Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Key Change

Having taken two steps forward recently, the inevitable step back came at the weekend in the form of an email from Mark saying he need to bow out of the project. As he put it:
"I can't fit everything in and do it all justice. If it were all about being in a band that was going places I'd junk one of the other bands, but I've realised I'd miss my friends (some roots in these bands go back a long way)."
Mark, or Wilko as he prefers to be known, was the only other person who was there from the beginning, or at least the beginning of this particular musical project. He was very good at playing just was was needed, never trying to draw particular attention to his part but filling the gaps as required. I only realised how much work he was actually doing when I was going through the raw footage of the videos we made a few months back. It was an eye opening experience to see how much he was doing, making continuous small adjustments to his sound at the same time as played the parts. Usually I miss all that as I'm too busy playing my own parts. He was also a natural at finding and singing harmonies and made an invaluable contribution to our overall sound there too. We will miss all that, plus his pleasant and friendly nature. At least we got to play one 'sort of' gig with him before he left.

You can go and see Mark perform with Asylum Affair (Classic Rock Covers Band). I would recommend you do, having done so myself, and also with the Pink Floyd tribute band I, Floyd, which is one of the reasons I thought Mark would be the right keyboard player for me. I plan to go see them too when they up and gigging again, which I am reliably informed will be in the not too distant future.

Luckily one of the first things Wilko told me when he joined was that he already had commitments with other bands and we might need to get in a dep player from time to time. With that in mind I contacted Joe Wright and got him along to a rehearsal a few months ago when Wilko couldn't make it.

Joe was an excellent keys player, had learnt all the material I had sent him and got along with everyone too. So when I got the news above I contacted Joe to see if he was still available. He will be rehearsing with us next week...

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Warming Up

For a while I've been going along and playing acoustically at 'open mic' nights at various local pubs. Performing is the best way to hone a performance and it has also been a great way to meet other musicians and like minded people.

Maria Ahern runs a number of these nights and she offered the band a half hour 'featured artist' spot at The Oak in Kingston on Thursday.

Other than Mike and I getting up and playing together at a previous open mic gig (and Mike's local pub if you count that), this is the first time any of us have performed together in public so it was really just a 'warm up' gig. Added to this, Marcel couldn't make it so I had to fill in on bass guitar while Mike had to then cover all guitar duties - which made it the first time we had ever played together with this line up and instrumentation. However I knew the guys were good enough to handle it - and they did it just fine! Added to that I threw in one more challenge and decided we'd perform the cover 'Hey Joe' which we'd never played together and which Paige had never played at all. Again I knew the guys were good enough to handle it and yes they did.

There were some issues with sound on stage - it was difficult to hear the bass through the PA (I was missing a bass amp). Given the nature of the night, set up times are very short and there is no 'sound check' however this is part of the challenge of performing.

The highlight of the night was 'Never' which the audience loved. It was also a good opportunity to introduce the band to few other people I know who were there and meet a few new ones!

Being a musical collaborative sort of night (as these things are), Danno Sheehan was short a bass player and asked me to fill in during his set too which I was more than happy to do. It was bluesy based stuff including a Rolling Stones cover so nothing too difficult. We still couldn't quite get the bass sound sorted out on stage but the audience enjoy it and it was fun to do.

We'll be starting to look for more gigs now. When we've got all five of us there it will be sounding even better.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Finished Epic Mix

Epic Micky has been very busy. He's been churning out Trance and Electro House Dance floor hit material at full velocity recently. A couple of weeks ago he sent me a link to his remix of History which sounded great but he said he wanted to just clean it up a little more. Since then he sent out a bunch of other completed tracks and this evening he sent me his final mix of History and it's sounding great! Have a listen below...

Those who aware of my musical tastes would know that I'm not generally into electronic Dance music however I've found that for most musical styles there are are a few examples that I really like. Often these might be the ones that help that style 'break through' after which a lot of similar sounding stuff that isn't quite as good suddenly becomes more popular. There are a few tracks in Micky's catalogue which I really like and really deserve to be heard - one of the reasons I asked him to do a remix of History.

I have to say I didn't quite know what to expect. I sent him the multitrack files and thought I might get back a song that sounded like the original but more electronic and with a thumping dance beat. Instead Micky has come up with a whole new chord progression and song that just uses the vocals from one verse of the original. Great stuff!

Look out for it on a dance floor near you!