Friday, November 22, 2013

Crystal Gardens City (11.21.13)

As many seem to point out around this time of year in every single year that ever was, it's amazing to me that we're nearing the end of 2013. While it's been a good enough year for me, with its usual share of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures, there's a quote from the Ghost of Christmas Present in "Scrooge" (the musical adaptation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol") that I tend to dwell on near the end of November:

"There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not here any more."

So, that's what I do. I'd wanted to have two new albums out in 2013 (a new solo album and the debut of my band They Stole My Crayon); instead, I'm hoping that both might happen in 2014. I'd wanted to grow my RL business this year, but instead found myself so busy with my current clients that it became pretty much impossible. And still, I feel like I made the best of 2013 in many ways. Or at least, as the Ghost said, I did what I could in the time that I had. I took a couple of trips to the desert with Kat. I wrote a number of pretty good songs. I saw some cool concerts. I spent plenty of time being a dad, and doing good work for my little company. And, of course, I performed dozens and dozens of live shows in Second Life, as I've done every year since 2006, which brings us around to the actual point of this post: my show last night at Crystal Gardens City.

How awesome is this SL build? Photo and top photo by Kat.

I've actually performed in RL places that somewhat resembled Crystal Gardens City. Photo by Kat.

Seriously, this place is outstanding. I love this vibe. Photo by Kat.

This SL venue is run by my old friend Sandi Beaumont (aka Sandi Benelli), who has hired me at a number of places she's operated going back to 2007 (a really long time in SL terms). Along with her husband Mikal and others, they really do a great job in creating cool environments that go beyond what many places in Second Life do for live music facilities. Crystal Gardens City is a relatively new build, and this was the second time I played there. I really want to go back and do some exploring when I'm not busy singing and playing music for people. It's got this great urban vibe that for some reason I enjoy a lot. Perhaps it's specifically because so many SL places are idealized utopias, it's cool to see a dirty, grungy place that has some feel to it, and therefore stands out from the rest. My compliments to the designers!

The show itself was great. As happens so often at SL shows, there were only a few people there moments before the show, and by the end of my first song we had a couple of dozen folks in the crowd. Moreover, we had a great crew of Zaksters, and it was fun and lively. Having heard Johnny Marr perform The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" on KCRW this week, I was inspired to give it a shot. I should also add that this regular show I do there every other Thursday has FrankLee Anatra playing after me each time, and I honestly think he's got one of the best singing voices in all of SL. You can easily tell the musicians who have lots of real life performance hours under their belts, and I'm sure that must be the case with FrankLee. While our material differs a bit (he's generally more traditional pop/rock covers while I lean more toward alternative/art rock and original stuff), it's been a really good combination of talent with many of my fans sticking around for his shows. I like that.

Robert69 Little came by with his video camera and captured my first tune of the night. Thanks Robert!

Crystal Gardens City set list...
1979 (Smashing Pumpkins)
Suite Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
On A Plain (Nirvana)
*How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths)
Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
Shine (Zak Claxton)
Save It for Later (English Beat)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.

Big thanks to everyone who hit the city and supported my show at Crystal Gardens!
Linnmey, JBird Melodie, Winter Thorn, Aurelie Chenaux, Mankind Tracer, Diana Renoir, Allegra Genira, TheaDee, Kat Claxton, Demolicious Wonder, Alexis Fairlady, Christine Haiku, Rina Miles, Diana Renoir, Sesh Kamachi, and most of all owners Sandi and Mikal Beaumont!


Sandra Armendaris said...

Thanks for the awesome write up Zak! We love having you at the New Crystal you fit right in that Urban Vibe!!! We love making venues people enjoy and can have fun at and your music just makes it that much better!

Ron Bizzle said...

It's always been a real treat to attend your shows Zak.. giving me permission to capture your shows has put icing on my cake too.. Thank you for all your hard work and taking the time to share your wonderful music with us in Second Life.