Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vinyl Cafe (04.29.14)

As you blog readers know -- along with anyone within earshot who heard me bitching about it -- my former computer started dying on me a couple of weeks ago. The day that I finally had to acquiesce that it was unusable for something as intensive as broadcasting a live audio stream while being in Second Life was Tuesday April 15. Unfortunately, that evening, I was supposed to perform my debut at Vinyl Cafe. It really pissed me off. Obviously, I'm far from the first person to have to cancel an SL show due to a technical issue of some sort; it happens all the time. But it doesn't happen to me all the time, and especially when I've planned to perform at a cool new venue.

Anyway, that's all long behind us now. My new Mac, a mini running a quad-core i7 with 8GB of RAM, arrived later that week, and I've already done a few shows using it. It seems flawless so far. I couldn't be happier. And to wrap up the loose ends that happened when the old computer went bye-bye, I was especially glad that the two shows I'd missed were rescheduled, which is how I ended up at Vinyl Cafe last night.

There are some other venues that could learn a thing or two from Vinyl Cafe. First and foremost, SL venues do not have to be huge. In my personal opinion, smaller is almost always better. The feel of the show is more realistic to a real life club, coffeehouse, or other environment where my kind of music is most often played. It keeps the crowd pushed more toward the artist, which I find is better for everyone's live music experience. Second (and probably equally important), the people who run an SL venue can make a huge difference with the audience experience. If the owners/staff are involved and having a good time, it spreads to the crowd, which spreads back to the performer. I'm happy to say that Vinyl Cafe had all of these qualities. It's probably no coincidence that the venue is located on Key West Island, the same sim where Liz Harley runs one of SL's most respected venues. Vinyl Cafe shares some qualities of Key West, with a cool build and a committed owner, just with a more casual and intimate vibe.

I like playing places in SL that are new to me, especially when the venue is as cool as this. Photo and top photo by Triana Caldera.

I also tend to prefer outdoor stages with a laid-back vibe. Less virtual claustrophobia, I suppose. Photo by Triana.

I don't need giant crowds, but I do need happy crowds. This one was. Photo by Triana.

The show was good. Knowing that there would be some people there hearing me for the first time, I purposefully did a very "typical Zak" show. It included a bunch of originals, as well as some covers I felt were representative of my current vibe. My voice and guitar were both behaving, and we had a really good sized crowd comprised of both Zaksters and new listeners. I really have zero complaints. It was a good time, and I know I'll be back at Vinyl Cafe again in the future.

Vinyl Cafe set list...
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Swing Lo Magellan (Dirty Projectors)
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)
Never Run Away (Kurt Vile)
I Like You (Zak Claxton)
Say Goodbye (Beck)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Jane (Barenaked Ladies)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)

Big thanks to all who came out to my debut at Vinyl Cafe, especially those who helped support my show!
ViprosKing, Anarinya Crystal, Sassy Nitely, Phemie Alcott, Triana Caldera, SarahLeFey, Melissa Fireguard, Mackenzie Slapstick, Richy Nervous, Crap Mariner, TheaDee, Lyn Carlberg, Aurelie Chenaux, my manager Maali Beck, and Vinyl Cafe host Purefire, and owner heavenlei Lexenstar!

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