weekend smorgasbord of musical delights

Well, I’m stalling the onset of Monday by ‘working’ ie writing my blog, with its three followers, and reliving the joys of the weekend. I had been feeling a tad uninspired, so decided it was time to seek out some new music. This turned into a weekend mini festival of good sounds. First off, Adam Stafford on Friday night. This was a song by toad night and Matthew’s musical parameters are wide, so I thought it’d be good for some new sounds. I wasn’t disappointed. Adam Stafford took to the stage with his loop pedal and an array of gadgets. As my band is in London and I’m looking at doing some solo gigs, I was intrigued to see how it would work. My reservations about loop pedals are that impose certain limitations on the music-has to be based on repeating loops, and that can get boring; and it can interrupt the performer’s connection with the audience. Adam was obviously very well used to using them and maintained a great performance energy and presence, and the music he built up was dense, resonant, hypnotic in a good way. Interesting lyrics. Sometimes I feel that the tropes of pop/rock music have been exploiting the energy of the blues for 50 years now, and although every generation can discover those forms anew, at the same time it can feel like the vitality in the pop culture we have now is kind of eating itself, especially with all the x factor/Britain’s got talent format shows. They require a certain kind of pre-masticated musical puree, and that’s fine, but if there’s no space for anything else, then there is nothing of substance or relevance available to us in the cultural arena.

So it was a relief to see some acts like Adam who aren’t just feeding off those tropes, but finding their way to expressions do contain the consolation of some authentic reflection in them.

Saturday-played a ceilidh at counting house in the burgh, heard some AMAZING Norwegian/Finnish singing, harmony, doing edgy things with raised thirds. Before that I was in a workshop with a contemporary music with eunoia ensemble, an absurdly talented bunch of young players who work a lot with extended notations and contemporary composers. Very interesting. Their performance on Sunday was also really good.

Then down to Malvarosa on Sunday eve to play some dinner music for folks at the tapas restaurant. Unfortunately no-one was out for dinner that night, but they fed us like kings. and then back up to the Third door for Cal Folger Day, a New York songwriter. Mesmerising! loved it! I hate loads of things. I’m mildly underwhelmed by probably more stuff than not. It’s a failing. But she was brilliant. Clear vocal, very natural intuitive delivery, great songs, and she even sang a song I haven’t heard for years. As The third door wasn’t packed, I was reclining on a whole pallet to myself (they have these raised pallet things covered with cushions) which made me feel like a Roman empress who had the very finest artists performing for her.

Then Lach’s set, always a pleasure. He seems to have access to boundless energy and a range of different believeable characters in his material. Also he never trots things out-there’s always 100% engaging with what’s happening at that gig in particular. I love the improv thing he does and the spoken word. He works hard on stage! He also has something that I really look for in an engaging performance which is the ability to convey humanity. As did all the acts this weekend. Lots of engaging humanity, no over-egged melodramatic contrived emoting.

So I came home all happy. 🙂

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