Archive | September, 2010

Cultural weekend

27 Sep
David Mach's Calvary Crucifixion

David Mach's Calvary Crucifixion

It’s been a busy few days. Had a great rehearsal with the Jigantics on Thursday, the first one since our recording sessions a few weeks ago. We’ve got our first showcase on the 8th October at the Playhouse, Whitstable, a lovely venue according to Marty and Marion who have played there before. We only have forty-five minutes but I’m really looking forward to playing the great selection of songs that we’ve put together in front of a decent sized audience.

Spent the weekend with my youngest son and had a pretty full schedule. We visited the ‘Crucible’ sculpture exhibition at the Cathedral in Gloucester. Over seventy sculptures, both inside and out, by top artists including Anthony Gormley and Damien Hirst. I thought it was wonderful and there were some very thought-provoking sculptures. If you are friends of mine on Facebook then you may have seen the photos I uploaded. Then we had another very thought-provoking visit to St. Michael’s Tower in Gloucester where, as part of Peace Week, the SGI (Soka Gakkai International, lay buddhist organisation) were presenting a Peace Picturedrome screening videos of The Work of MAG – the mines advisory group who remove landmines across the globe, The Testimonies of the Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Our Shared Humanity: an Introduction to SGI. Some of the footage of the first two films was pretty gruesome but there’s an important message to get across and sometimes that’s the only way.

Looking forward to hearing the results of the Jigantics recordings. While I was visiting exhibitions Marty and Ade were spending the weekend in Blue Moon Studios with Mark the engineer, mixing down the last few tracks. Looks like an EP is on its way soon!

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Ups and downs

22 Sep
Scales

It's all about balance...

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs – hence the scales! To be fair, there were a lot more ups than downs, but sometimes the downs weight heavier. I think a balance was met in the end.

On the downside, I had to cancel a gig – something I really don’t like doing. It was the first date for the new band as well. A mix up with the dates amongst the musicians, which as it’s my band I have to take the blame for, meant we weren’t all available for the gig. Fortunately, after a few texts and phone calls, one of the guys in the band was able to step into the breach with one of his other collaborations. On the extremely rare occasion that I have to pull a gig, I find it always pays to offer an alternative act for the night. The landlord/promoter is a lot more understanding if you can clean up your own mess and not leave them the job of finding another band. Happily, the landlord at this particular venue is a top bloke and is more than happy to reschedule our gig. So a fresh date for Mark Cole’s Southern Collision should be announced soon.

On the upside, I had an email from the organisers of the Swanage Blues & Roots Festival offering the Sons of the Delta duo two slots at this year’s festival which takes place on the weekend of the 1/2/3 October. Swanage is one of the well-established festivals on the circuit, so I’m pleased about that. Check my website for details! I also had an email from Javier, our Spanish agent, with two possible gigs in October and November which is fantastic news as the recession has hit hard in Spain, reducing the number of opportunities over there. More news on those when they are confirmed.

Again on the upside, I hosted a great open mic session at the Gloucester Guildhall last night. A huge variety of styles, great players and a good crowd. A very positive end to the roller-coaster day.

Finally, I ordered a new mattress which gets delivered tomorrow. I’m looking forward to a more comfortable night’s sleep from now on. As a friend of mine said “You spend a third of your life in bed – best make sure it’s a good quality one!” Wise words indeed.

Gigs

19 Sep
The magical Quarry at Avening

The magical Quarry at Avening

Last weekend I was gigging in Ottawa and Maniwaki, this weekend North Woodchester and Avening. Last weekend wild and pounding, this weekend intimate and laid back but no less enjoyable for that.

The Royal Oak in Woodchester was just what I’d expected – a warm, welcoming stone and wood built inn. The Sons of the Delta Duo (that’s me and Rick to you) played an acoustic gig for a dining audience. The whole evening was fun, relaxed and it was good to see everyone listening and smiling. We’re looking forward to getting back to the Royal Oak later in the year.

Last night we played a forty-five minute set at the end of a pretty full day of music at the Gig @ the Quarry, an annual fund-raising event in aid of the Meningitis Trust. We went on stage after the scantily-clad eastern dancing ladies – a hard act to follow! The setting was every bit as magical as I remembered from last year and the rain managed to hold off until after the show. I don’t know how much money was raised but all the beer and most of the other drink had sold out before we went on stage. It’s the first time I’ve ever gone on stage with a cocktail, complete with umbrella!

