Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Crystal Gardens (09.13.11)

As I wrote last week, I did a show at Crystal Gardens apart from my regularly-scheduled Tuesday evening gig on Thursday, and it went surprisingly well. Keeping that in mind, I was utterly convinced that this week's show would have me hearing crickets at the end of each song, with no one bothering to come by and see me. But once again, my pessimism was unfounded; we had a good crew of Zaksters in the crowd, and it turned out to be a fun show.

Side note: in my experience, there's a big difference, mentally speaking, for artists who play in Second Life versus those who do gigs in the flesh. When you have a show in the land of reality, you often spend the whole day preparing for it, and then it can be hours to actually pack up your gear and transport yourself to the venue where the show is happening before you actually play the first note. Obviously, in SL, not nearly as much prep time is needed, and this is mostly a great thing. However, there's also the element of mental preparation. See, I can be in the midst of working, and my brain is in work mode. Get this thing written, get that thing posted, get this artwork sent to the printer, and so on. then, with almost no time to make the mental adjustment to being a live performer, I find myself at the show.

That's not to say I don't warm up for my shows (I do, starting about an hour before my scheduled stage time). However, it can often take a little while to get out of "worker bee mode" and into "virtual rock star mode". On good days, this happens quickly, and by the time I strum a chord, my energy level is high and I'm ready to rock the casbah. Occasionally, though, it takes awhile longer, and I find myself being whiny about life in general. But the mere act of putting on my guitar and singing usually helps that mental transition happen quickly, and I snap out of it and get to the rocking.

Team Zakster unites at Crystal Sands on a Tuesday night. Photo by Kat.

Back to the show: it was cool. My Tuesday evening shows at Crystal Gardens doesn't have anyone opening up for me, so there's always that pressure of trying to get people to come out for the show. This was formerly a giant pain in the ass for me, but since I started working with Maali Beck as my manager/promoter about six months ago, it got a hell of a lot easier. I can't tell you how nice it is not having to spend the 10-15 minutes before each show imploring audiences to attend the show, and instead taking the time, per above, to get my brain ready to rock. I'd say that it's made a noticeable improvement to my shows in general. Last night, I put together a rather typical Zak Claxton set, but after noticing that most of the songs I'd quickly pulled out for the show were pretty slow and sad, I made some course corrections and it all worked out just fine.

Crystal Gardens Set List...
†Down By The River (Neil Young)
Perfect Girl (Zak Claxton)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
In My Time of Dying (Traditional)
Shine (Zak Claxton)
Blues Skies (Irving Berlin)
The Worst (Rolling Stones)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Tempted (Squeeze)
After the Goldrush (Neil Young)
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)

†My last performance of "Down By the River": September 21, 2009.

One final note: while I say it pretty often, it can never be often enough: my fans are great people. A good portion of the fun that comes along with being at a Zak Show has nothing to do with the music, or even my presence at all. My friends/fans bring a huge portion of that fun for everyone who attends the show, and i'm always grateful for their zany antics.

Are those bacon pasties on Triana's boobs? Yes. Yes, they are. Photo by Kat.

Huge thanks to the Zaksters who supported my show! GMetal Svartur, Triana Caldera, Alexis Fairlady, Darmok, TheaDee, Kat Claxton, Xerxes Ninetails, Diana Renoir, my manager Maali Beck, and CG owners Mikal Beaumont and Sandi Benelli!

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