Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grid Rock (02.27.10)

Photos courtesy of Triana Caldera and Kat Claxton

Continuing my "New to Me" tour of places I'd never played before in SL was my stop at Grid Rock.

A brief side note; people -- usually folks who are new to the SL live music scene -- sometimes ask me how I go about getting asked to play at various places. It's a two-way street, like most things. Sometimes I go see someone play at a venue, and I dig the vibe there, and I'll find out who the owner/booking manager is and drop them a line to let them know I'm interested in playing there. Other times (far more often these days, as I've spent a few years playing in SL and am at least fairly well known around the scene), I'll have folks get in touch with me and ask me to play. They'll usually contact me in SL, though I also get random notes on Facebook, in my email and so on. Either way, it's then a case-by-case basis as to whether it will seem to be worthwhile for the venue or for me. More often than not, though, I'm willing to give places a chance to see how it works out.

That brings us back to yesterday's show at Grid Rock. Ozzie Maggs was a person who'd I'd met rather randomly on Facebook, and then found out we had a mutual friend in Diana Renoir. She'd told me about a new club she was running, and for a couple of months we chatted every so often about the possibility of my playing there. My schedule was a little goofy for the first six weeks of the year, but then we finally set up a date for me to play at Grid Rock on February 27.

Each club in SL, if it's worth a shit, has its own vibe. It's hard to say what inspires that vibe. Some of it is obvious, like the decor of the build. Some of it is less apparent, and is based on the quality of the staff and the type of crowds that are involved at the venue. But as any of you Zaksters know, I like to mix things up. It would drive me nuts to do the same show at the same place for the same crowd year in, year out. I also like a variety of music to perform, so just having done a couple of extra mellow shows, I was looking forward to Grid Rock for the simple reason that at a rock club, one is expected to rock!

And rock I did. In fact, heh heh, I rocked a little too hard for my own good. By the end of the show, my voice was shot after screaming lyrics for a straight hour. But despite the fact that I was sucking wind and covered in sweat, it was pretty much just what I needed, like a good workout or an intense pick-up game of basketball. I was physically drained, but it felt good. As far as the music went, well... I liked it. It had its moments. One good thing in that regard was that my crowd there was mostly made up of my fans, so they had a frame of reference to know that I was purposefully grinding out the rock, and that I don't always sing like a chainsaw going through a chalkboard.

On the flip side of that, I would also say that the reason I like to play at new venues in SL is to attract new people who haven't heard me before, and I'd say with honesty that at Grid Rock, I only had a small number of folks there who weren't already Zak fans. Again, there's only so much a relatively new venue can do in that regard. Perhaps as time goes by and the place develops more of a regular crowd who hangs out there, this will improve. Ozzie Maggs is a cool lady who obviously wants the club to be cool and popular, and like anything else worthwhile, it takes time and effort to make it happen. But all in all, it's a great-looking build, and has all the elements needed to be a popular live music place in SL. I will say that the folks who I met there for the first time seemed cool, and I think they had fun, so the most important goal was accomplished.

Anyway, back to the show... as mentioned above, I focused on the rock, both original and covers, and shied away from the softer side of my set. As a result, I actually enjoyed playing a couple of songs that I hadn't done in a long time.

Grid Rock set list...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
I Am the Walrus (Beatles)
Come Around (Zak Claxton)
Tribute (Tenacious D)
Peace Song (Zak Claxton)
Big Bad Bill (Van Halen)
Fade Away (Zak Claxton)
Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
†Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young)
Lola (The Kinks)
Soul Kitchen (The Doors)
†Going Mobile (The Who)

†Last (and only previous) performance of "Rockin' in the Free World" was July 14, 2008. The last "Going Mobile" performance was August 18, 2008.

Thanks to everyone who supported my Grid Rock debut!
Madmax Huet, joel Telling, Gretchen Capalini, Triana Caldera, Gerald Crumb, Diana Renoir, Aurelie Chenaux, Kat Claxton, and the Grid Rocker herself, ozzie Maggs!

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