Thursday, 8 August 2013


Another Favourite 5 Small/Quiet Gigs:

I often find myself re-visiting previous blogs, and here’s another example:

I put together a list of top 5 small/quiet gigs I’ve played or been to a few weeks ago (‘Sshhhh…’, 19/7), but in writing about it, I realised that most of the gigs I have played have been small and quiet.

So, here’s another five that stick in the memory.

Thanks to everyone who was there.

When you read this, I might well be at Boomtown, playing a couple of big gigs and a couple of small ones.  That is, if you’re reading it on the 9th or 10th of August 2013.

Pogo Café, Hackney London, circa 2008

I stood on a chair to play un-plugged at this small vegan café in Hackney, supporting Ghost Mice from Florida (and France).  There were far more people than could fit in the place, and the atmosphere was electric – it was such an exciting night, the enthusiasm of the crowd was tangible.  I sold out of CDs, which is as rare and as pleasing as it is disappointing….could have sold loads more if I’d had them. 

There’s a picture of me from that night, online somewhere, with El Morgan and Sam Russo, two of the other singers who played. In the picture I am grinning and sweaty and fat and wearing a flat cap.  El and Sam look nice.

Puppet’s Jazz Bar, Brooklyn, NYC, Labour Day, 2009

Played to an audience of mostly my brother’s friends, who received me very well.  (People are very polite in America)

I played a song called Letter To America and introduced it by saying:

“If the last one was a bit controversial, this one will really get me in trouble.” 

To which a woman at the front replied:

“You wish, honey….this is Brooklyn, you’re not in Mississippi.”

To which I could only reply “Ouch, my pride.” 

Or “touché.”

Or whatever it was I actually said.

Best.  Heckle.  Ever.

Village Hall Café, SGP, 2011

At Secret Garden Party, I played in this small café.  As I was waiting for my set, I sat next to a couple with a baby, and sang them ‘Gemini’ by Why? to warm my voice up.

I talked to the couple for a bit, and they asked me about the song, so I told them  

The man wrote to me the following week to say that he preferred my version. 

There’s no accounting for taste.

At the gig itself, some of The PFR crew came to support (Big Up The Young Team), and I walked round everyone.  It’s good to be able to personalise a performance to that degree, and it’s interesting to see how people react to me singing to them up close.

Ssshh, It’s Sunday at Left Bank, Bristol, 2011

Exhibit A

Hydra Bookshop, Bristol, 2013

Commander McNeil and the Hydra crew put on acoustic music nights once a month at this new(ish) radical bookshop in Old Market.

I like playing in places that are usually quiet (libraries, churches, poetry nights, because people tend to listen more readily.  Then I don’t do any of the attention-grabbing stuff, and I have to concentrate more on the playing, because people really notice the mistakes….so, it’s a double-edged sword, I suppose.  Anyway, this was a good one, even though I had to rush off to another gig.  (I got accused of running away from a Rap Battle, but more on that later...)

Also, re-visiting the subject of re-visiting, remember the blog post about the job I had in a call centre (‘The Chimp & Gibbon’, 26/7)?

Well, Dan sent me another couple of hilarious entries from The Contact Log Of Doom:

Customer called in to complain as they found a dead monkey in their food processor

Customer looking for the spring that activates the headspin move for his model mechanical breakdance pheasant

Mechanical Breakdance Pheasant: Brilliant name for a band.

Right, I’m off to Boomtown to get down like a clown.


Clayton Blizzard

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