Thursday, November 24, 2011

Key West (11.23.11)

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

As I've done about once per month since March, I had a show at Key West in Second Life last night, and once again it proved to be one of the very best places for live music in all of SL. The credit for Key West being so admired by the musicians and fans of live music in SL lies squarely on owner Liz Harley. It's hard to say exactly what separates the best venues in SL from the mediocre ones, but several factors are readily apparent:

• Liz always seems to pull in a terrific crowd. The gathering of people for a show in SL is always a cooperative task, and under the best of circumstances, the artist and his/her management do their best to bring in fans, while the venue itself makes every effort to help supplement that crowd via their own promotions, both inside and outside of SL. Liz is terrific at this.

• Why is it important for musicians to have a flow of new people coming to their shows? It's always an opportunity to develop new fans and new friends, and at a place like Key West, SL music lovers are just about guaranteed to find artists that they enjoy who they hadn't heard before.

• Which brings us to the final point: Liz has stated many times, in many ways, that her #1 consideration for artists who play at Key West is that she truly loves their music. In her words, "I book artists whose artistry and music move me and who I respect... period."

I often find that the bigger the crowd, the more inspired I am to play well. Photos by Kat.

There isn't a long list of live music venues in SL whose priorities are that focused on the music itself, and let me tell you: there isn't a single SL musician I've ever met who doesn't respect and admire Liz and Key West as a result. It's become one of the places I most look forward to playing... not for the money, but for the fact that I know my music is being truly appreciated there. The result is that I tend to give some of my best performances there, and last night's show was certainly an example of that.

Key West is also laid out very well, allowing for many people in the audience and yet still imparting an intimate, casual, and laid-back vibe. Photos by Kat.

The first thing I said to Kat last night after signing off the stream and turning over the stage to Skye Galaxy, aka Sean Ryan (the artist who followed me) was, "Holy shit, my voice could do no wrong tonight." It was true; my voice doesn't always cooperate with me the way I'd like it to, but every note I sang last night was right on the money. I don't know why; I wish I could package whatever combination of factors that allows me to sing at my best and have it around whenever I wanted it. But I'm happy to take it when it magically arrives, and it had good timing; Skye is quite the popular young artist in SL, and I enjoyed being able to make some good music for both my fans and his flock of admirers as they arrived.

On the day before Thanksgiving, you're bound to have some folks getting into the spirit of things. Here's Stace Silvercloud, Cicadetta Stillwater, and Triana Caldera in their best turkey apparel. Photos by Kat.

I put together a set list that felt appropriate for the autumn season, and it seemed to work out very well.

Key West Set List...
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
California (Joni Mitchell)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Don't Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young)
Day After Day (Badfinger)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Sour Girl (Stone Temple Pilots)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Daniel (Elton John)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
After the Goldrush (Neil Young)
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)

Huge thanks to everyone who made this show at Key West amazing, especially those who helped support my show!
Willow Yorcliffe, MoonDog Roecastle, Triana Caldera, Sassy Nitely, mikial Bazno, TheaDee, Cicadetta Stillwater, Christine Haiku, Aurelie Chenaux, Tommy Cult, Kat Claxton, my terrific manager Maali Beck, and (most of all) Key West owner Liz Harley!

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