Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Present

I had not particular plans to write another post this year, but I experienced another wonderful evening of music at The Duchess in Battersea Park on Thursday and couldn't let it pass unrecorded. The open mic night at The Duchess is hosted by Will O'Durkan who always gets the evening off to a great start with a couple of tunes. We used to play down by the gents loos (which was always entertaining when someone started up the hand dryer - the whole stage shook), but recently the stage was moved to near the door and it's a much better place to play. I was second on after Will and, despite my half-pint of Guiness slightly skewwing my timing, felt I played well. I played Lightkeeper, The Fool I Am and I Need Your Love. A quick audience poll (picking between happy and up-beat, or sad and Christmassy) chose When The Snow Fell In Denver as the last tune (guess which one of the two that is!!). Of course I can't really comment on my set, but if any performers or listeners are reading this, feel free to leave your review as a Blog comment.

After that the performers all hit a really high mark. I don't remember the exact order, but praise must go to Ashley Cowan (great first tune, pictured above), Dog Boy (super sing-a-long to the tune My Love Is Subject To Change), Tobacco Brown (multi-talented picker hailing from Vancouver and Croydon - I particularly liked the rhythmic guitar tapping), Tammay (lovely strong voice) and Steve the harp-playing, box thumping osteopath!

In the end I got so into the whole event that I had to run for my train... and missed it anyway! But even the overly long journey home could not diminish what had been a top drawer night of entertainment. And you don't even have to pay to get in!! I'm really looking forward to more nights there in the new year - perhaps I'll see you there too?

All the best,


P.S. Have just been over to Giggles blog, and had to give a mention to the gold-hearted Nitebyrd - who not only said very nice things about my music in her Blog, but also has just played Santa with a lovely gift. Visit her now and spread the love!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Surface Unsigned Festival - 1st February 2009

I am playing on the 1st February 2009 as part of the Surface Unsigned Festival 09.

1st February 2009, 9.30pm
Surface Unsigned Music Festival, Boston Music Room, 178 Junction Rd, Tufnell Park, N19 5QQ

This is a large series of gigs that support and promote unsigned acts all across the UK. However, in order to get through to the more exciting latter rounds you have to survive the earlier "battle of the bands" style rounds. Which is were you can help in one of two ways:

1) If you are free on the 1st February and can get to north London (Tufnell Park) - then please come along to my heat and give your support. I'm on at 9.30pm and you will get a chance to vote for your favourite act of the evening. If you can attend then please get your ticket(s) from me as this will save £1 on the door fee. Please add a comment to this post or email me (music @ - remove the spaces) with the number of tickets required and an address to send them to. Tickets are £6 each, please bring the money with you on the night).

2) If you cannot get to the gig, then you can support me by text message. To vote for me text "LONDON 6004" to 64343. (You must be 16+ to vote, texts cost £1.00 plus standard network charges. Please get permission from the bill payer. Customer services: or contact us on 0800 434 6076). You can vote any time from now right up to the gig and the votes will be counted on the night and added to my score in the venue.

Many thanks in advance for your support, I will send out more reminders in the new year, but thought I would send this invite out early in the hope that as many people as possible can make it along.

Can I also take this chance to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Thank you for all your support and love in 2008, see you all in 2009 if not before,


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

900 Seconds (approx.)

Short post today, as tomorrow I start a campaign to drum up support for a competition I'm entering. Just to say that Sunday's gig at the 15 Minute Club @ Prohibition was another excellent night. All the acts were really strong and the atmosphere was excellent. If you haven't yet been to one of their nights then I cannot recommend them enough. They are run at three venues (two in London and one in Oxford) and are free to get into. You always get 5 up and coming acoustic acts, plus music from the hosts, and often a musical jam at the end. Check out their MySpace site (below) for more information. I'm playing at all the venues (including a trip out to Oxford) and those dates are below.

And here is when I'm playing there:

11th January 2009, 8.00pm
15 Minute Club @ The Living Room Oxford
1 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY

25th January 2009, 8.00pm
15 Minute Club @ The Living Room
18-26 Essex Road,Islington, N1 8LN

1st February 2009, 9.30pm
Surface Unsigned Music Festival
More on this tomorrow!

