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Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Poor Songwriter Tour#3

Cripes, ten minutes doesn't seem to have passed and we're already five gigs into the tour. I'm falling behind with my reporting, so here's a summary of the last four gigs:

Monday 2nd / Aycliffe Folk Club: in the spirit of this blog I have to be straight with you - it's not often I feel that an audience is out of sympathy with what I'm doing, but that's how it felt here. That's not something that I hold them responsible for, though. It's always the performer's job to win the listeners over. I didn't feel I did this here.

John Snowball, the ever-enthusiastic club organiser insisted that the crowd is merely one that listens more intently than others. Thanks for the thought, John. And thanks, too, to Janet and John for their kindness and hospitality in putting us up afterwards.

As an aside - and an unrelated point - I'm selling no CDs on this trip. In Germany they accounted for almost half of revenue. Hmmm.

Tuesday 3rd / Acoustic Collective, Stalybridge: the AC has some of the best floor-singers I've com across - worth the trip themselves. The room is a nice one with a wooden (dance-) floor and we played acoustically again (haven't done a PA gig yet), and, I think played well to a sympathetic audience which included my sis, Brigid who had turned up unannounced - a nice surprise.

By way of an insight into the financing of a trip like this, an anecdote: I offered Paul, the co-host of the club, a freebie gig (they don't book many guests) if we could could make a collection. Enquiries were made about accommodation. After some shilly-shallying, I arranged to stay with my chums, Pete and Mary Smith (with whom we stayed the following night and were treated to a multi-meat BBQ - tasty). Paul then contacted me to say that he'd booked us into rooms in the pub we were staying in, but that the club would pay. What I hadn't appreciated was that this was in lieu of the collection. We did sell some CDs, but the trip's financing is not looking great.

Lovely night, though

Thursday 6th / The Star Folk Club, Glasgow: a lovely venue with high standards, the right attitude to the music, great people and a very interesting echo. Leigh flew up from London to make us a trio. Always good to have him on stage with his extra instrument, harmony and general presence. Leigh's shirts are always worth the entrance price; he sported a charming pink one this evening.

(The experience of the evening was made more special by the arrival of my lady, Angelika who had gone to no ends of trouble to get to the gig.)

An intimidatingly large space was conspicuously empty just a few minutes before the support act (a splendid trad fiddler whose name, I'm embarrassed to say, escapes me) played. Cousin Ian's friendly group of supporters filled a gap in the centre of the room, though, providing the extra bodies that was needed to make an audience.

We didn't play perfectly - the echo providing a timing challenge - but, judging by the audience response, we seem to have played to good effect. Cousin Ian's later comment that he liked Two Virgins and that it seemed especially sophisticated was a nice thing to hear.

We repaired to Ian's for post-gig red wine, cheese and whisky. It's not sensible, but it makes you happy. How Trowbridge managed to get up for a 7.30 flight back to London the next day, I don't know.

Friday 7th / The Loft, Forres. Because I couldn't book another gig in the area, this booking entailed a seven and three-quarter hour round trip all for itself. This was a long way to go for a gig the second set of which was to five people. They were nice people, song-writingly itelligent and appreciative - and a joy to play to, as it happens, but a reminder that I must be more careful about where I book myself and that I try harder to group the gigs together to make sense of the travelling.

We were well looked after and fed - and we played and sang well - and the drive up there, through the Cairngorms and up into the Highlands, was stunning on a lovely late summer's day.

As has happened before, people asked to buy the CD that contained this or that unrecorded song - this time, in particular, The Compass. Al least I know that the songs on the soon-to-be-recorded CD already have the audience seal of approval.

New Gig Sunday 9th. We're playing in MacSorley's tomorrow at 4.30 - see gig list to the right. Glasgow's premier music bar restaurant, cousin Ian says. I booked it fill a space that had developed - let's see how it goes...


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