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October 26, 2009

Concert Review: Indigo Girls (Shepherds Bush Empire)

I suspect I may get some hate mail for this one... hey ho.

First off, I'm going to accentuate the positive: The Girls are fantastic singer-songwriters. Their back catalogue has so many amazingly crafted and executed songs in it. They manage to capture so many emotions in their lyrics that, often, I'm moved when I listen to them.

Even the occasional lack-lustre tune is so wonderfully harmonized that the interwoven lyrics knock the song out of the ballpark.

I love their music. I really do. I think they're under-rated, often overlooked musical geniuses.

Okay, so now here's where I'm going to get into trouble. Please be gentle. I'm just telling it the way I saw it!

Last night I experienced the Indigo's perform live for the first time. The line up was just the two of them on acoustics and, occasionally, a smattering of keys or accordian was thrown in from stage right.

As you would expect, the music was perfect. The interlacing of voices and guitar parts was right on. So much so, that if you closed your eyes you could almost imagine you were listening to the record.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Their recorded music is perfect. So much so, that when playing live last night, what they were doing was recreating something I already knew off by heart. Don't get me wrong, the crowd loved it, so much so that they sang along perfectly to many of the classics. I enjoyed watching and listening but rather than feeling like I was at a concert, I felt that I was part of a celebration of the music.

Does that make sense? It's not really a negative as such. The music was great... as it's always been. With the exception of "Chicken Man" (which totally rocked), I felt like I'd heard it all before, note for note. For me, there wasn't really anything new added to the mix.

I guess when I go to a concert I want to be given an experience that I'd only be able to recapture through imagination and memory. As wonderful as the songs were last night, I couldn't help but feel that if I went to the next show I'd be treated to another note for note recital.

I know, I know... I'm a bad man. C'mon, though, I've dissed a Derek Trucks Band concert before, based on the fact that the acoustics in the venue sucked!

October 23, 2009

A New Beginning?

So, how did the meet go? Pretty well, I think. Both the other guitarist and the harp player put in an appearance. We drank beer, talked music and politics. Nobody threw a punch. Nobody died.

Not too shabby.

It sounds like we're all in pretty much the same place, musically, both in terms of influences and aptitude. I texted the guys this morning to say it was nice to meet them and, somewhat to my surprise, they both texted back!

Why surprise? Well, I've had meets before which seemed to go really well. We've parted with enthusiastic handshakes and promises to get back to each other with dates and times for a jam. Then what? Well, they've basically ignored my emails and I've never heard back from them. You can't get too precious about rejection, though. It's just not worth it.

So, I don't put too much stock in the first meeting. Musos are flaky. I should know, there are times I've been flaky myself.

I'll admit to a quiet optimism, though. I'm optimistic enough that tonight, when I get home, I'm going to pull Red out of his case, dust him off, set him on a stand a plug him up. That way he'll be ready to go whenever I get the urge to wail.

What I need to do now is to keep the ball rolling. Momentum is key. I've asked the guys to think of songs that they like or songs in the style they'd like to play, if that makes sense. I'm going to pull a few standards out of my behind and send them across. I'm thinking stuff like "Key to the Highway", "Stormy Monday" and so on. Other suggestions welcome, loyal reader! I may throw in some Black Keys and Cream for good measure.

Hey, maybe I'll steal Col's "Monkeyphonics" progression for a stoner jam... you don't mind, do you, fella? Hey, maybe "Melissa" if I can remember how it goes!

I don't want this to be a covers band, unless we do covers but in our own style as opposed to homages. I don't see the point in trying to emulate what other people have done. Having said that, we do need a starting point, even if it's just jamming on a I-IV-V.

If there's something I learnt from my last band it's that you need both a driving force and motivation. If people get bored due to lack of progress or lack of new material to play around with, well, they start thinking about quitting. We don't want that, do we? If I can get us making a noise that sounds like music then that should keep them fired up, no?

October 22, 2009

What's Up?

Been a while, hasn't it?

So, what's been going on?

Well, before I start, I'm going to plug the Rock-Til-You-Drop show at the Libertine in Borough on Sunday 15th November. Fellow blogger, Furtheron, of "Guitars & Life" is joining in with an acoustic set. Good luck to you, G. Hopefully we'll be able to stagger on down to applaud, rapturously!

What about me? What am I up to? Well, due to extreme distraction… circumstances beyond my control… I've been off the radar lately. Putting it mildly, the sheet hit the fan. I don't think I've picked up Red since the last time I blogged about 'picking up Red' the last time. That was a while ago, eh?

I met and jammed with another guitarist who's influences definitely didn't match mine and who, in terms of talent, was a technologically advance space alien to my caveman. Nevertheless, he's keen for us to play together… but not now. He got a new job which is quite rightly taking all his attention at the moment. I can't say what it is, but, well, it's a great opportunity for him.

Anyway, in-between my doldrums and his unavailability, we've not been playing and I've been getting itchy fingers. I do want to play with him in the future, but if I do, it's not going to be down-home bluesy stuff. So, what to do? Well, out of the blue I've had some responses to an ad I posted ages ago and so I'm looking to meet up with some folks (tonight!) with a view to trying to get a jam going in the near future, assuming we click.

Now, 'the near future' isn't going to be next week. Oh no. Next week, at the grand old age of 40 [cough] I'm having to have my wisdom teeth out. It's not going to be pleasant. I've only booked an afternoon off work… everyone I've told have snickered and said I might need a bit longer than that to recover.


If it's not one thing, it's another, eh? Still, onwards and upwards. Can't dwell on stuff like that!

I'm looking forward to meeting someone new tonight. I definitely have a guitarist coming along, possibly bass and even a harp player, if he can make it. We shall see, eh? I'm quietly optimistic. At this time I need this. I need to shake off the musical apathy of the past few months and bring this sh*t back online.