart in Whitechapel. It's easy to get to, just take a tube to Whitechapel station, turn left as you exit and walk up to Mile End Road... the venue is upstairs. There is music tonight from 7.30pm (open mic, including my mate Ashley Cowen) and then featured acts from 9.00pm - I'm due onstage at 9.30pm and will be off half an hour later so don't be late!!
I can promise some looped delights, weird vocals and carefully crafted songs both old and new... and that's just me!
See you there.