Poly Phonic
23 June 2024, 12:00 pm
Soho Poly
16 Riding House Street
London W1W 7NT

I’ll be playing a set at the Soho Poly on June 23rd – as the poster above says. Tickets £5 per set from here. Many excellent acts – very much looking forward to it. Am categorised as Jazz, which is interesting, but also inspiring in a strange way.

Green Note Open Mic
30 April 2024, 7:30 pm
Green Note

Adam reminded me that I should be writing these blog posts about gigs, so here I am. Interestingly powerful GN open mic. Lots of energy around, which luckily for me seemed to settle just as I went on. I began with All Fall Down. There was a lot of room noise, and I wondered what it would be like to just play into it rather than talk or anything, and I’m fortunate, I suppose, that Rob shushed the crowd, but then the room felt very attentive. Earlier on, my thumbnail managed to shatter (it’s been doing that a lot lately – other bits of thumbnail are still held together with superglue), and I filed it smooth, but it drew my focus to the twiddly bits of the song, that kind of need the thumbnail to work. It might be a good thing that it distracted me from the other bits that needed doing, but luckily it was so fast that as long as I breezed through any bummers were immediately forgotten. The rock and roll bit over, I did All the Things That I Don’t Know. I did it last night too, and I enjoyed the differences in the way it went, at least from my point of view. I enjoy the theatricality of it, or at least the opportunities to wave my arms around, and the quiet-loud-quiet nature of it. After I played, the intensity increased further. A slightly wilder night than usual, and while it might have felt wobbly at first, it righted itself after a while. I was playing the tele with Creamery pickups in tonight – when I got them I thought they’d be rock pickups, as they’re quite high-output, but as it turns out they’re wonderfully chimed without being too bright, and they have a lot of clarity and separation between the strings. The body is chambered, so the guitar is very light for a tele (which maybe lightens the tone in itself), so it’s perfectly suited to this sort of thing.

Setlist:

All Fall Down
All the Things That I Don't Know
Book and Record Bar Open Mic #1
26 January 2024, 7:30 pm
Book and Record Bar
20 Norwood High Street
London SE27 9NR

The inaugural open mic at the Book and Record Bar – lots of fun. I took the thinline-strat-with-humbuckers, which is a lovely guitar but a the sound is a bit unwieldy. Also, plugging in the fly rig and getting the sound right was a bit fiddly. Or perhaps that’s just an excuse. All the Things That I Don’t Know went very slowly, I thought. It doesn’t seem to have been much of a problem, but when I realised I thought “Oh, well, that’s the speed it is tonight”. Some times you don’t have control over these things and it’s more comfortable than playing things far too fast, which is what usually happens. For the second time round, I borrowed Tom’s 12-string to play Apples and Walnuts, which seems like a good idea at all times other than the moments I’m trying to hold down the strings. New bits in the introduction, too, which surprised me. I hadn’t planned that.

Anyway, lots of lovely acts, and already looking forward to the next one, which will be in March. I don’t drink during January or Lent, and I’m not sure whether that one (which seems to fall on Good Friday) will be a drinking day or whether I’ll have to wait until the one in May to have a beer while I’m playing. Writing that down, I wonder whether I might not be overthinking beverages.

Setlist:

The Things I Threw Away
All the Things That I Don't Know
Apples and Walnuts
VAC #3
22 January 2024, 7:30 pm
Marquis of Granby
41 Romney Street
London,
SW1P 3RF

Quieter than the previous two, though that meant an extra song and everyone was great. Got to noodle along with Rob on his second song: I think a new song might be emerging in some way. It’s a mysterious thing. For the first one I tried Magical Thinking again, which is still not as automatic as I’d like – I have to take a certain amount of attention out of the singing because I still it need it in the fingers, and that makes the performance feel slightly stilted to me. Tigers was reliably Tigers, and I went for All the Things That I Don’t Know last because I felt like a bit of all-out bellowing. And verily I did bellow.

