Friday, 5 June 2009

Living Room and The Crossroads

This week I've played two gigs in Birmingham.

On Monday I played for the first time at The 15 Minute Club, which takes place at the The Living Room in Birmingham. The basic idea is that every does a 15 minute set of original songs. The night is run by a lady called Rae, who gives it a really cool touch by giving each act a nice little intro and having a chat with them at the end of their set. The venue is really good, and I like the idea of everyone just doing four of their best songs.Also performing were Johnny Hands, a Birmingham based singer songwriter I've performed with before who I really enjoyed, a great bluesy singer called Tara Chinn, a really cool, funky band I didn't catch the name of and Cat Chinn, who unfortunately I mostly missed because I had to leave just as she started up. My set went well, and the audience were very cool. I'll be returning on the 6th of July.

Thursday I again popped along to the Blues Jam at the Crossroads Blues Club. Again I couldn't be there from the start because of teaching guitar lessons before hand, and when I arrived about half an hour into the night it was pretty much full, the busiest I've seen it there in fact. Most of the regulars I really like hearing and playing with were there, including Steve Butt, Ken Stratford, Chickenbone John, Alan Nicholls and Mark Bennett. I played lead on a Rolling Stones song led by Tower of Song owner Tom Martin, then fronted "Matchbox Blues" which seemed to go quite nicely. I was a bit disappointed not to front another song, because I'd got a couple of new ones ready, but with it being such a busy night there had to be a quick turnaround to get everyone heard. After Matchbox I was part of the backing band for a spoken word performer, and then watched while Mark Bennett jammed with a great funk band. This was really cool, and again made the jam night unlike any of the others I've been to there. This is one of the best things about these nights, last time I was there was a kind of Cajun dance feel, this time it had a funk feeling.

Finally I joined Mark Bennett, Alan Nicholls, a bass player, a sax player and the harp guys for two final jamms lead by Mark.

I really enjoy these jam nights, but I'm never sure how well I've played. I find that I play best when I just let go and don't think too much, meaning I'm almost not really listening to what I'm doing, which can be a little scary afterwards when I kind of have no idea what I've just played! To be allowed to play with and alongside these great musicians is always a thrill, and I think it's improving my performance no end.

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