Monday, June 08, 2009

Summertime (Almost)

The Sun has made an appearance in London, and we've all been enjoying it while we can. It may not last long! This is partly why I've not written an update recently, but it's also partly because I've been very busy musically with gigs and recording for the charity album "Faith" in full swing.

Here's a bit of a round-up of what's been happening.

Duchess Showcase

It really was one of the nicest days of the year so far when I turned up to play at the infamous Duchess Showcase run by the excellent host Will O'Durkan. The Duchess has a stunning view of the looming Battersea Power Station (see picture above) and it's particularly impressive from the balcony where we hung out before the gig. The music itself was of the high standard that the Showcase prides itself on. Reuben Hollebon kicked things off with his enigmatic and individual vocal style. Laine Hines then played his retro blues eschewing microphones and amplified guitar to reach the room directly.

In total contrast to Liane I took to the stage with my VoiceLive box and looper pedal ready to go. In the end I didn't really use them as a combination of the vibe of the night and some monitoring problems meant they weren't really suitable to the evening. In the end a quiet version of After All seemed to go down the best. Many thanks to Frog and Victoria in particular who came down to support, and offered generous (and very polite) applause when Lightkeeper was introduced! A first for me.

The evening continued until quite late with first Tom Moriarty making the crowd swoon, and then Smile At Strangers making us, well, smile. Favourite moments were Tom giving up on a new song, which sounded excellent, but I guess was just debuted a little early. And then Tom (again) playing bongos for Smile At Strangers, a very relaxed and enjoyable evening all round.

Nine Bar

The Nine Bar is a new venue for me and also for the effervescent and tireless host Carl Chamberlain. Carl is one of live performer's champions and he really knows how to put on a good night and keep the crowd happy. I must confess I don't remember all the acts that played as amongst the sizeable crowd where my friends Alex, Seb, Rosie and (new friend) Ed. Now these guys are serious music lovers too, and made a point of listening, applauding and, occasionally, going to the front of the crowd to hear an act they really liked. All in all it was another extremely pleasant evening. The acts were strong, I got another sing-along going to The Fool I Am (first number of the night for me!! Lead by Carl, of course) and received some nice comments.

Carl usually does an much more indepth review of his nights than I can do here, so do follow his link above and check out his Blog.

Drum Recording

Those who follow my Blog regularly will know that I have been invited to submit a track for a charity compilation called Faith. Rather than submit an old track I decided to re-record a favourite from scratch. This time I would invite top musicians to play rather than do it all in Garage Band. Last Friday I recorded the drums played by the excellent session and live player - Haydn Callow. Who, of course, also happens to be my younger brother.

As an aside here, it is worth mentioning that none of this would be possible without my brother's influence. It is almost entirely because of him that I am playing and writing songs and performing these days. From a very young age he knew that he wanted to be a drummer and started getting a kit together as soon as he could persuade our parents to stump up the cash. In an effort to join in with him I first got a small keyboard and then, when this turned out to be not loud enough, an electric guitar. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

So it was a great pleasure to have him play drums for me on this recording. We set up the kit at a secret location in Hertfordshire and two hours later we had 5 good takes on disk for me to work through and add to the evolving mix of the song. Haydn's Yamaha kit sounds phenomenal and it's very easy to record, his playing is also accurate and original. The song is really coming on now and, after his suggestion, has both live drums and drum machine on it (plus a tambourine played entirely out of time by me). It's a very exciting prospect and this version of the song will only be available on the record, which will be available around October I believe.

Next stop on this trip is to record the bass with talented multi-instrumentalist Paul Tkachenko, before that though I'm hoping to add electric guitar and vocals today and tomorrow.

By the way, Paul and one of his acts: The Dead Victorians are playing at the Montague Arms - this Thursday 11th June. It's 2nd Thursdays hosted by Frog Morris that night, which is always a fun evening. I'll be there to support the night, so why not come down from about 8.30pm and be a part of the night which also features Pie Roulette!

Well that's all for now, catch you later.



Casdok said...

Think we may of had our summer!
How fantastic to play with your brother - cant wait to hear it!

Daren said...

Casdok: Ah, it will be back, when we least expect it.

Yeah, Haydn is a great drummer. The song sounds great. Working on a unique mix for the album and then I'll great another mix for my own uses... I might create some snippets too... just to tease people.