Sleep

17 Sep
Bed

Bed

Tired. The journey back from Canada was uneventful but I’m feeling a bit lagged. I think coming back and having a gig the same evening might have been a bit ambitious. Went well though and I enjoyed it, although getting up on Thursday was so hard. Never thought I’d say this, but fortunately last night’s gig got cancelled due to ‘reasons beyond my control’ so I was able to catch up on a few things and have a more relaxed evening, even if not as early as I’d have liked.

Rick and I have a gig tonight at the Royal Oak in North Woodchester. It’s an unknown for us as we’ve not played there before, but it’s a village pub and so should be warm and welcoming and probably a bit snug. That’s my image of an English village pub anyway. As long as the beer is well-kept and there’s a good crowd in I’ll be happy. Tomorrow night we’re playing a charity gig for the Meningitis Trust at the old Quarry in Avening. My youngest son had meningitis when he was three and so the charity is close to my heart. Fortunately he was fine but others aren’t always so lucky. There’s music from lunchtime onwards and it’s hosted by Marion Miller of ‘Lady Plays the Blues’ on StroudFM radio. It’s a magical location, overgrown with grass, moss and lichen and looks like something out of a fairy tale. Very relaxing, so I’ll probably get comfortable on soft mossy bed and nod off while we’re waiting for our slot. I’ll try to get a pic for the blog and update you on how both gigs went.

Buildings and BeaverTail on the Byward

14 Sep
Beavertail at Byward Market

Beavertail at Byward Market

Heading off to the airport soon so this is a quick one. Had a great day in and around the city of Ottawa yesterday with Stevie and did the tourist thing: a guided tour around the Parliament Buildings and a trip up the Peace Tower. All that walking had given us an appetite so we stopped at the famous BeaverTail stand and had a maple and chocolate BeaverTail each with a coffee. We didn’t eat alone – all that sweetness attracted a few wasps but they didn’t bother us too much. We popped in to Tucson’s Roadhouse and talked about the possibility of gigging there next time I visit and asked about t-shirts but they didn’t have any. Neither did they have any t-shirts at the Rainbow or any of the music shops we tried which is a shame as they make great souvenirs of a musical visit. When we got back home I had another great meal with Stevie and Laura who, I must say, have been the perfect hosts. Finally Stevie and I met Mike at a bar in Manotick for a farewell drink and it looks like the guys may have bagged a gig there which is great. So, farewell Ottawa – hopefully I’ll see you next year some time. It’s back home to England now and time to start planning a trip to Clarksdale in April to catch up with the Myers Brothers again.

Patties, partying and Poutine

12 Sep
Rockin' Le Resto - the Myers Brothers Blues Band

Rockin' Le Resto - the Myers Brothers Blues Band

After a fairly lazy start we all met up and headed North into Quebec and drove through some beautiful wild scenery following the Gatineau River, through Kitigan Zibbi – an indian reserve – and up to Maniwaki. Céline opened up Le Resto Notre Dame so we could set up and after a sound check we headed off to Mike’s lakeside cottage. Pepe once again showed us his culinary skills and made some amazing cheese and bacon beefburgers which we washed down with Sleeman’s Honey Brown beer. The guys told me tales of past visits to the cottage which Mike has owned for over twenty years. After changing into 0ur stage gear it was back to Le Resto for the gig.  And what a wild night it was! The guys had warned me about how the Quebecers like to party hard and so I wasn’t surprised when they were up and dancing from the first number to the last. We played for over four hours then mingled with the crowd for a while before heading back to the lake cottage for a few beers. In the morning it was hot coffee and lemon pie, more tales of the lake then eventually back to Ottawa, stopping en route at a greasy spoon for a Quebec speciality, Poutine – french fries with cheese curd and gravy.

Breakfast, Bob and Busters

11 Sep
Boogie at Busters with the Myers Brothers Blues Band

Boogie at Busters with the Myers Brothers Blues Band

Spent the day in town doing a little bit of the tourist thing. Stevie and I had brunch at Zak’s – the classic all day breakfast – then checked out the market and the Beaver Tail stand, although we’re saving that treat til earlier next week. Mike caught up with us over at Spaceman Music to check out the guitars and amps then we all headed to Uncle Bob’s in Mechanicsville who sells funky retro clothes and other wonderful kitsch. Mike bought a great Rockmount shirt for the gig and I just had to buy some toques for the kids. We met Medicated Steve who tried to sell us some shirts from his bag – while we were still in Bob’s store. I got some photos of the area then we headed back to Stevie’s where his lovely wife Laura had some fantastic Lebanese food waiting for us. Then off to Busters where we had a great time playing for the big crowd. The place was jumping and the ‘usual suspects’ were dancing round the tables. Another top day in Ottawa.