Monday's gig (yet more Juana Molina)

On Monday night I finally got to see Juana Molina live. The gig was at the ICA in London which is a place that seemed designed for me. A great place run by nice people and (best of all) with a great little shop. The venue was tiny and I was able to get a good place at the front. Blue Roses (Laura Groves) was the support and I felt an immediate sense of relief that I wasn't going to be counting the minutes until she finished. Beautiful melodies, well played and a good stage presence.
But them after a short break, on came Juana with her bassist. Right form the first song (Un Dia) she captivated the audience. I was close enough to see her feet dancing around the looper pedals and the looks traded with the bass player. She's an interesting artist as she's got the energy of a young girl, bobbing around, excited and full of life. But she's also got a maturity and a precision in the way she constructs her songs. I haven't enjoyed a gig this much in a long time.

Below is a show she did on KCRW, try to get past the slightly creepy intro by the (I'm sure very nice) DJ.

Juana Molina (again)


Where are the pictures?

I'm on holiday, logging in at a library since the local wi-fi spots are as good as useless. Sadly, this means I can't upload any of the 9,723 pictures I've taken. Everybody breath out.

Anyway, the holiday is going well but I am itching to be playing music. I've kept myself away from the iPod this whole trip with only two exceptions, both of those being my morning runs. Otherwise, the palette is being cleansed and I'm ready for action.

A few more days of sunshine and beer ahead and then back in the car. Sigh.

Expect an onslaught of photographs soon.



Another bad night's sleep, the cold is back and now I have laryngitis. That's the bad news.

The good news is the touch guitar part I played for Johnny Love and Will Willard has gone down well. I'm excited to see where this will lead.


Later that day...

Almost human today. I slept for about an hour after turning the computer off, but bad dreams arrived pretty quickly. As did truly weird dreams. I was standing in the kitchen, making a cup of tea, and one of my old students walked in, gave me a smile and left via the garden door. Then another person I didn't know did the same, then another and another. Then I woke.

And then, back in a dream world I bumped into an old friend in Grand Central Station. Things got worse form there.

When the rest of the family woke up I had another go at sleeping but it didn't woke. However, some powerful painkillers took the headache away and now, annoying cough aside, I'm almost ready to be useful again.


So. I know my cold is going because I now have a cough. It's just persistent enough to wake everyone else in the house so I've come downstairs to sleep on the sofa. I'm not sleeping though.

Luckily, as the remote is broken and I, therefore, can't turn the subtitles on, there was a subtitled Korean movie on at three this morning. It's now five and I'm ready to admit that surfing the net is probably going to do me very little good.

Freya will probably wake up in about an hour and a half so I'll log off and see what happens. Think sleepy thoughts for me.


Just to be clear though, I'm not even slightly miserable. There is something lovely about this time in the morning and I appreciate it. It's just a shame that my body feels like it's ready for regeneration (note to self: don't watch Doctor Who when ill).


Where does Twitter take you?

Two new projects are in the wind, other than live work. One is with the wonderful Habitual Grace team, the other is... not to do with music. More on that soon.

I have also discovered Ustream, which should be a good platform for some unusual gigs in the not too distant future. Thanks to Twitter for that one.


Breaking up is... hard

Breaking up is... hard
Originally uploaded by Roostar
This is what took up a large part of Sunday. I'm not really built for heavy, physical work and did not enjoy the first attack on this stretch of concrete that had to be removed from in front of the house. I was mentally comparing my levels of 'enjoyment' with some bad gigs I had been to. This activity compared, unfavourably, to a less than great Level 42 gig in the eighties.

But, of course, when the work was done, and I'd finished carting wheelbarrow loads of rubble to the back garden, and my blistered hands had stopped shaking, and I was eating a nice dinner in the open air, I felt a sense of achievement.

I know that some people will be happy with me for doing things like this, while the fact that I spent a year writing, playing on and recording an album means (pretty much) nothing to them. Oh well.

In other news, over the last week I've made contact with the two key members of an early band of mine. Will this lead to any new projects? In one case probably not (she's not played the drums for nearly twenty years) but in the other, quite possibly.

Bridge Street and Soul Beaver are reforming for gigs. Richard Drummer has been working hard on the Marillion tour but should be home soon. Richard Guitarist has fought his way through piles of paperwork, Emma Singer is (I suspect) ready to sing again. I'm waiting to hear more details about the depping gigs I've been asked to do - but what I want more than anything is to get back on stage with my friends and make music. That's where I feel I'm really achieving something.


Where's my email gone?

If you've been trying to contact me by email over the last few days your message didn't make it. After some help from a nice man in (what sounded like) an Indian call centre, I found my posts were being sent to someone's hotmail account. I hope that was as much a surprise to them as it was to me.

All very odd but, more importantly, all very fixed now.


Vocal fun.

Played a lot of bass tonight with acoustic guitar playing pal. Recorded final takes (i.e. ones with least mistakes) onto hand-held digital recorder thingy. I've just got home, plugged HDRT into laptop and archived files of the night's work so I can reference them later. Then, of course, I fed the files into Ableton Live and had way too much fun making odd mash-ups of sound. I've also discovered that the HDRT (a Zoom H2) can double as a pretty decent microphone which can be used with the laptop to make good quality demo vocal recordings. Oooh, I'm going to have fun with this!