Monday, February 3, 2014

Zak Claxton Happy Fun Show on Ustream (02.01.14)

Video streaming by Ustream

I hope you enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday. Here in the USA, it might as well be a national holiday. I'm a serious football fan and even I get a little disgusted by the hype and hyperbole that go into this game, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. Kat (who is a native Seattlite) and I got a ton of snack foods and kicked back with my teenage son, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the blowout win by the Seahawks.

Anyway, now that the NFL season is history, I thought I'd tell you about Saturday's Zak Claxton Happy Fun Show, the first one I've done in about a year. The show, for those of you who may not be familiar, is my sporadic music performance I do on live video via Ustream. It's similar to the shows I perform in Second Life with a couple of major exceptions. First, it's live video as opposed to being in a virtual world. Second, I tend to almost exclusively play original music during these shows, instead of doing a 50/50 mix of originals and covers. I started doing these Ustream shows four years ago in 2010, and for awhile was doing them quite regularly, interspersed with my shows in SL. I slacked off on the shows after awhile, and since then have only done them on rather random occasions.

There are upsides and downsides to doing Ustream shows versus SL shows. For one thing, well, people can see you (as opposed to some pixel-based cartoon representation of yourself). I have no problem with that, but not all SL performers are as comfortable and forthcoming about their real-life selves and identities as I am. Another thing is that there's no direct means of compensation... I don't get tips. And then there are the ads, which are annoying as hell to my audience, but are the primary way services like Ustream can monetize their business. Before you comment about other video services, yes, I've used many of them for live music performances where tipping is possible; I just find their systems a bit confining for me.

On the positive side, more people can see me do a show on Ustream than in SL for obvious reasons; anyone can click a link and watch a video stream in their browser. And, as you'd imagine, there's a more personal connection to seeing the artist perform in the flesh than with any kind of animation-based show in a virtual world. When I finish my next album, you can bet your ass I'll be doing many more of these performances to help promote the new music.

Anyway, you get the idea. Saturday's show went well for a couple of notable reasons. Considering that I hadn't done one of these shows since February 2013, we drew a nice-sized little crowd of cool people who seemed to enjoy commenting and socializing amongst each other while I played (which I always enjoy). I also did something I'd never done before in a solo performance: I played electric guitar for about half the show. I had fun taking some of my familiar Zak Songs and slightly tweaking them for being performed on my Fender Jaguar instead of my Martin D-18V. I think the crowd, most of whom had heard those songs done 10,000,000 times acoustically, liked the electric versions.

Here are some random stills from the show.

ZCHFS set list...
Floydian Warm-Up (Zak Claxton)
This Afternoon - Electric (Zak Claxton)
You're Like A Cloud - Electric (Zak Claxton)
Better Reasons - Electric (They Stole My Crayon)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Go Easy On Me (Zak Claxton)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claton)
Perfect Girl - Electric (Zak Claxton)
The Other Way - Electric (Zak Claxton)
Shine - Electric (Zak Claxton)
Things Under Trees (They Stole My Crayon)

So many thanks to the folks who clicked the Ustream link and watched the show! We'll do it again soon!

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