My shows lately have been good. Really good. Don't get me wrong; over the seven-plus years I've been performing in SL, the grand majority of my live music performances haven't sucked or anything. However, I think I have some idea as to why they've gotten even better as of late. What it has to do with is the expansion of my range as a listener. Over the past couple of years, I've been on a quest for new sounds, or at least sounds that are new to me. That's why, although my iTunes playlist is still populated with plenty of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, it's also full of bands like Chairlift, Fatso Jetson, Deerhunter, Midlake, Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kurt Vile, and many other newer and lesser known artists.
It doesn't only expand the range of artists who I cover, but it also influences the way I approach the older tunes I do... including my own songs. I think listening to these newer artists, as well as watching people like Josh Homme and his band Queens of the Stone Age perform so tightly as a live band unit, has focused and honed my own playing as of late. I'll tell you what: it's never my goal to be perfect (whatever that means), but it feels great finishing a song where I really, seriously paid attention to my pitch and timing of my voice and guitar, imparting the vibe I want, and knowing that it's the best I can play that tune. Even when no one is there to listen, I'm making the effort now, and I think it's showing.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand, which is my show last night at Crystal Gardens City. It's been nothing but good there in my every-other-Thursday slot between Mark Allan Jensen and FrankLee Anatra. Last night's show had a good crowd that included a good number of folks who came to see me specifically. There are a lot of folks talking about the doom and gloom of live music in Second Life, and I don't doubt that they're having rough times. But for whatever reason, I'm doing well at continually getting new folks to give my music a chance, and I have nothing but positives to report. Also of note: I've been adding new tunes to my repertoire again to keep things fresh as a summer's eve. Speaking of QOTSA, I decided to put on my rocker pants and do one of their tunes for the first time.
As I've said many times, a big crowd is always cool, but even better is an involved and active crowd. Being there is good; being there and into it is great. Photo by Kat.
My good friend Thea in an adorable little avatar (that still somehow managed to freak me out when I looked down at her from the stage). Photo by Kat.
Crystal Gardens City set list...
Pigs on the Wings -- Parts I and II (Pink Floyd)
Free Man in Paris (Joni Mitchell)
Longing On (They Stole My Crayon)
On The Way Home (Neil Young)
*My God Is the Sun (Queens of the Stone Age)
Fade Away (Zak Claxton)
*Happy Birthday Christine Haiku (Zak Claxton)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
Nearly Lost You (Screaming Trees)
Go Easy on Me (Zak Claxton)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Never Run Away (Kurt Vile)
Lost Cause (Beck)
*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.
Big thanks to everyone who helped make last night's Crystal Gardens City show a really fun one, including the following who helped support my show.
Mia Kitchensink, Kaethe Atansoff, Sesh Kamachi, Winter Thorn, TheaDee, Christine Haiku, Aurelie Chenaux, Allegra Genira, Cicadetta Stillwater, Richy Nervous, Beliria Lumley, Kat Claxton, FrankiePalmero Actor, Rina Miles, MAJJackSlade, my manager Maali Beck, and CGC owners Sandi and Mikal Beaumont!