Setlist:

Magical Thinking
...And the Tigers
All The Things That I Don't Know
Green Note Open Mic
21 January 2024, 3:00 pm
The Green Note
106 Parkway
London
NW1 7AN

A new year, and back at the Green Note. As I don’t drink during January, it’s interesting to be sober all the way through. Packed today, too, as was the tube up from Elephant (and they all seemed to get off at Camden Town, too) – it’s as if today was the first day people decided they could go out, so they all did. Fun jam with Rob before the influx.

I realised I’d not played either song here for a while, so I did. The nice thing about playing stuff I’ve done so often is that they have no (or very few) nasty surprises, but the downside is that it’s less likely that one will find anything new.

(It’s amazing the places you can go trying to accelerate out of a potential car crash).

I did shoot a video, but the way the iPhone was positioned chopped off my head. So there was my headless body playing the guitar and the only other thing of interest was the Spanish couple in the corner looking, frankly, unimpressed by my performance. So.

Setlist:

Down Below
The Things I Threw Away
VAC #2
15 January 2024, 7:30 pm
The Marquis of Granby
41 Romney Street
London,
SW1P 3RF

Not quite as busy as last week, in fact the perfect number of people to fill the time exactly. The popularity of The King of Anhedonia reminds me that I must finish recording it. This week I set up the camera in front of me, made sure it was framed correctly and it stopped working several seconds into my performance. I think I may be entering the Vexation period of my autovideography career.

Setlist:

Shame
The King of Anhedonia
VAC #1
8 January 2024, 7:30 pm
The Marquis of Granby
41 Romney Street
London,
SW1P 3RF

Rammed to the gills, of course, as befits the resurrection of the Virtually Acoustic Club. Writing this two weeks later, so no sure what I remember, except it was a long night. My official role is Piano Provider, which I wouldn’t ever have expected to become. Looking at the setlist it seems like a very strange pair of songs to choose, but perhaps it made sense at the time. I set up a camera, but the crowded room and the tiny screen meant I only appeared in the top left-hand corner.

Setlist:

Disappear
Iodine
Green Note Open Mic
17 December 2023, 2:30 pm
Green Note
106 Parkway
London
NW1 7AN

Looks like it was the first time I played Return the Key in public, but apparently there was something strange going on with the guitar (or maybe a microphone?) – I couldn’t detect a problem, but it was evidently bad enough to require some kind of immediate intervention, so the performance should probably be considered a wash. I guess? Also the little camera turned itself off, so I don’t know how bad it was. As I’ve had no other problems with the instrument, and other people were using the same gear with no problems I have to conclude that it was some kind of evil fluence. Things that are too time-consuming to find an explanation for can generally be blamed on maleficent supernatural forces.

Setlist:

Return the Key
Disappear
Tatami #3
8 December 2023, 7:30 pm
Oneforty
140 Vaughan Road
Harrow
HA1 4EB

This was lovely and intimate – Oneforty is a tiny arts place in Harrow, and Tatami is a music night there (they do all sorts of other things as well). Also, I got to try my new telecaster, which was good.

Setlist:

Gravity
Down Below
The Things I Threw Away
The King of Anhedonia
...And the Tigers
River Rise
Horse Bagatelle
100 Horses
Green Note Open Mic
31 October 2023, 9:00 pm
The Green Note
106 Parkway
London
NW1 7AN

I did The Rest Of Our Lives again! After I did it last time. I mean, I have at least several songs to choose from, why do the same one twice in a row? It’s possible that I’d actually intended to play a different song with the same picking pattern, but it’s hard to tell with my brain. It was lovely and cosy, though, an excellent night with all sorts of groovy acts. The cosiness means that the video’s quite blurry (cosiness and blurriness often go together, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed). It’s always fun to do All The Things That I Don’t Know but looking at the video I wonder whether I wouldn’t benefit from instruction by someone in musical theatre. A bit of an off the wall thought that, but I’m not sure I have any thoughts on the wall. My wall is denuded of thoughts.

Setlist:

The Rest Of Our Lives
All the Things That I Don't Know