Thursday, 11 December 2014

Gig Review: Clayton Blizzard & Friends, The Gallimaufry, 10th December

WARNING: This blog contains little sarcasm and is mostly personal, honest and earnest. 
To which regular readers will not be used.  (I'm trying something different, please be nice.)

After years of resisting getting a band together to play my guitar-based songs, here I am on stage with a bassist and a drummer, playing guitar, singing my guitar-based songs, looking suspiciously like a band…

We had booked this show for Clayton Blizzard & The Boys From Marketing.  In the end, one member of the band couldn’t do the gig.  Which was a shame.  Particularly as it was the pianist, around whom the band is built.

GrayDog The Piano Man and I started as a duo, playing piano versions of my songs (a couple of which were written for piano, others that we adapted), and all that went well enough to expand with a rhythm section.  And, lo, The Boys From Marketing were born.

GrayDog is a piano maestro, a man of many talents.  Sadly, organising his time and keeping a diary are not chief among them.  (This is makes things tricky, considering he is in 83 bands (at the last count), and also has a personal life – and therefore would benefit greatly from good time management skills.  Still, he does wear a hat very well.  And he’s pretty tidy on the keys.)

So, rather than cancel, we decided to do the gig PFR-style.  For the uninitiated, The People’s Front Room is The Best Wee Festival Venue In The World (Capitalisation Makes This Important And Confirms The Validity Of The Statement).  It’s a place where myself and The Boys From Marketing have been performing and partying for the last couple of years, and it’s the place where I learned to beatbox, and improvise, and jam – and it’s the place where the band came together for the first time.  PFR Style is Maximum fun, little or no preparation, plenty of improvisation and a jolly good laugh.

The early BfM gigs had gone very well, and the first we ever did was at The Gallimaufry – a triumphant night, according to some of those lucky enough to have been there (namely me).  So, it was a great place to play a winter gig. 
So, anyway, we rocked up, myself and two-thirds of The BfM: Fitz The Drummer and Hologram The Bassist…

I played the first half of the set on my own and stuck to The Classics.  Then The Boys joined me and we funked it up in a casual, swung style that I like, and hopefully some other did as well.
I've had my doubts in the past, but I reckon it worked, thanks to the laid-back enthusiasm of The Lads (Big Ups).
I don't know why I was so reluctant to play with a rhythm section.  I know why I was reluctant before, but it did go well.  I still don;t want to do that kind of set regularly, but it could be a good fall-back or extra option.  And, in true PFR style, we got on with it and enjoyed ourselves and everybody else seemed to as well.  PFR, yo: Party Starters.  BfM: Disarmingly professional. Y.O.

There were people singing
 along with my songs, including some people very close to me (both literally and emotionally) and some people I don't know but recognised, and some I didn't recognise.  It's a strange and surprising and wonderful feeling to see that.

It has given me something to think about as I try to get new ways of connecting with audiences, write new material and look to starting the next album. 
I feel like I've got my energy back and I want to use it wisely, because it can come and go over time....I've got some writing to do so I still want to take a break from solo gigs for a while - but now I want to take a break and come back better, with new things to say and new ways to say them.

And I want to The Boys From Marketing to go from strength to strength.  (The early signs are overwhelmingly positive.)  To make the most of the momentum we've built, I will mostly not be playing solo gigs (apart from a couple that are already booked, and maybe one or two out of town).

So, Massive Thanks to everyone who has come to the gigs I've played, whether solo or with The Lads. And Massive Thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged me (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – and if you don’t, I’m sorry you don't, it is all appreciated.)

Thanks to all at The Gallimaufry, I've had some great gigs there in recent times, and this was another.  Watch out for the next one.



The Glorious New Regime

Running The Scene in 2015

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