22nd February 2009, 7.30pm
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition
St. Katherine's Docks, London, E1W 1AA


P.S. I'm one short of 40 fans on Facebook - go on, make my year and add yourself!! 40 seems appropriate somehow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All Elbows And Arms

This week I played two gigs in two days. Wednesday was a last minute fill-in at the Fiddler's Elbow in Chalk Farm. I enjoy playing there as the sound is good and you actually have monitors on the stage so I can hear what I'm doing. It was a very cold night, but a good crowd came out and we had a really good evening. Had a bit of a technical disaster during Denver. There is a spot when I have to change patch on my voice processor and then sing a note and then stop playing. The idea is that the note rings out in the gap at a tempo that I've tapped in earlier (are you following this?!) I then join in playing at the same speed. Unfortunately I managed to not change the patch, so I sang the note, stopped playing and... nothing! Nightmare, still I think I got away with it. You can hear how it should sound here:

Daren's Videos

Thursday night took me to the fabulous Montague Arms in New Cross. This was the last of my birthday celebrations and boy did we celebrate in style. The event was billed as a Masquerade Ball and it was great that so many people got into the spirit and either brought masks, or made them at the craft table (pictured above). All the artists that performed were excellent: Anne-Marie Sanderson, Eddy Jay, Steve Antoni and Wayne Myers - thank you all. Many even played in masks, which is quite a feat! I didn't manage that as my mask kept hitting the microphone! My set was interrupted by the arrival of a wonderful homemade birthday cake (yes, with 40 candles!!) - thank you Victoria!! I was also somewhat spooked out by all the posters and "Daren" masks that people were wearing.

The night was capped by the arrival of Uncle Santa (Santa's lesser known reindeer loving brother) and a sing-a-long with karaoke Santa too! Quite frankly the whole evening was excellent, and it all carried on afterwards back at Frog and Vicky's place with Doctor Who and Strawberry flavoured vodka (and the world's cheapest Scotch!). If you've not yet been to 2nd Thursdays at the Montague Arms - then get along. It's every 2nd Thursday of the month and it always fun and interesting.

Don't forget to ink in 1st February for my gig in Tufnell Park - more details to follow next week and look out for some more excellent live shots from Kris Gruber.

This Sunday I'm at Prohibition for 15 Minute Club. Do come down!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Music Mayhem

This week is the last chance to officially celebrate my birthday, but what a lot of chances there are!!

First and foremost is the fantastic - Masquerade Ball at the Montague Arms in New Cross. It's part of a series of wonderful and enjoyable events that are run every 2nd Thursday in the month. This time around you need to be wearing a mask to get fully into the vibe, for those unable to organise one before the night there will be a craft table to make your own. Yes, at the Montague you really do get to be a kid again. Since this event is partly to celebrate my birthday I've chosen all the acts, so you will be able to listen to and flirt with anonymously: Fit & The Conniptions (half inscrutable Guinness slurping Wayne Myers and half hilariously self-deprecating webcomic!), Steve Antoni (singer, songwriter, guitarist, inspirational teacher and published poet), Jacen Bruce (the spirit of Rock'n'Roll incarnate), Anne-Marie Sanderson (acoustic angel of the north), Eddy Jay (talented folk picker extraordinaire), Frog Morris (he's a big Doctor Who fan y'know) and myself. Now if that line-up hasn't got you salivating then there is a buffet too! Yes, this is the place to be alright. So be there - this Thursday 11th December - kick off is around 8pm.

If you really can't make it to the masked mayhem on Thursday, then you can catch me at one of the following other gigs:

7th December, 8.30pm
The Horn, Victoria Street, St. Albans, AL1 3TE
- a return to the open mic night at this lively venue

10th December, 8.00pm
The Fiddler's Elbow, 1 Malden Road, London, NW5 3HS

11th December, 8.30pm
Montague Arms, 289 Queens Rd, New Cross, London, SE15 2PA
- have I mentioned this yet?

14th December, 7.30pm
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, St. Katherine's Docks, London, E1W 1AA

18th December, 8.00pm
The Duchess, Battersea Park
- the last Open Mic night of the year!

So there you have it. Hope to see you all at a gig very soon - I'm off to practice for my floorspot at The Horn tonight.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008


1968 - what a year that was: Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy are assassinated, protests against the Vietnam war continue - the Beatles and Stones rule the airwaves. Iconic images appear everywhere: the black power salute at the Mexican Olympics, the tanks rolling into Prague and the world changing Earthrise picture taken by William Anders from Apollo 8 - the first manned spaceflight to the Moon (or anywhere that wasn't Earth for that matter).

And on 2nd December that year a boy was born in the Barony Hospital in Nantwich, Cheshire.

If you have a drink in your hand at any point today, then drink a toast to me and wish me a happy birthday - I'll know when you do, and thank you all for your support and love over the last year.

Here's to the children of '68!