Just now, while I was starting to write this post, my finger slipped on the keyboard, and I entered a date of "05.09.24". That got me thinking about the following question: a decade from now, will I still be performing online shows? My first reaction was that it's very likely I will be doing so, but that it's highly doubtful that Second Life will be the platform of choice by then. Nothing against SL, of course; I just don't have enough faith that in the long term, this form of virtual world won't be eclipsed by something bigger and better. It's how both technology and human nature work, with a constant desire to improve the current standards. I've been performing music in SL since 2006, going on eight years, and while subtle improvements have been made, from my perspective as a live musician, Second Life is almost entirely the same as it was when I started.
So, given the idea that I'll still enjoy the act of doing live online shows in 2024, it's safe to say that the experience for both myself and my audience will be drastically different by then. One of the main factors that will improve is the way my avatar is capable of imparting the nuances of my performance. When I play music in reality, the audience can see my facial expressions, my body language, and the synchronization of my singing and playing motion with the rhythm of the music -- none of which is possible in today's Second Life. I'm quite sure that by 2024, given today's forays into motion sensing and other tech, these kinds of obstacles will be easily overcome, and both the performers and audiences will have a much more immersive experience. Being a realist, I'm also pretty sure that it won't be Second Life that will be the forerunner in this regard. If music-based events was of higher priority to the folks at Linden Lab, perhaps it would be more feasible, but music performance in virtual worlds is a tangled web. Eventually, another platform will get it figured out, and that's where I'll be playing in 2024.
Meanwhile, back in the present, I once again played at Liz Harley's fantastic Key West venue last night. My monthly slot there usually has me performing before one of my favorite SL performers (and good friends), Max Kleene, and I purposefully structure my set in a way that takes advantage of Max's big crowd, who start filtering into my show toward the end of it. I'm not sure what I can say about Key West that hasn't already been said by me and many others, many times. It's a great-looking venue, and is run and staffed by people who really make the effort to create a great experience for musicians and audiences alike. I have never -- not even once -- had a bad show there. I credit Liz and her staff for making that the case.
Key West on a Friday night is just a great gig in any world, virtual or otherwise. Photo and top photo by Kat.
The show itself was a typical blend of my originals and cover tunes, and both my voice and guitar were behaving just fine. I don't expect to be perfect; I do expect to be myself, and play the kind of show that leaves people feeling like they experienced something genuine and enjoyable. All was well in that regard.
Key West set list...
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Swing Lo Magellan (Dirty Projectors)
My God Is the Sun (Queens of the Stone Age)
Longing On (They Stole My Crayon)
Golden Years (David Bowie)
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Mother (Pink Floyd)
Nearly Lost You (Screaming Trees)
Never Run Away (Kurt Vile)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Many thanks to all who came out to Key West last night, especially the following who helped support my show!
Triana Caldera, Richy Nervous, Benude Cleanslate, Calgon Foxdale, Kalli Birman, plowwie Voom, Alexis Fairlady, Rusty Seisenbacher, TheaDee, Kat Claxton, my manager Maali Beck, and Key West hostess Coreopsis Bluebird and owner Liz Harley!