January 1st 1970,
Pirate Jenny’s is a club dedicated to “chanson and badly-behaved music” that has run at the Vortex for several years. It is run by Des de Moor, singer and songwriter, among many other roles. Des booked me to play after seeing me support Katrina Rublowska a few months ago (as well as knowing me as Phil Jeays‘ guitarist).
It was actually quite a thrill for me to play the Vortex (particularly the funky old Vortex, which will be closing soon for the venue to move to newer, better appointed,premises) – the Katrina gig was here as well, and I’ve played here a few times with Phil, but when I arrived, and my name was chalked on the door, that was the particular thrill.
Bit sad, that. Maybe. Bit easily starstruck.
I was feeling a bit underpowered, though – I’d been ill throughout Sunday, lying semiconscous for most of the day, rallying (a bit) for the Jonathan Meades programme on BBC2 (a coincidence – I attribute no curative properties to Mr Meades), and then sleeping until 2:00pm on Monday. So, I was left a bit… yes, underpowered, and unfocused. And it was cold,too. Which is a shame.
Moan, moan. Grumble, grumble.
My set was in the first half – Des, himself kicked off both halves with four-song sets, so it was’t completely cold. However, it took a couple of songs to get going. I stumbled into gear with WDIAGR? and Little Games. There was a couple to my left conversing throughout. My underpowered lack of focus (have I mentioned that?) left me a bit oversensitive to this, sadly, and I was very distracted. I hope I played well enough. I know I could have played a lot better. I felt a certain reticence. Not badly behaved enough.
I managed to retrieve some of the energy later, I think, particularly commencing Obvious. There’s a lesson here, I think. I tend to fall into a pattern for opening sets – for a long time it was The Things You Get, and then Little Games for a while too, and now “WDIAGR?”. They are all good, but I do need to address this issue of grabbing the energy, of some opener that makes people pay attention. Obvious works because it is a drama, and a ritual of a sort (Iodine, which is much shorter, works the same way.) But neither is an opener – they work much better towards the end of the set. Obvious certainly caught the attention tonight. Songs with spoken introductions also worked. I do need to get more of a repertoire of intros that I can reel off without having to rely on native wit (which is a scarce commodity when one is freaked, I can tell you).
Ooomph! needed. Apply within.
And the headliners were Babysnakes, who play reels, jigs, tangos and such musics from all over the world. Very fine, the cold didn’t get to them, not underpowered at all, check ’em out. I’m not sure that they realise they are named after a Frank Zappa track, but I may be wrong. I certainly didn’t ask.