Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Prohibition: Sunday

This is just a quick post to plug a big show on Sunday 2nd August. It's 15 Minute Club at Prohibition, St. Katharine's docks again, but this time it's Laurence the co-host's birthday! The line-up has been hand selected and there are likely to be a few surprise songs and jams taking place. Come on down from about 7.30pm and be part of the fun.

I'm also playing at the Edinburgh Cellars tomorrow night (Thursday 30th July) and might see if I can sneak off to The Duchess in Battersea afterwards, where my friend Will is running his last open mic night there. It was one of the first ones I ever did, and it's still one of the best.

I'll be busy with gigs next week too: on Monday 3rd I'm going to do the RAW night at the Abbey Tavern in Kentish Town. Wednesday I'll be at the Powers Bar in Kilburn, and Thursday at the Nine Bar (near Tower Bridge again). Phew!

In other news I've been offered the chance to be tour manager for a band who will hopefully be supporting Status Quo through November and December. Sounds like an opportunity too good to miss!!

Hope you are all doing well, catch you later.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Down Under The Station

We all had a feeling it was going to be an interesting gig. Even getting into the place was a challenge. Perhaps you've been to London Bridge recently and seen a long queue of people seemingly waiting to get into some part of the station basement. Well I know what they are waiting for now, and it's called Shunt.

Shunt is hard to define, it's part work space, part theatre, part art installation, part night club. The atmosphere is damp and humid, like being in a cave or some sort of Victorian England slum experience. It's no coincidence that the London Dungeon share the same space in the dank arches under the station. I arrived at the entrance in Stainer Street and then was led through a reception, bar, theatre and huge video installation that takes up about 10 arches to the far side of this eclectic venue. We were performing in the Speakeasy, which is a little pub sized room with a small bar and a big PA. The chairs and tables didn't match anything - least of all each other, and the whole vibe was easy going. The artists were all nervous and excited, we had no idea what the audience reaction would be to the mixed line-up that our host - Frog Morris - on behalf of Utrophia had assembled.

In the end we had no worries at all (apart from the odd technical glitch). The audience came in and out, but often stayed and crowded around the door to catch what was happening. We didn't disappoint them.

Frog was first on as host: Dave the security guard, who has an interesting line in safety information and an unhealthy relationship with his dogs! The first section of the show was dedicated to art. Daniel Lehan, becoming an increasingly confident performer, amused and entertained with poems and stories about sex, Sting and an interactive poem about buses in London. Next up was another gob-smacking performance from Duncan Ward. It's very hard to give a full flavour of what Duncan does in mere words, but suffice to say it involved, bags of compost, a bottle of champagne, leaves and other foliage, a paper aeroplane and, well, a fair about of mess. As with the last time I saw him at the Montague Arms, the audience were hushed into mesmerised silence, and the doorway was crammed with people trying to get a view.

After the art, it was the turn of the comedians, and James W. Smith, with musings on philosophy and sex and Aaron Barshak, the self-styled Comedy Terrorist, helped us understand religion a little more completely. There was also an appearance by the renown medium - Mystic Huere.

Finally it was time for the music! I was up first and went for the more performance art end of my repertoire. It all seemed to go down pretty well, despite one small equipment glitch. The full set was:

The End Of The World Part I
The Prophet
The End Of The World Part II
After All
When The Snow Fell In Denver
(extended version including a spoken verse from Obsession)
The Doctor Who Theme Tune (Oh yes!)
I Need Your Love

I was very pleased to get some great feedback after the set, and sold quite a few CDs.

Last, but not least, was Deference Engine who despite one or two problems with the backing track played a storming set. In the end all that was left to do was sing a rousing chorus or two of Angry Badger (pictured above, Deference Engine just off) and we were on our way out of the venue into the south London night.

It was such a great event and, although we are unlikely to ever get the chance to perform at Shunt again, you can see similar nights to this EVERY MONTH - on the 2nd Thursday at the Montague Arms in Peckham.

Or if you want to catch my songs sooner, then I'll be at Prohibition (a mere stone's throw from Shunt in the St. Katharine's docks near Tower Bridge) tonight!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Not Prohibited Anymore

It always amuses me when bars make some reference to abstinence or temperance. For example near Clapham Common there is actually a bar in an old Temperance Hall. Another example is one of my favourite venues to play - Prohibition Bar & Grill. I've been to two excellent Sunday nights there recently both courtesy of the wonderful people involved with 15 Minute Club.

Two Sundays ago I played an excellent night there with just two other acts including the lovely Liz Fyfe band, who were all very friendly people. Last Sunday I caught my mate - Acoustic Ashley (pictured above, he doesn't have a beard, that's a harmonica) doing some excellent looping there and also the talented and beautiful Linn Öberg. Both were really good nights with a good, appreciative crowd creating a fabulous vibe. I'm heading back there to play again this Sunday, so do come down if you want to be part of a fun and exciting night.

I also have to mention 15 Minute Club's night at the Living Room in Birmingham. I've played there twice now and both times the vibe was very friendly and relaxed. Looking forward to getting back there before too long.

Talking of returns, I'm also heading back to the Nine Bar on the 6th August. Coming up sooner I'll be at the trendy Shunt bar, down in the vaults at London Bridge. It's a night hosted by Frog Morris, who is also running his much talked about night at the Montague Arms - THIS THURSDAY. So do come down to any night you can make.

One other bit of news is that I'm finishing the Faith! mix of Lightkeeper today and tomorrow - it's sounding very good with real drums and bass now in place and I can't wait for you to hear it. Talking of which, I just found this video:

Live @ The Abbey Tavern

They got the captions slightly wrong, it is me and the song is definitely Lightkeeper.

Full list of upcoming gigs:

12th July 2009, 7.30pm onwards
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, St. Katharine's Docks, Nr. Tower Bridge, London

18th July 2009
UTROPHIA @ SHUNT, 20 Stainer St. London, SE1 9RL (Photo ID required for entry)

30th July 2009, 8.30pm
Stripped Bare @ Edinburgh Cellars, 125 Newington Green Road, Islington, N1 4RA

2nd August 2009, 7.30pm onwards
15 Minute Club @ Prohibition, St. Katharine's Docks, Nr. Tower Bridge, London

5th August 2009, 8pm
Stripped Bare @ Powers Bar, 332 Kilburn High Road, Kilburn, NW6 2QN

6th August 2009, 8pm
Nine Bar, 146 Tanner Street, London, SE1 2HG

24th October 2009
Faith! charity album launch: limited tickets - BOOK NOW
The Westcoast, 3-5 King Street, Margate, United Kingdom

See you very soon,